Trickle Charger Vs. Battery Tender: Which One Works Best For Your Vehicle?

Posted on: 24 May 2016

One of the downsides of keeping your car in storage for weeks or months at a time is coming back to a dead battery. It's not unusual for a car battery to slowly but surely discharge itself due to natural self-discharging as well as parasitic power drains caused by your car's electronics. A trickle charger or a battery tender can be useful for keeping your car's battery charged. The following explains how both devices work and which one works best for your needs.

Trickle Charger

Trickle chargers work by applying a constant voltage to your car battery at the same rate as the battery self-discharges. This allows the charger to keep the battery near its full capacity, preventing it from going dead if you haven't started your car in a while. A trickle charger is a good and inexpensive way of keeping your battery from going flat during short-term storage, but it does have one noticeable drawback.

Since a trickle charger continues to charge the battery, you'll have to disconnect the charger at some point to avoid overcharging the battery. Most trickle chargers only allow unattended charging for a few days before the charger has to be removed. Some models even feature timers that shut off charging after 12 to 16 hours of continuous trickle charging.

Battery Tender

Battery tenders are a bit more advanced than their trickle charger counterparts. A typical battery tender features advanced circuitry that keeps an eye on the battery's current charge state, allowing the tender to charge the battery only when necessary. When the battery's voltage drops below a predetermined level, the tender charges the battery until the voltage returns to normal.

As a result, you can keep a battery tender connected to your car's battery without any worries of overcharging. This makes a battery tender extremely useful if you plan on leaving your car stored for weeks or even months at a time.

Which Should You Use?

If you only drive your vehicle once a week or every two weeks, then it's a good idea to invest in a trickle charger. However, you'll have to keep an eye on the charger to ensure it doesn't overcharge the battery. For those times when you'll have your car parked for several weeks or even months at a time, a high-quality battery tender is the better option due to its ability to automatically manage voltage without overcharging the battery. To find out more, speak with a business like CIM Motorsports