Battery died

My 2007 Ford Taurus sits in the garage most of the time?I work from home, and the car often is only driven a few miles on the weekends. A tank of gas lasts at least a month for me.

My car battery died in December 2010, but a 3+ years old battery dying was not a surprise to me. So I got a new battery at the dealer.

That battery died too, within a month?they said it had a dead cell.

Then the head of the maintenance department advised me that maybe I was not driving the car enough to keep the battery charged, he even said that not driving it enough might even have caused the cell to go dead in the new battery.

He advised me to try to drive the car at least 30 miles a week.

Is this true? How much do I really need to drive my car to keep the battery charged?

And yes, they did check the alternator and said it checked out fine. They could not find anything wrong with the car that would have drained the battery.

You can buy a battery tender, that is designed for your kind of use.  It just keeps putting a small charge to the battery.  

Modern cars have electronics that tend to stay on all the time and collectively they can drain the battery so the battery tender.     I have a sun power one so when I park at a long term lot at an air port, I will be able to start my car when I get home.  

Do you have an alarm system on your car.  It should be very suspect if it is not OEM.  And it should be suspect even if it is OEM.  

Good Luck

Typically newer cars will drain the battery over periods of a month to 2 months. If you drive little then the battery my not be recharged fully in the short time the motor is running. Things like the security system, clock, etc. draw a small amount of current even when the car is parked.

I have an '04 Ford T’bird that is not driven much and after 2 months idle it may or may not start. It seems my Toyota Sequoia is the same.

Solutions and options:

  1. Buy a small charger called a “Battery Tender” and hook it up to the battery when the car is in your garage. The charger is made to keep the battery fully charged without over charging it. It is easy to hook up.
  2. Buy a battery jumper pak. These cost about $40 to 50 and you can use it to jump start the car when you find it won’t start.
  3. I have a solar battery charger that I use on my boat. This won’t work in your garage but would work when parked outside.

I have all the above and it isn’t a big deal when I find a battery is run down. If you park your car at the airport while on vacation put the jumper pak in the trunk just in case.

The Battery Tender website is

It’s not cheap, but less expensive than replacing a car or motorcycle battery.

I bought it when I still rode motorcycles. I use it these days to keep my car’s batteries fully charged. I have a 9 year old battery in a seldom driven 93 Caprice that still holds a full charge possibly because I use the Battery Tender once a month or so to keep the battery at peak voltage. I like the Battery Tender because you can leave it connected pretty much indefinitely.

Ed B.

On a completely different, though related issue, this kind of driving will kill a car, especially the engine faster than driving it a decent distance every day. I suggest that when you do take it out you drive it more than a few miles. You want the engine to get fully up to operating temp and run that way for a good bit of time. You’re also best off using the maintenance schedule for “severe” driving and using time rather than mileage for most of your basic maintenance stuff.

I really appreciate all of the responses posted on this page. I had no idea this was going to be a problem. Previously my job involved traveling almost every day, so battery issues just didn’t exist. Now that I work at home, I understand the problem with not driving the car enough. And yes, my car has one of those theft thingies built into it, so that may be making bad matters worse.
I ordered a battery tender. My husband and I do both have our oil changed by time and not mileage, due to our low miles.
But my sincere thanks to everyone? I had no idea that they even made these battery tender things!