Dead batteries

I am a paralyzed veteran in a wheelchair. I do not get to drive my van around as much as a healthy person. My van battery will go dead in the garage. I start the van in the garage and let it run for however long autostart last. Now somebody told me that won’t do anything. That I have to physically drive the van for about an hour going 55 mph. I thought the alternator was supposed to take care of that no matter how fast you were going. Realizing that the faster you go the more electricity is generated. Question is do I even need to bother with starting it if it doesn’t do anything.? PS what was the answer to the puzzle that involved a state made that also spelled the name of a big city if you rearrange the letters of the state.? Please let me know what you think and also what the answer was to the puzzle.

it could be the alternator not charging the battery

You might get a trickle charger and have a lead attached that can be easily connected from the front. When parked indefinitely the charger would keep the battery fully charged. The charger should have an automatic shut off to prevent over charging.

It could be the capacity of the battery is compromised. Modern cars and vans have a lot of ‘stay-alive’ modules that draw a current even with the van off. A compromised battery may lose too much capacity if sitting too long. A load test can confirm the capacity of the battery. If the battery is more than 4 years old, I think you may need a new one.

Letting it idle for a few minutes will not even let you come out even (it will take more energy from the battery than it will get back from letting it run a short time.

How old is the battery? How often do you drive it and how far? (more than two miles)?

I would suggest bringing your car to a auto parts store. Many of them will check the battery and the charging system for free. They generally do a good job.

You might need the Battery Tender (trickle charger) Rod recommended.

Are you experiencing any problems?

Harbor Freight sells several models of “Battery Tenders”, automatic trickle chargers…Some just plug into your power port (cigarette lighter socket) if it’s “hot” all the time…Saves having to open the hood… ANY trickle charger can be set up that way by simply installing a lighter plug on the charging leads…Saves having to open the hood and disconnecting the charger leads from the battery…

Your battery should stay up for at least a month…If it goes dead sooner, have it checked for a “parasitic load” which might be draining the battery…This is a simple inexpensive test…

The other folks have covered the battery issue pretty well.

My concern is with running the car in the garage. Is this an attached or detached garage? Are the doors open? You’re really not supposed to do this at all, but I’d especially recommend against it in an attached garage, even with the doors open, as there’s too much risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

I suggest you have a battery tender permanently installed and have the AC plug placed in a spot on the van you can easily get at when you need to make the connections.

A vehicle should be able to be parked at least several weeks and be able to start up after that amount of time if the battery is topped off and there are no extra current draws on the battery. If you just take short trips then the alternator may not have enough time to charge the battery after it sits for some time. A battery tender will work great for you. You don’t need much current. Even a trickle current of a quarter of an amp will do the job and not overcharge the battery.