Ray’s column - how to treat a car left at a vacation home

Ray…love your column and it is the first thing I read every sunday morning in the Hartford Courant. I believe that there should be some clarifications in order about the “How to treat a car kept at a vacation Home”.
Types of equipment that are available to solve Cindy’s problem.
First lets rule out battery chargers…they are car batteries that are low or will not start a car. They are usually higher amperage and can cost from $20 to hundreds of dollars.
Next we have they “trickle charger” and “battery Tender” types.
Trickle chargers put a low ampere constant charge into a battery. These were popular before the more sophisticated battery maintainer charges became available. Tis type of charger will not charge a nearly depleted battery.
Next is the “battery tender” The word “Battery tender” is a copyright name. What would have been more appropriate would have been the phrase “battery maintainer.” In the older days maintainers were also called “float Charger.” The Battery Tender is in fact a battery maintainer. Battery maintainers use sophisticated electronics to keep a batter at peak voltage without damaging the battery. They are typically low amperage devices. There are many brands of battery maintainers available, Harbor Freight, Battery Minder, Battery Tender and Schumacher to name a few.
Advantages of battery maintainers…you can leave them attached to the battery all the time. The Battery Tender comes with a wiring harness with rings on one end that permanently attach to the battery and the other end can be routed so that it sticks out through the car grill or under it. This makes connect and disconnect a breeze. That way you do not have to remove the battery every few months in Cindy’s situation. And even if the battery were removed from the car it still may need to be charged. With the harness there is no heavy lifting or resetting some of the cars electronics every time the batter is removed.
My experience with these typed of “chargers”
Trickle charger…used on my mothers care one winter and by spring a nearly new battery was damaged. It was slowly over charged, and would not hold a charge.
Battery maintainers…I connected a Harbor Freight maintainer to a battery in my garage…1 1/2 years later I disconnected it and used it to jump start a car. The Harbor freight comes with clamps and not a quick disconnect harness. I own both the Battery Tender and a Battery Minder, the Battery Tender came with a wiring harness, the Battery Minder did not. These were purchased over 10 years ago, so check with the manufacturer in that things may have changed in regards to the harness. I have used both on my motorcycles. Recently one of them was started being on a maintainer for 14 months. With my motorcycles I plug the maintainer into each one after riding it and unplug it when taking another ride…they have NEVER damaged a battery.
I hope this helps…I’m not an electronics engineer, just a guy that has experience with all three types of “chargers”.
Southington CT