Trickle chargers

We keep a 2001 Sebring garaged at our winter residence in Florida. When we decommission the car in April for our annual 6-month absence, at our auto mechanic?s advice we attach a trickle charger to the battery, which the property-checker then leaves on for 2 weeks and off for 2 weeks, running the engine briefly at each bi-weekly check. In past summers this has worked satisfactorily, but 4 months into our current absence the checker has just reported that although the charger?s light says Fully Charged, the battery (only 2 years old) appears to be dead, and the engine won?t crank at all. Any suggestions?

I would put a full charge on it overnight and then restart the routine. If all is OK, see if the routine needs to be changed. Unfortunately, the work falls on your property-checker’s expertise and have available a good battery charger to do this. It is possible that a near-constant trickle charge can cause a good battery to fail prematurely, as I recall.

I also think it would be better to actually drive the car if at all possible, rather than do idle only.

I think your 2 week cycle is too long. I would get a household timer and set it to run the trickle charger a couple of hours each day.

Let’s start with what should have been going on.

First there are trickle chargers and battery tenders. They are not exactly the same thing. A battery tender is what you need. I would add that I would remove the battery and put it somewhere else with the battery tender. This will make it much more difficult for a thief to steal. Most thieves don’t carry an assortment of batteries with them.

Next, let’s not run the engine briefly every two weeks. For six months I would not want to run it at all. The car does not need it. If you are going to run it, then it must be brought up to full operating temperature and kept there for a while. If the car is going to be driven, then you need to keep full insurance on it. If it is not going to be driven, you can save a bundle on your insurance by temporarily canceling the collusion part, but keep comprehensive for things like floods, thierf and fire.

For now, the battery should be checked.  Many places will do that for free, but you need to get the battery to them.  However I suspect that the battery cables may be at fault.  Both ends of each cable needs to be removed, cleaned and replaced.

Thanks; will give it a try

Good idea; will do it next time. Thanks.

Will try cleaning cables when I get there. Thanks.