Reader Question: Charging a New Battery?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mike asks: Thanks for the good, eye-opening articles about electric cars and the long run consequences. My question: Should I charge a new battery before I connect it to my car? Battery sellers over here don’t seem to think so.

My reply: It depends. 

Most new car batteries are ready to go – and fully charged – when you buy them. It should not be necessary to charge them before installation and once installed, the car’s alternator will keep the battery charged up (assuming regular use).

But some batteries – i.e., small equipment and motorcycle batteries – are still sometimes shipped “dry” – with the acid in a separate container that you add to the battery, which must then be (slow) charged before use.

You should be able to tell right away which type of battery you’re dealing with. One will be just the battery – the other will be the battery plus the container of battery acid, along with instructions.

With either type, it’s a good idea to hook them to a battery tender if you leave them sitting for more than a couple of weeks at a time. This will maintain the charge – and extend the service life of the battery.

This is well worth the small investment (about $40 for the battery tender) and not only in terms of longer battery life. You” save yourself the hassle of an unexpectedly dead battery!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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