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keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 22, 2020 09:55AM
we have 1 car that is idle for a couple months.
started it yesterday after a month or so of forgetting. It took a jump and an hour trip to, hopefully, keep it at the ready.
If I were to start it once a week, how long does one think, I should let it run to keep it "healthy" in the cold NE?



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 22, 2020 09:59AM
Do you use a battery maintainer? That’s what will die first.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 22, 2020 10:03AM
no. never heard the term and that is, of course, what went 1st.



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: February 22, 2020 10:06AM
To keep the battery charged, I've heard it needs a half hour.




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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 22, 2020 10:07AM
Carm is full of good info today.
I assume I can leave it attached to the batt and not disconnect from the car? There are quite a few at Bezos. They all seem to be reviewed well (heh, heh, heh).



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: MindMeld
Date: February 22, 2020 10:21AM
What Carm said.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: February 22, 2020 10:23AM
I have a neighbor who is part of a regional emergency response team and has one of their trucks in his driveway. The vehicle rarely moves, and attached to it is a battery maintainer on a long extension cord.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2020 10:23AM by Zoidberg.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Cary
Date: February 22, 2020 10:36AM
There are a few "known" brands. Battery Tender is the one I am most familiar with. You don't need a big one, just a trifle charger. And, yes, you can leave it plugged in.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 22, 2020 10:39AM
why not use one once or twice a week when running errands or commuting to work? it better to keep engine lubricated than park the car and keep the battery charged. Also tires won't sit on the same spot for a few months. Keeping a car running once in a while is much, much better than keeping battery charged and letting all other components degrade.

you could have a mice taking residence in that car. You could have mold growing in it. You won't notice if you don't use it.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 22, 2020 10:52AM
you either want to actually use it, or hook up to a battery maintainer and top off tank and use a fuel stabilizer. You need to get it really warmed up, or moisture will build up in the oil from cold combustion, and eat the crank and rod bearings from it combining from the sulfur in the dead dino oil and making sulfuric acid. Or switch to fully synthetic.

If the exhaust system doesn't get fully hot, you will rust out the low spots in the exhaust system from the moisture condensate not "burning off" and exiting the tail pipe. So either really use it when you start it, including driving it, or don't start it at all.

I have been dealing with putting boats in winter storage for 4 decades, as well as classic cars.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 22, 2020 10:53AM
Trickle Or Float Charger is another name. “Battery Tender” is the known brand as mentioned. 1.25amp for $36 on Amazon should maintain the battery at appropriate level. Doing short runs won’t be good enough to keep battery charged fully charged. Had that issue with one of my cars that was “idle” over vacation. The drain from starting/AC etc pulled more than it was charging.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 22, 2020 11:07AM
seems like taking it for a spin once a week is the better idea.



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: wurm
Date: February 22, 2020 11:13AM
Definitely. Put a note on the calendar to take it for a 20-minute ride once a week. Easier than a trickle charger.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: rgG
Date: February 22, 2020 11:20AM
Quote
wurm
Definitely. Put a note on the calendar to take it for a 20-minute ride once a week. Easier than a trickle charger.

Do both, trickle charger and once a week spin for about half hour.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: neophyte
Date: February 22, 2020 11:24AM
We have an '86 Cavalier that lives in our garage in MA. We use it only May-June every year. When we leave, it has a full tank of gas with a dose of Stabil, and we disconnect the ground wire from the battery.

It starts right up every May. No jump needed. No trickle charger because the power is off when we leave. We've done this since the 1990's, and my father-in-law has done this with his cars there since the 1950's.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: February 22, 2020 11:25AM
oh god!! Can't you just be happy that this car came fully assembled!!
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 22, 2020 11:32AM
Here is an article from 2012
[www.theglobeandmail.com]
Neophyte that’s pretty interesting. Newer cars have memory for emissions/transmission/fuel - calibration etc.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 22, 2020 11:35AM
Quote
neophyte
When we leave, it has a full tank of gas with a dose of Stabil, and we disconnect the ground wire from the battery.

It starts right up every May. No jump needed. No trickle charger because the power is off when we leave. We've done this since the 1990's, and my father-in-law has done this with his cars there since the 1950's.

that right there is brilliant. but, it will be easier to take it for a trip once a week. just have to pay attention to the calendar .



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: neophyte
Date: February 22, 2020 11:36AM
Quote
Carm
Newer cars have memory for emissions/transmission/fuel - calibration etc.

So when you have to change out the battery those things have to be keyed back in?
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 22, 2020 11:49AM
Quote
neophyte
We have an '86 Cavalier that lives in our garage in MA. We use it only May-June every year. When we leave, it has a full tank of gas with a dose of Stabil, and we disconnect the ground wire from the battery.

It starts right up every May. No jump needed. No trickle charger because the power is off when we leave. We've done this since the 1990's, and my father-in-law has done this with his cars there since the 1950's.

do you lift it on jacks for the 10 remaining months?
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 22, 2020 12:17PM
......can one do the same for a spouse........keep an idle spouse.....'ready'......????



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 22, 2020 12:19PM
Quote
neophyte
Quote
Carm
Newer cars have memory for emissions/transmission/fuel - calibration etc.

So when you have to change out the battery those things have to be keyed back in?
Memory keeper. Through OBD Port.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 22, 2020 01:03PM
Quote
Carm
Quote
neophyte
Quote
Carm
Newer cars have memory for emissions/transmission/fuel - calibration etc.

So when you have to change out the battery those things have to be keyed back in?
Memory keeper. Through OBD Port.

The computer will relearn all that stuff. No loss.



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: neophyte
Date: February 22, 2020 01:10PM
Quote
space-time
Quote
neophyte
We have an '86 Cavalier that lives in our garage in MA. We use it only May-June every year. When we leave, it has a full tank of gas with a dose of Stabil, and we disconnect the ground wire from the battery.

It starts right up every May. No jump needed. No trickle charger because the power is off when we leave. We've done this since the 1990's, and my father-in-law has done this with his cars there since the 1950's.

do you lift it on jacks for the 10 remaining months?

Nope. The tires haven't ever developed flat spots, but they do tend to develop surface cracks and have to be replaced every 10-12 years or so, well before the tread has worn down.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 22, 2020 01:17PM
I am surprised they even last that long. probably because the garage. Usually tires last ~5-6 years when exposed to elements, I think UV kills them.

So where do you go the other 10 months? is the house empty? why do you even bother keeping the house/car in MA if you are gone most of the time?
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: neophyte
Date: February 22, 2020 01:35PM
Quote
space-time
I am surprised they even last that long. probably because the garage. Usually tires last ~5-6 years when exposed to elements, I think UV kills them.

So where do you go the other 10 months? is the house empty? why do you even bother keeping the house/car in MA if you are gone most of the time?

Yeah, the car is garaged at my wife's family summer house on Nantucket Island, and the car ferry from Cape Cod costs $400 round trip (just for the car; people cost extra). Obviously it's just a beater car, and wouldn't long survive the yearly drive from our domicile in South Carolina.

But on the OP topic, my daughter leaves her "91 Roadmaster beast here in SC while she's up North for 2 months or so, and we disconnect her car's battery too. And it starts right up when she returns.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2020 01:39PM by neophyte.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: btfc
Date: February 22, 2020 03:05PM
[www.amazon.com]
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Date: February 22, 2020 03:53PM
Quote
Racer X
you either want to actually use it, or hook up to a battery maintainer and top off tank and use a fuel stabilizer. You need to get it really warmed up, or moisture will build up in the oil from cold combustion, and eat the crank and rod bearings from it combining from the sulfur in the dead dino oil and making sulfuric acid. Or switch to fully synthetic.

If the exhaust system doesn't get fully hot, you will rust out the low spots in the exhaust system from the moisture condensate not "burning off" and exiting the tail pipe. So either really use it when you start it, including driving it, or don't start it at all.

I have been dealing with putting boats in winter storage for 4 decades, as well as classic cars.

+1; he knows whereof he speaks.



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 22, 2020 04:00PM
Want Racer said. You really should bring it up to operating temp every couple of weeks. Also make sure there is as little moisture as possible under the car. That will kill the car more than the occasional dead battery.

I put dry bags of silica inside cars being stored for periods of time to combat funky odors
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: sekker
Date: February 22, 2020 04:38PM
MRF Car Talk!
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 22, 2020 06:19PM
Drive it at least every couple of weeks if you can. That’s what I do. SeaFoam in the fuel tanks (full). A battery trickle charger is a good idea.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 22, 2020 09:57PM
A typical trickle charger is not a battery maintainer.

Its 'trickle' will eventually cook a battery dry as they charge at >1 and up to 2A.

The Battery Tender® is one of the genre of battery maintainers that charge at .75A max. and drop as the battery is charged.

Many people who can't ride a bike during the winter will put a Tender or equivalent on the bike for 3-6 months or more with no harm to the battery. One can't do that with a trickle charger.

You could put a charger 2A or so on a timer to charger it for a few minutes every day.

The vehicle would very likely be fine on a Tender/tender and driven once a month, and at some point on highway speeds for 20-30min.

For two months, I'd just use a tender and Sta-Bil or similar and not even start the car.

It's a good idea to drive it instead of 'let it run' as you want the exhaust system to get up to operating temperature so that condensation doesn't cause rust. Probably not an issue if you have a stainless system.

If you're not going to use it for a couple of months, keep it on a tender and use some gas stabilizer. That ensures the gas doesn't go off. IF that happens the car can be hard to start with a good battery and the plugs can become gas fouled. Doesn't always happen but something to be aware of.




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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Bernie
Date: February 23, 2020 02:20AM
I have a 1977 ElCamino I call the junk yard dog. It just goes to the dump and to get an inspection. Maybe some mulch, maybe Lowes.

About a tank of gas a year. No ethanol, no additives, no trickle charger. Most Springs it just starts right up. If it was a long winter I charge the battery before starting it up.

I do pop the hood and leave the doors open a bit to encourage any critters to leave.

I just can't preach enough about REAL gasoline. I run that other stuff in my daily drivers but if it sits it has real gas. Mowers, chain saws you get the picture.




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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: space-time
Date: February 23, 2020 09:55AM
Where do you find REAL gasoline these days? I guess you need to go to a Marina or other unusual gas stations?
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 23, 2020 10:31AM
Quote
space-time
Where do you find REAL gasoline these days? I guess you need to go to a Marina or other unusual gas stations?

[www.buyrealgas.com]

[www.pure-gas.org]



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2020 10:32AM by Speedy.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 23, 2020 11:56AM
You can leave a modern battery charger on all the time. They've been made "smart" for a long while now, and mediate the current in their own. Still uses electricity though.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: February 23, 2020 12:24PM
Quote
space-time
Where do you find REAL gasoline these days? I guess you need to go to a Marina or other unusual gas stations?

The 90-92 octane stuff is always real gas.



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Fritz
Date: February 23, 2020 01:13PM
brussel sprouts



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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 23, 2020 06:51PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
space-time
Where do you find REAL gasoline these days? I guess you need to go to a Marina or other unusual gas stations?

The 90-92 octane stuff is always real gas.

In Washington State it is still E10. You can buy ethanol free. I know of several stations, and one is near me.
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Re: keeping an idle car "ready"
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: February 24, 2020 04:58AM
.....American.....idle......??



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