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Leaving it standing - Dead battery


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I have a 2002 1.2 polo which has been standing outside for around a month. If I move the car I will lose my parking space so during lockdown, which makes the situation worse as most are not in work,  I have been reluctant to move it. The battery is a decent one only a few years old (can't remember the make). I managed to start it fine about 2 weeks ago and ran it for about a minute but since the very cold weather it has drained and unable to start at all. I am concerned also how long I can leave it standing without being driven, but firstly I want to get it started to let it run long enough to charge it back up, or even go for a short run at night to get everything turning. It passed it's MOT fine in October so no obvious problems although it hasn't had a service this last year due again to hardly being used during Covid etc. 

 

I do have an old battery charger but I would prefer not to have to take the battery off the car to charge it and was wondering if anyone could advise on a model that can instantly jump start the car as they vary in price drastically. The way it is parked makes it difficult to get it jumped from another car (don't really know anyone to ask either) so it would be a handy tool to have if I ever go away again and got stranded.

 

Thanks.

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I have a CTEK MXS5 smart charger, which are great, especially for vehicles that are not run much as it can be left connected all the time and ‘senses’ when the battery needs a ‘top up charge’  

steveo3002

something like this would jump start it....search jump start pack

https://www.halfords.com/motoring/battery-maintenance/jump-starters/halfords-advanced-lithium-jump-starter---up-to-2l-677444.html

 

jumping it wont recharge it so it needs taking off and recharging , once charged leave it disconected until ready to use

 

be aware batterys dont like sitting discharged and you may have already killed it 

 

mot does nothing to check the battery or charging system at all 

 

worst case its £45 for a new one when ready to start driving again- cheaper than a decent jump pack 

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Given the choice, I'd take the battery off and charge it with the charger. If it's feeling a bit tired, jump starting it and then relying on the alternator to bring it back up won't really do it a lot of good. They're not generally bad to get off. 10mm for the terminals and a 13mm socket on a long extension for the clamp (down the front of the battery). If it's got a little bit of life in, you can lock the doors with the bonnet open before you take the battery off. 

 

As a general rule, allow about 20 minutes of engine running to recharge a battery. More on something with a Polo with electric power steering if you're using the steering (ie driving) as it's charging. 

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Thanks folks, that really helps. I will try to locate the charger which I could have sworn I bought from my late mum's house when we were clearing it last year. Just can't find it anywhere but no worries if I have to buy a more modern, digital type. Btw, years ago I bought a power pack from Aldi or Lidl which was fine for about a year or so and then it just died. waste of money in my opinion.

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mk2tastic

I have a CTEK MXS5 smart charger, which are great, especially for vehicles that are not run much as it can be left connected all the time and ‘senses’ when the battery needs a ‘top up charge’

 

My particular model is the ‘test and charge’ version, which was about £90 when I bought it, but there are other cheaper version available.This is a link to the CTEK website.

 

https://www.ctek.com/uk/products/car


They are available to buy from all the usual places. 


If the battery is still good but discharged , the CTEk will go through a staged recharge.

 

Word of warning though, lead Acid batteries don’t like being left standing and unused.They will begin to sulphate, which if left too long, will render them only suitable for scrap.This can occur in only a matter of weeks/months and even on relatively new batteries.Once the internal plates have become permanently sulphated no amount of charging with any charger, will recover the them, even though they ‘appear’ to charge up.

 

If your battery was ok just a couple of weeks ago it may recharge ok, but cold weather does have a habit of finding the weak ones, so if your battery is old then it maybe time for a new one.

 

If your car isn’t used much, as is the case with my Breadvan in winter, it’s good to give the engine a run every week.This gives the battery something to do and maintains it’s health. Remember that for every turn of the starter it can take 15/20 minutes of the engine running to replenish the battery, so it’s not advisable to just start the car for a couple of minutes before switching off again, as that will eventually discharge the battery and leave you with a dead motor.

 

Edited by mk2tastic
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Dad's got a solar panel charger in his Fabia and it seems to be working well. 

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I can't find the battery charger so I am in a conundrum to either get a new charger, or a new battery BUT this battery was only new exactly 3 years ago so no way should it be failing now. The previous battery lasted 7 years, and could have even been older as it was the battery that was already on the car when I purchased it.

 

 

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steveo3002

batterys can fail in 3 years...especially if left sitting dead flat 

 

should be able to get a charger cheaper than a decent battery ...so id take a chance and charge it , but leave it disconected until ready to drive  

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A charger that can store power so you don't have to take the battery off the car would be good, as car is on the road and don't want a cable trailing over the pavement. Plug and charge the charger and then when fully charged, take out to car and connect.

Edited by marb67
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steveo3002

no such thing as a cordless charger...yes a jump pack like my first post shows , but nothing that will charge a flat battery without mains cables 

 

all you need is a 13mm socket and 10mm spanner to remove it , keep the battery indoors until ready then its helping prevent against theft 

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The only problem bringing it inside would be keeping the car doors locked. I could lock them with the battery still connected, take off the battery and bring inside but then how to I get back into the car to pop the bonnet to re-connect it ?

Edited by marb67
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mk2tastic

Is there no key lock even on the tailgate?

 

If there isn’t it will make things interesting as to how you would get into the vehicle if the battery does fail completely, which is possible, especially as it’s already at the ‘won’t start’ stage.

 

If you can’t use jump leads, then If I were you I think it’s probably wise to invest in a charger. You don’t have to pay the earth for one, but avoid the really cheap ones as they can churn out unregulated voltages.These can fry electronic components if you charge the battery with it still connected.As with anything nowadays it’s a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.

 

Or alternatively try to borrow one from somewhere.

 

if you have to take the battery off just put a piece of wood of something under the bonnet to stop it shutting completely.

 

Even if the battery turns out to be knackered, then at least you have the charger for future use.If the battery does recover enough to get the car started, you could then get it tested to check on it’s health.

Edited by mk2tastic
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steveo3002

pretty sure even the crapiest manufacturer makes access for when theres a flat battery

 

maybe spend the money on a breakdown service and let them deal with it?

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There should be one behind one of the door handle covers. There's also normally one on the boot, but it's generally rusted solid. 

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