CTEK, the Sweden-based manufacturer of high-tech battery chargers/maintainers, reminds owners that for those who don’t use their vehicles and camping gear over the winter months, taking a little extra time to properly prepare your leisure batteries for storage can eliminate many hours of frustration in the spring. Here are a couple of simple steps.

1)Clean the battery, cable clamps and tray Remove the battery from the battery compartment and use a paste of baking soda and water to clean and neutralize any acid. Accumulations of acid or dirt can enable small amounts of current to flow between the terminals. Use clean water to rinse off the cleaning solution.

Use a wire brush on the terminals and cable clamps until all corrosion, grease and other contaminating material is gone, and the metal is shiny. Apply dielectric grease to the terminals as a means of preventing corrosion in the future.

2) Inspect the battery exterior and check the electrolyte level Inspect the battery tray and the exterior of the battery case thoroughly. Look for leaks, cracks and corrosion, all of which can compromise performance and even safety. A leaking or corroded battery should be replaced.

If it is a conventional (vented) battery, used in many classic cars, check that the level of electrolyte is above the minimum and at or below the maximum level line on the side of the battery. If it is an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery, also referred to as Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VLRA) or Maintenance Free, these batteries are sealed and do not need to be checked. Either return the battery to the battery compartment or find a clean, dry location to store it over the winter where it won’t have a chance of being damaged or knocked over.

3) Attach a smart battery charger/maintainer To avoid overcharging and possible battery damage, it is important to use a smart battery charger/maintainer, like the CTEK MXS 5.0. This charger actually “talks” to the battery while it is attached, sensing the charge level and adjusting the rate accordingly.By doing so your batteries will be in tip top shame for the spring.