How Long Can a Car Battery Sit Unused

How long do batteries last? Usually, about three to four years—but leaving your car sitting for far too long hastens the decay.

More and more people are compelled to save on gas expenses by opting to ride public transportation than using their cars or even owning one. If you have a car but you haven’t used it in quite a long time, you may have asked yourself, “How long can a car battery sit unused?” It’s a good question, which needs to be answered adequately since you’ll be using your car soon even if you don’t need to or are not able to use it now.

It’s important to be mindful of time if you fall into the habit of leaving your car in the garage without activity for extended periods (or when you’re on a long vacation and have parked your car elsewhere). According to BMW, the maximum time you can let your car sit with the battery intact is four weeks. This claim is supported by BatteryModeOn.com, who said the short answer to the question is “a little under two months.”

How to Store a Car Battery

While four weeks to two months may be enough cushion to keep your battery working, it’s still best to err on the side of caution. If you intend to let your car sit for some time, better do it with the battery removed and stored in a place where you can control the environment and definitely out of the reach of children and pets.

This is where your knowledge on how to take out a car battery becomes pivotal. Remember: you have to pay attention to the type of terminals as proper procedure will depend on it.

Moreover, you need to take extra precautionary steps to pull the job off. For one, you need to protect the battery from moisture. A simple hack to do this is to place a piece of plastic (or a moisture-resistant mat) under the battery and give it a cleaning using baking soda to avoid corrosion and leakage.

Storage is only half the process; keeping your battery juiced up is another. As a rule of thumb, a battery that’s been taken out needs to be recharged every 12 weeks. Otherwise, it’s likely you’ll find yourself with a dead battery that must be disposed of.

Now, in the event that you end up with a dead battery, you need a replacement as soon as possible to keep your ride up and running. JC Whitney carries top-quality options for a replacement battery, all of which are available here: https://bit.ly/2O22M6I.

Author: JC Whitney

JC Whitney is the largest and oldest catalog and Internet direct-to-consumer auto parts and accessories retailer in America. Since 1915, JC Whitney has been filling the needs of customers by providing the right part at the best price. You can always shop with confidence at JCWhitney.com.

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6 Comments

  1. Same battery in vw work in progress for so many years I lost track.still kicking

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  2. That’s great to hear, Terry! Has it been three years? For most cars, that’s usually the timeframe to install a replacement battery. Don’t forget to always check on it from time to time to avoid any complications on the road.

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  3. I have a brand new battery from 11/2018, had the terminal clamps replaced & the alternator checked & it is fine. I drive my car once or twice a week for about a distance of about 3 or 4 miles & I am constantly finding a dead battery (4 or 5 times now since November) what could the problem be?

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    • Hi Linda! Thanks for reaching us. It’s hard to diagnose a car problem without looking at it first hand. Our best guess are faulty electrical wirings/defective fuses or other components in your car that continue to run on battery power even though your engine’s off. Best to have a mechanic check it.

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  4. Is it safe to leave unplugged battery in trailer during summer heat. It is in plastic storage crate that is well ventilated.

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    • Hi, Ruth! Good that you have a well-ventilated storage for your battery. There shouldn’t be a problem leaving it unplugged.

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