Best trickle charger for car battery

Battery Charger for Car: Top 7 Best Rated Car Battery Chargers 2016

We have a 2004 GMC pickup, which we rarely use. We disagree as to the best way to keep the battery charged: Just start the truck occasionally, and let it sit in the driveway and run for a little while every week, or actually take it out on the road, and drive for 20 miles or so? Or put it on the charger every week or so? Also, if the battery goes dead, will that mess up the computer for emissions testing, just as if we had to replace the battery?

- Marty

The answer to your last question is yes. If the battery goes completely dead, the computer will lose its stored emissions data. Then you'll have to drive it for a few days to create new data before you can pass an emissions test. Not to mention that you'll have to restore all of your radio presets.

In terms of maintaining a car you don't drive much, the worst thing you can do is start it up and just let it run in the driveway for a few minutes. That's bad for two reasons. First, you're not really recharging the battery. So you're using the battery to start the truck, and then leaving it weaker than before you ran the car.

Second, when the engine runs, the combustion of gasoline and air creates water vapor. But if you don't run the car long enough to really heat things up, you allow the water vapor to sit there and cause rust.

So I'd make two suggestions: One, start it up and drive it for a day every few months. Not only will you charge the battery and evaporate any water vapor you create, but you'll also exercise some moving parts of the truck that should move once in a while. Things like brake calipers and transmission solenoids can stick or rust if they're left for a long time. Belts can dry up and crack.

My second suggestion is to get a trickle charger. For $30, you can get a battery charger that "trickles" a small amount of electricity to your battery as it's needed. The advantage of a trickle charger over a conventional charger is that a trickle charger never lets your battery go dead, so the truck can be started whenever you do want to use it. And a trickle charger doesn't need to be monitored. You just hook it up, plug it in, and your battery is always ready to go.

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Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V, 0.75A Battery Charger will charge and maintain your battery so that it is ready to go when you are! It's lightweight, fully automatic and easy to use
Automotive Parts and Accessories (Battery Tender)
  • Spark proof during lead connection, reverse polarity protected and includes a 12-foot output cord and 5-year warranty
  • Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell)
  • Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, Float Mode)
  • Automatically switches to float / maintenance voltage after fully charging the battery
  • Solid state two color LED indicates stage of charger.
  • If the battery voltage drops too far under load, full charger output power resumes
  • Spark proof, Reverse polarity protected, 12 output cord
Battery Tender Plus 021-0128, 1.25 Amp Battery Charger is a Smart Charger, it will Fully Charge and Maintain a Battery at Proper Storage Voltage without the Damaging Effects Caused by Trickle Chargers
Automotive Parts and Accessories (Battery Tender)
  • Temperature compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage according to ambient temperature
  • Automatically switches from full charge to float charging mode
  • Charges as fast or faster than 3a charger
  • Reverse-polarity protection to ensure user safety
  • Red & Green indicator lights
  • Battery Tender Plus 12V - 1.25 Amp, Automatically switches from full charge to float charging mode
  • The Battery Tender Plus is a 1.25-amp battery charger designed to fully charge a battery and maintain it at proper storage voltage without the damaging effects caused...
  • Included is a quick connect harness for hard to reach areas
  • Temperature compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage according to ambient temperature
  • Battery Tender at 1.25-amp will charge as fast or faster than any 3-amp charger available, Reverse Polarity Protection to ensure user safety Red and Green Lights...
  • This item is not California or Oregon energy compliant.
  • To purchase charger if you live in California or Oregon please see attery Tender 022-0185G Charger/Maintainer

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