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How to Store Your Batteries for the Winter

October 19th, 2012 by
Winter Boat Battery Tips

Brr! Boat docked for the winter? Follow our tips to ensure your battery’s up to the task in the spring.

Now that summer’s behind us, you may be putting your four-wheeler, personal watercraft, boat or motorcycle into winter storage. Although you may not think much about these vehicles during their long winter’s nap, it’s important to perform a little routine maintenance on their batteries so come next spring, you’ll be ready to go again. Here are a few winter battery storage tips:

Disconnect Unused Batteries for Storage

It’s tempting to keep your battery connected in your boat or vehicle during the off-season. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Normally this is not the best choice. Disconnect your batteries if you’re planning to let them sit unused for an extended period of time. Some vehicles draw a little power even when they’re not in use (we call that “vampire power”), and a minor energy drain coupled with the battery’s self-discharge rate will accelerate the battery’s discharge. In non-technical speak, that means the battery may run out of juice faster if you leave it connected. We recommend keeping your batteries in a garage or storage facility where the temperature never falls below freezing during the winter.

Keep Your Batteries Clean and Dry

Batteries, despite their myriad shapes and sizes, have a common enemy: Corrosion. You can fend off corrosion with a little TLC. After removing the batteries from the vehicle, clean them down with a mixture of baking soda and water, rinse with clear water and wipe dry. The baking soda solution will neutralize any battery acid on the case and will help you remove any existing corrosion on the terminals.

Recharge Stored Batteries At Least Once a Month

An unused battery can deteriorate faster than one that is used (recharged) regularly. As a battery sits, the chemicals inside it react, causing it to self-discharge. Depending on battery type and temperature, the rate of self-discharge varies. Top off the charge monthly to lengthen its service life. A fully discharged battery is more likely than a fully charged battery to freeze when the temperature drops below zero.

Make sure to use a charger specifically for your type of battery. Flooded and sealed batteries often require different chargers. Always monitor your batteries when charging, whether your charger is automatic or not. Never allow a battery to become overcharged or overheated. If the battery casing feels hot to the touch, disconnect the charger immediately and let the battery cool down before you finish the charge. When it’s finished, take it off the charger. Overcharging can evaporate the battery’s water and cause internal damage.

battery winterizationRead more about proper battery maintenance, including how to check water levels.

By maintaining your marine/RV and powersports batteries over the winter, they’ll last longer and will be ready to go when the weather warms up.

Need to prepare your car for winter? Check out our winter car care tips, including how to help your battery power through the season.

Learn more about proper battery care and maintenance by visiting your local Interstate All Battery Center.
By James Pecht (140 Posts)

James Pecht writes about franchising, battery technology, tips, racing and company culture for Interstate Batteries.


Posted in All Battery, Automotive, Maintenance, Marine, Tips
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1 comments
pump shaft
pump shaft

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Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!