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CAR TALK

Long-term parking doesn’t have to drain your power
DEAR CAR TALK:
This September, I will be parking a 2016
RAM pickup truck in long-term parking
at an airport for 3-5 weeks.
Should I disconnect battery? Is that OK
to do? What is the maximum amount of
time I can safely leave the truck parked
with the battery connected? Thank you.
-- Hank
DEAR HANK:
You can safely leave the truck parked
with the battery connected until the 115th
season of “Game of Thrones” debuts,
Hank. It’ll never be unsafe. The truck just
won’t start after three or four weeks.
Every modern car uses some amount
of battery power even when the vehicle

is parked and shut off. There’s the alarm
system, stored electronic settings and the
evaporative emissions system. Those all
draw power.
If you want to park the truck longer
than a few weeks and start it when you
come back, then you have two choices.
Option one is to hook up a trickle charger
(also called a battery tender). That device
plugs into a wall socket and “trickles” a
small amount of current to your battery,
to keep it always topped up.
If you don’t have access to an outlet -say, in a long-term airport parking lot -then your second option is to disconnect
the battery. That’ll preserve the battery’s
charge, so when you reconnect it, the truck
should start right up.

The downsides are minimal. You’ll have
grease on your hands when you go through
your TSA screening. And you’ll have to
reset things like your radio presets and
seat memory buttons. But the transmission
computer parameters and stuff like that
will reset themselves on your drive home.
You likely won’t even notice anything.
So, bring the right-sized wrench with
you, disconnect the negative terminal,
move it away from the battery and then
straighten out that battery cable. Maybe
even put a little crimp in it so it’s “metal
muscle memory” doesn’t drag the negative
terminal back to the battery while you’re
away.
Reconnect it when you get back, and you
should be all set, Hank.

RAY MAGLIOZZI

King Features Content
cartalk@gmail.com

PHOTO PROVIDED BY ISTOCK

Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King
Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or visit
www.cartalk.com. (c) 2018 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug
Berman. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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