Re: Batteries and Trickle Chargers
If your car is only driven on weekends, then you should be using a battery tender to prolong the life of the battery. When I lived in PA, I never used one, I never had any real issues, and my batteries would typically last around the five year mark. Florida is a different story. The heat down here will kill batteries in about three years - or so I'm told. I've heard anecdotal evidence going both ways, but I think it's well agreed upon that heat and batteries aren't the best of friends.
I drive my car only on weekends - Friday and Saturday. My Friday cruise is a whopping 1/2 mile round trip, and my Saturday cruise is about 8 miles round trip. So I'm not putting enough time on my car to get a good charge on the battery. I usually put the tender on the car the next day, but have gone the better part of a week before doing so, and the battery will drop to about 85% charge (Optima red top). A day or two on the tender and the battery is good to go. It's best to keep the tender hooked-up so you're not getting large drops that need to be corrected, but I can't confirm this as I'm not an expert or anything of the sort. I just believe that consistency is key for best long-term results.
I use a Schumacher 3A battery extender and it has served me very well. It also has a pulsating feature, which is supposed to correct battery sulfation. This is apparently the reason why batteries don't last as long in Florida - heat causes the sulfation and something something something... Once I hook it up to the car, it stays there until the car is going to be driven. This may be a week, or two weeks, or a month, but I never remove it just to remove it. The purpose is to keep the battery fully charged at all times.
I feel like this response was much longer than needed, but I am trying to get out of house cleaning for company coming over today. Sorry!!