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I will be away from winter through early spring, approximately 4 months. My 2014 Sierra truck will be in my garage. Should I remove the battery completely or just disconnect and tape up the negative terminal. We live in Belleville, Ontario area.

  • Also, make sure your tank is full, and I’d suggest changing the oil. If it was going to be stored for a LONG time, I’d drain the tank and change the oil when I got back. – 3Dave Dec 15 '17 at 18:19
  • Disconnecting the negative (chassis lead) will protect the electrical side of the battery. Removing the battery and storing it inside will protect the physical battery. Is that a reasonable summary? – Criggie Dec 16 '17 at 1:11
  • well a lot of all this is fine but i'm storing mine in a storage rental unit, must leave battery in. Just disconnect neg. cable. Below freezing temp. % months. Thanks – user42800 Oct 28 '18 at 19:01
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I'd just disconnect the negative, personally.

I'd also recommend having a look at some of the questions and answers on here about storing vehicles for a long time:

Long-term-storage

As these may give you other useful advice - for example, jacking it up so you don't get flat spots on the tyres.

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    Good point about tyres +1 just for that. – Solar Mike Dec 14 '17 at 12:43
  • So the freezing temperatures is not a problem as long as the neg. is disconnected and taped up? – Lowggy Dec 14 '17 at 13:03
  • I can confirm no issues with freezing temps, I leave my RV starter battery installed but disconnected every winter from November to March (near Hamilton) and haven't had any problems. I usually use a cheapo Motomaster charger to juice it back up before starting it again, but not sure if I actually need too. – Cameron Roberts Dec 14 '17 at 20:44
  • @HankyPanky well spotted, fixed! – Nick C Dec 15 '17 at 14:23
  • @Lowggy Low temperatures are not a problem for car battery storage. They're kind of a problem for operation (like lower current). Fully-charged battery freezes at -60..70°C, however a discharged one at about -10..20 °C. That's why disconnecting is important to prevent car's computer from trickling it flat. – Agent_L Dec 15 '17 at 17:13
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I would put the battery, with it still connected to the vehicle, on a trickle charger.

This is because you will lose all the computer stored settings, and that may be a problem.

I did this, but for a shorter period of time, with a small (up to 10amps) charger on a time switch. I kept it down to 2 hours a day and it worked fine.

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    I'm more of an electronics person and instead of a car person, so I'm curious, is it still common to use volatile memory for settings in modern cars? Instead of something like flash memory which doesn't disappear when the power goes out. – Matti Virkkunen Dec 14 '17 at 15:20
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    Yes, it’s how certain fuel related settings can be updated - as the car “learns” how you drive , also power windows have one-touch down or up functions that get cleared and need re-programming also coded radios or soubd systems will loose the code ( anti-theft) which will need re-programming - if you have the correct code.... – Solar Mike Dec 14 '17 at 15:28
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    What I was getting to is, we have memory that doesn't disappear when the power goes out these days. Like the storage in a smartphone, even if your battery runs completely empty or you remove it, your data is still there. You'd think modern cars used the same stuff. – Matti Virkkunen Dec 14 '17 at 15:30
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    I'd be concerned with overcharging at 10a for 2 hours a day. Standard drain should be < 50ma. Over 24 hours, that's 1.2AH. 10a for 2 hours is 20AH. Even a 2a trickle charge for 1 hour every day should be more than enough. A battery maintainer would be much better as it watches the voltage and charges as necessary. – rpmerf Dec 14 '17 at 16:46
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    @rpmerf I did say “up to” as the charger is intelligent and decreases its output as the battery is charged.... – Solar Mike Dec 14 '17 at 16:57
6

Are you trying to keep your battery from discharging? Are you worried about a parasitic drain? Or are you worried about temperature?

A better choice for long-term storage might be a battery tender. That will keep the battery up to the right level without overcharging.

  • Not too worried about losing stored computer settings, just wondering if leaving the battery in the cold can do any damage to it. Taking the battery out if a 2014 Sierra is a pain. – Lowggy Dec 14 '17 at 13:01
  • @Lowggy I would worry about it if it prevents your car from starting. Some cars have anti-theft detection that prevents ignition when the battery is cut. A dead battery triggers that. – Nelson Dec 14 '17 at 15:48
2

Having lived in North Dakota, my experience was that the extreme low temperatures in the timeframe you mention it is best to remove from the vehicle and put inside at room temp. Extremely low temperatures are not good for a battery, and neither is not running it frequently. Both those things together will impact your batteries overall lifespan.

https://patch.com/virginia/vienna/dead-car-battery-cold-weather-electronics-may-be-to-blame-aaa-says

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    Links can vanish: it would be ideal to find a paragraph that best describes the main points in the article and quote it here. – user4896 Dec 14 '17 at 22:08
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    Agreed, car batteries do not like the cold. Some batteries, especially powerframe designs (a subset of AGM) will retain charge for 18 months at room temperature. If it gets too cold, the battery will cease holding charge at all. If you're leaving the truck standing, I recommend taking the battery out and putting it somewhere the temperature won't drop below zero. Giving it a full charge when you come back ought to do it. – Gargravarr Dec 15 '17 at 11:20
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The freezing point of the battery electrolyte becomes lower the more fully the battery is charged (I've found many different numbers for freezing point of a fully charged battery, and you can too), and even disconnected the battery will self-discharge (increasing the risk of freezing). I'd go with a battery tender myself (which also avoids the loss of volatile memory).

1

Definitely bring the battery inside the house for the winter period. It helps the battery to stay warm. Frigid cold as well as hot summer days, are not not helpful for a car battery. Speaking of very cold winter days, to start the car even easier in the morning, bring the battery at night inside the house, it will be more powerful in the morning if the battery is kept warm.

-1

I would take it out because the longer it sits the battery will loose its charge. Don't worry about it loosing stored computer settings their store on a memory chip like ram on a computer

  • You WILL loose computer settings AND you will need your Radio Code otherwise no music... – Solar Mike Sep 16 '18 at 18:25
  • Batteries will also lose their charge if disconnected. – Chenmunka Sep 17 '18 at 9:23

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