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One of the best ways to top off the batteries in your cars, trucks, motorcycles, and ATVs is to put them on a trickle charger when they’re not in use. But what is a trickle charger? Why do you need one?
Modern batteries are light years ahead of the batteries of the past. Despite technology and manufacturing advances, batteries are still limited in capacity and charge. If left unattended for long periods of time, batteries “bleed electrons”, leaving you with a dead battery if you don’t keep them charged.

Holding a Charge

A common misconception many non-mechanics have about batteries is thinking that once a battery is charged, it stays charged forever. But anyone who has let a battery sit dormant for more than a few weeks knows from firsthand experience this is not the case.

Motorcycle Battery
If left for more than a few weeks, motorcycle batteries tend to discharge enough to become ineffective.
Car Battery
If left for more than a few months, all batteries regardless of their size tend to discharge enough to become ineffective.

How do Trickle Chargers Work?

You can avoid the frustrations of a drained battery by using a trickle charger when you’re not using your vehicles. Trickle chargers work by:
  1. Taking the AC electricity from your wall
  2. Converting the AC current to DC for your 12V batteries to use
  3. Slowly trickling it in at a rate of 1-1.5A until the charger senses the battery is fully charged
Nearly all trickle chargers “sense” when your battery is fully charged, so you don’t have to worry about overcharging or draining the battery. Once the battery is fully charged, the charger stops feeding it electricity. As soon as the charger senses the battery is not fully charged, it starts feeding electricity to the battery until it is fully charged again.

How do Trickle Chargers Work?

One of the most popular options is called a Battery Tender, and there are different versions available depending on your needs.

Scooter or Motorcycle Battery
Battery Tender Jr.

Regardless of which trickle charger you choose, it should come with leads for you to attach to your battery. If your battery is difficult to access, these leads make it much easier to attach your trickle charger to your battery. If your battery is easy to access, you can opt to use the alligator clips that come with your trickle charger.

The Last Word on Battery Maintenance

No matter if it’s your car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or boat, your battery requires maintenance to help it last as long as possible. The best way to maintain your battery when it’s not in use is to keep it hooked up to a battery charger.