Ditch the trickle charger
At this time of year, many members enquire about charging their batteries externally over winter, using a mains-powered source. It is not a bad idea, especially if you cover many short journeys.
Ian Newham, Training Manger at GS-Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd., the market leader for vehicle and industrial batteries and one of the largest makers of car manufacturer (OE) quality batteries reveals that,
“The battery might not recover sufficiently from an initial cold start, unless you undertake a fairly lengthy drive afterwards. If the charge lost is not replenished promptly, the battery can degenerate permanently inside.”
Therefore, it is prudent to top-up the charge levels yourself but Ian also warns against overcharging and he explains why an ageing trickle charger is not ideal,
“Old-fashioned trickle chargers are fairly crude, because they risk overcharging. While this harmed old-style batteries, the ensuing damage could be limited, by topping up the acid level inside the battery with distilled water. Now that most car batteries are sealed, should the battery be overcharged, you cannot replenish it.”
Modern day smart chargers detect battery condition far more accurately and ensure that they stop delivering power, once an optimum charge level is reached, causing neither overcharging, nor overheating. For more modern vehicles that are fitted with emission reduction systems, such as start-stop and regenerative braking technologies, Advanced Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are fitted, usually. These can be damaged severely, should you even attempt to charge them with an old-style trickle charger.
Therefore, the best advice is to ditch the old-fashioned trickle charger and invest in a decent smart charger, instead.