Q – I am getting ready to store my car for the season and I have been warned about letting the battery go dead. I have the dealer-provided battery maintainer and I wonder what your opinion is. I was told NOT to disconnect the battery by some and I was told TO disconnect it. What the heck? Lauren
A – The car will not be harmed by simply disconnecting the battery and reconnecting it, although the adaptively learned settings will default to basic, kind of like re-booting you computer. Fortunately, you do not have to reload the programs; the adaptive learning capability will do that for you.
When you first start it up after reconnecting the battery, usually your radio stations will need to be reprogrammed. On earlier cars, an “air bag” warning might be on and until the car re-learns your driving style (or lack thereof), it will not run its best. No problem.
The greater fear is voltage spikes caused by driving a car with a battery not fully charged. Rather than plow old ground, look at prior MC columns for all the dirt on that topic. The last alternator that failed was so toasted that the blown diodes not only sucked the power out of the battery but turned the unit into a powerful electro-magnet that attracted every tool within an inch of it. My personal preference is to disconnect the battery with a switch. MC