Choose a racing battery based...
Choose a racing battery based on its ability to withstand harsh racing conditions. The Optima Red Top we run on our Project Dirt Late Model has given us years of trouble-free service. Because we'll be running longer races with our new Late Model under construction, we'll be switching to the deep cycle Yellow Top.
5. My battery is dead, can it be saved and make it one more week?
Think twice before you recycle a battery that you think is bad. That very same battery might be able to be saved. In many cases, Optima batteries that are assumed to be bad may actually be perfectly fine, just deeply discharged.
The great thing about AGM batteries is that they have incredibly low internal resistance. This allows very high amperage output and for the battery to accept a charge very quickly.
The best method for recharging a deeply discharged AGM battery is to purchase a modern charger that has kept up with battery technology. Many chargers now have AGM-specific settings and desulfation steps that help recondition and recover deeply discharged AGM batteries. These are becoming more common, and they work well for all lead acid batteries. They have the additional capability of doubling as a battery "maintainer" for vehicle storage. Some come with additional wiring to permanently attach leads from your battery to an accessible spot on your vehicle. This makes it easy to hook up when you store your car.
6. How do I properly charge my battery?
Remember, newer chargers keep up with battery technology. Many newer battery chargers, or Smart Chargers, have microprocessors that collect information from the battery and adjust the current and voltage accordingly. Some have different settings for charging wet cell, gel, and AGM batteries. But if you can't afford a new charger, low and slow is best. A low-amp charger (1 to 10 amps) is always the best choice for charging any lead acid battery. It's quicker to charge at higher amperage, but it also generates a lot of heat, which reduces the life of a battery, just like the raging heat of summer.
Naturally, after every race...
Naturally, after every race you should carefully clean your battery. We're about halfway there after a visit to North Florida Speedway in Lake City, FL.
7. What is Sulfation?
Sulfation is the battery's performance limiter. Sulfation is quite simply the formation of lead sulfate crystals upon discharge. All lead acid batteries can experience sulfation. Look for a charger with a desulfation mode to help condition your battery and keep it performing at its best.
8. If I'm not planning on racing for a long period of time, how do I store the battery?
All batteries gradually lose their charge when stored over long periods of time. However, AGM batteries lose their charge much more slowly. This helps to prevent the battery from becoming overly discharged during storage, but it won't completely protect it from damage. You could take the battery out of the car and store it over the winter but first check the voltage to ensure the battery has a full charge. If it's not fully charged, give it a boost prior to storage.
Then, you can either loosen the negative terminal and disconnect it from the battery, or take the battery out of the vehicle. Either way, all the electrical draw on the battery will cease and your battery will be protected. In spring, the battery will have drained some but should still have enough power to start your vehicle. Don't leave it up to the alternator to fully recharge the battery though; that's not what it's for. Instead, use a battery charger to top it off. You'll extend the life of the battery by doing this.
9. Batteries will be good for a lifetime right? Unfortunately, batteries eventually die. Batteries are a consumable product. No battery will last forever. The goal is to consistently maintain your battery to get the most life out of it. If you keep a steady eye on the charge and store it properly you can extend the life of your battery and save yourself money over the long haul.
This modern charger is compact...
This modern charger is compact in size and allows you to choose between different amperage settings.
10. Can I charge my battery at the racetrack?
I would hope you would. This could help eliminate problems at the track. But there are some circumstances that would prevent you from charging the battery in the pits. If you are "bumping" the engine over to adjust the valves, this will cause the charger to surge and can blow out the circuit board in the charger. The charger is constantly sensing the voltage and adjusting it while it charges. When you turn the engine over, this causes the voltage in the battery to drop very quickly, which will in turn signal the charger to increase the amperage immediately and could harm the charger. Also, if you're warming up the engine, this could lead to the same type of damage from bumping the engine over.
Most battery problems result from someone not taking the time to properly maintain the battery. Yes, batteries will eventually die on you, but if you monitor your charge, and keep a close eye on what is happening to them you can avoid these common and basic problems. And when that battery does finally give up, make sure that you dispose of it properly. Millions of batteries end up in landfills every year, leaching toxic chemicals into the environment. County recycling centers will happily take your dead battery for free, and auto parts retailers will take your old battery when you buy a new one.