With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns this year, many Americans are returning to parked cars with dead batteries, requiring replacement. This, according to Economic timeshas raised prices and demand for lead-acid car batteries and the lead needed to produce them.
In a combustion engineered vehicle, the battery is used to start the engine and to power all of the 12-volt electronics in the car. Normally, your car’s alternator charges the battery when the engine is running while driving. This maintains a recharged state of charge and a good battery for years of operation. However, when parked, the battery continues to power many vehicle systems.
If you just left the lights on overnight,will get you going again. But even if you don’t, leaving a car parked for an extended period of time can still leave you with a drained battery like the ECU, telematics, electric lock sensors, and the tailgate, and drain it more slowly over time. It is harmful to leave a discharged lead-acid battery for a long period of time, which can leave you with a battery that no longer has enough charge to sustain the vehicle. This is especially true for batteries older than two or three years.
A wave of American and European drivers returning to their vehicles only to find they need a new battery has led to a surge in demand for those lead-acid batteries and a corresponding increase in the price of lead required to produce them. About half of the lead extracted each year goes to the manufacture of car batteries.
Energy Research Consultants Mackenzie Wood estimate a 5.9% increase in global demand for lead this year, basically bringing it back to pre-pandemic levels. However, this sudden increase in demand for batteries along with And the shortage has pushed lead prices in the US to a record high.
There are a few ways that you can protect your car battery when using mothballs for an extended period of time. Connecting an external battery maintainer can slowly and safely “slowly charge” a battery, while maintaining its condition over time. Alternatively, you can disconnect or remove the battery, keeping it with a near full charge to protect its capacity and prevent parasitic drain over time. The easiest way is to just drive the car every few days to let the alternator do its job and keep a full charge.