Get Charged Up: Corvette Battery Basics
You may not think of your Corvette's battery on a regular basis, but without it, your Corvette goes from road warrior to lawn ornament pretty quickly. Mid America Motorworks gives you tips on keeping your battery charged, clean and ready for the next cruise – and what to do if there's no charge.
Dead Battery vs. Bad Battery
For clarity, we define a "dead" battery as one that has no power, but can be revived with a charge. A "bad" battery is one that can never be restored to usable condition, even with a good charge. There are a few reasons a battery can go dead: a short in a wire; an interior light left on overnight; a cell phone or GPS left to charge – basically anything that creates a current draw while your Corvette isn't in use.
A bad battery is most regularly caused by age and expiration. Loss of acid, whether through leaks or puncture, and extreme lack of use (think barn find) are also prime reasons your battery can go bad.
A common misconception is that batteries go dead over the winter months because of the low temperatures. They don't go dead, but the chemical reaction in the battery reacts much slower, making the battery perform weaker.
How do you keep your battery operating at top performance? Follow these simple tips and your Corvette will always be fully charged.
Keep It Clean
Corrosion and oxidation on your Corvette's battery terminals restrict ignition, because enough current is not being drawn from the battery. Corrosion can be caused by electrolyte leaking out of the terminal, as well as fumes from the electrolyte that leak out when the battery is charging or hot.
To clean the battery terminals, be sure to first disconnect the battery. Wash the terminals with clean water. If the corrosion persists, a variety of tools and cleaning solutions are available to help get the job done. Be sure to wear gloves, as the acids and cleaners can be harmful to skin.
Disconnecting the battery and cutting the power by completely disconnecting the battery cable can eliminate battery drain. Without a complete circuit, there is nowhere for the electricity to travel and therefore nowhere for the battery to drain. There are a few different ways to disconnect your battery. Choose what works best for you and your Corvette.
- Manually Disconnect the Battery – A battery disconnect dial installs in minutes and makes it easy to disconnect your Corvette battery. Simply turn the dial to disconnect and, when you're ready to drive again, turn it back. Remove the dial completely to ensure that thieves can't start your Corvette.
- Battery Disconnect with Bypass Circuitry – The downside to disconnecting your Corvette's battery? You lose your radio stations, clock and other electronic settings. If you want to disconnect your battery to minimize theft and battery drain without losing memory power to your electronics, you can use these disconnects that include a small jumper wire, just large enough to keep your memory settings. If the battery drain is too much it will pop the fuse in the small wire indicating that your battery drain is excessive.
- Remotely Disconnect – For all the benefits of disconnecting your battery without the hassles of popping your hood, a remote battery disconnect is available. Simply hook the unit to your Corvette battery, then use the fob to disconnect and reconnect the charge as you like.
- Automatically – A computerized Battery Charger and Protector automatically protects your Corvette's starting power, battery and alternator by constantly monitoring the battery's voltage when the key is off. It automatically disconnects your battery if the voltage falls below 12 volts, then with the headlight switch, it automatically reconnects to ensure power.
An easy way to ensure that your battery holds an appropriate charge is to use a battery maintainer. This delivers a consistent charge to your battery to fight against battery drain. Some brands, such as CTEK, even offer an onboard plug in, so that you can leave it connected to your battery. Then just plug your maintainer in for a quick and easy hook up.
Protect Your Engine Bay
Anytime a battery has an acid leak, the acid from the battery can do serious damage to the body parts of your Corvette. In fact, for C5 owners there is extra concern, as the powertrain control module is located directly below the battery. Leaking battery acid can damage the powertrain control module and could actually affect your engine performance or even leave you stranded. The best solution would be to use a battery mat to absorb any acid that has leaked.
Even when you do everything in your power to maintain your Corvette battery, there are still times when it just won't start. It's always a good idea to carry jumper cables just in case. Luckily for Corvette owners, compact jumper cables and even pocket power banks are available to provide all the juice you need without taking up valuable space!
C6 Corvette owners, remember that when your battery dies, there's still an Emergency Entry Access System available that alleviates the problem of getting into your car. The E.E.A.S. harness connects to the positive battery power port and to the factory ground stud. It contains an anti-short circuit diode, so power may only flow into the electrical system. Simply connect a battery charger or another vehicle's battery to the harness leads, activate your door and you are in!
Want more tips on keeping your Corvette battery fully charged? GM World Class Certified Corvette Technician, Paul Koerner walks you through the basics of Corvette battery maintenance in this video.