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Ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies in Canada take a sh*t kick­ing. Frozen solid in win­ter, baked in sum­mer heat and stressed with A/C loads, plus the ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of ad­di­tional ac­ces­sories like winches, lights and com­pres­sors. Then we of­ten leave them unat­tended for months in our off-road rigs, quads, RV’s and mo­tor­cy­cles as we wait for the win­ter to thaw and spring to re­turn. Or the snow­mo­bile as it sits wait­ing for a de­cent snow base.

Bat­tery charg­ers with main­te­nance cy­cles have been around for decades, but re­cent ad­vances in Smart charg­ers are be­gin­ning to help us ex­tend the life of these bat­ter­ies (up to two or three times), so we’re not drop­ping hun­dreds of dol­lars at Cana­dian Tire ev­ery three to five years (or sooner). The MXS 5.0 from CTEK is the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced smart charger to date, ad­just­ing the charge rate based on the am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture. Bob­bie DuMelle, ex­ec­u­tive VP of CTEK North Amer­ica ex­plains, “Cold bat­ter­ies need a higher charge volt­age in or­der to push cur­rent into the bat­tery plates and elec­trolyte, while warmer bat­ter­ies re­quire a lower charge volt­age to elim­i­nate po­ten­tial dam­age to cells and re­duce un­nec­es­sary gassing.”

We hooked it up to one of our heav­ily abused bat­ter­ies. The unit has an eight-step bat­tery care pro­gram de­signed to re­store dis­charged bat­ter­ies back to peak con­di­tion and then main­tain them in­def­i­nitely.

One of the im­por­tant ben­e­fits of this type of charger is you can leave it on the bat­tery for months while the bat­tery is in the ve­hi­cle, with­out dam­ag­ing the ad­vanced elec­tron­ics stan­dard in many ve­hi­cles. It works for all types of 12V lead acid bat­ter­ies in­clud­ing wet, cal­cium, gel, EFB and AGM. So if you, like me, dust off the thirty year old charger and hook it up to your ve­hi­cle in the spring to get it go­ing, it might be time to spend some dough on one of these smart units and proac­tively main­tain the bat­ter­ies through pe­ri­ods of non-use.

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