My car won't start. I'm sure you've heard that one a lot, but in this case it is my favourite old "summer" car, a Mustang convertible that I store each winter. My husband, who passed away last summer, and I spent many a fun day in the sun in this car and I am following his practice of storing it in our heated garage for the winter and starting the engine every few weeks. But recently it won't start and when a helpful neighbour gives it a boost, it stalls the second he removes the booster cables. I replaced the battery and it worked for a while but then that battery died, too. What do you suggest? - Karen
It sounds as though there is a constant drain on the battery. It could be any number of things from a clock or audio system left on to a security/alarm system.
Starting an engine during storage and letting it run long enough to heat up the coolant and oil and burn off contaminants does some good, but unless the engine is running fast enough and the charging system is in top condition, it may not replace the juice drawn from the battery during the start.
I'd drop the practice of starting and running the engine occasionally and invest (less than $50) in a maintenance charger - not a slow or trickle charger - but a maintenance charger to keep the battery up to snuff.
These units have electric circuitry that reads battery condition and tops them up when necessary, shutting down until needed again.
Then, when you get the car on the road, take it to a shop with quality diagnostic gear and a technician who knows what he is doing - like a Ford dealer - and find out what is draining the battery.