By: Nicolas Stecher
There’s a dirty little secret in the automotive world that OEM’s are reticent to discuss openly, but they’re doing their damnedest to resolve behind the scenes. The problem, for lack of a better term, is battery abuse. Modern technologies like Start/Stop — where the vehicle’s engine shuts down at red lights, gridlock, etc — are smartly employed to boost fuel efficiency. This has a positive effect not only on the environment, but also on automakers aiming to hit crucial mpg milestones mandated by federal legislation such as CAFE standards. This gadget could be as crucial as the best transmission jack.
But there’s a catch. Starting your car over and over again at repeated intervals taxes the vehicle’s battery in a way that it never has before, and it can — and will — wear down your battery’s charge level. And eventually its ability to recharge.
Enter CTEK. The Swedish company has developed battery chargers they’re calling “battery maintenance systems”, because they go beyond simply charging your battery — their proprietary, patent-holding 8-step charging cycle not only charges your battery, but maintains its long-term health and charging ability.
This battery abuse is obviously well known among auto manufacturers, especially performance and luxury manufacturers whose vehicles’ complex computer systems use even more electrical power than normal. Hence, several manufacturers have struck deals with CTEK to provide their battery chargers standard in their vehicles. First was Porsche who saw their products at a trade show in 2004, and recognized their chargers were exactly what its customer base had been requesting. They struck a deal to supply Porsche-branded chargers, and soon thereafter the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Alfa Romeo, AMG, Lamborghini and many more have jumped onboard. Now, every Corvette Stingray that leaves the Bowling Green, Kentucky factory comes with a CTEK charger packaged in the trunk.
For interested consumers, their top-tier civilian product is called the MUS 4.3 Test & Charge, a charger that offers state-of-the-art technology previously only found in CTEK’s professional product range. Here’s how it works:
First, the MUS 4.3 will diagnose a battery to see if it can even retain a charge. Some batteries that have been discarded for not being able to recharge are not actually dead —they have simply built up sulphates that “seal” the battery shut, preventing it from charging. These need to be reconditioned. The MUS 4.3 has a special desulphation function that breaks up the blockage, restoring stratified and deeply discharged batteries so they can hold a charge once again. Its low current/high voltage charge “stirs” the battery to mix the lead and water, akin to stirring a pitcher of fresh OJ that’s separated into pulp and liquid.
Once the battery is reconditioned it is ready for charging, and once fully charged can be kept plugged into the MUS 4.3 endlessly. CTEK’s unique “maintenance” will never, ever boil a battery — a distinct difference between CTEK and traditional trickle chargers. Leave a trickle charger on too long and you will destroy your battery; leave a CTEK on for a month and when you return your battery will be 100% charged, ready to go.
This is what makes CTEK’s range especially good for those with a fleet of motorized toys. If you’re the guy with dirt bikes, an old Ducati, a couple Waverunners or snowmobiles in your garage, then anything in the CTEK range will do. Move it from vehicle to vehicle at regular intervals (or even when you think of it) and all your collective toys will always be ready to go.
Do the same with your luxury barge or mid-engined V8 racer — once every five weeks or so — and your prize investment will never be unprepared.
All of CTEK’s chargers are designed to protect a vehicle’s fragile electronics: they’re splash and dust proof, non-sparking, reverse polarity protected and short-circuit proof. A 5-year warranty is standard.
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