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Ok, hypothetically, lets say someone accidentally left their lights on their brand new ~ two weeks old ~ smart fortwo and drained the battery. How would you go about charging the battery? Again, we’re talking hypothetically here, but let’s say for arguments sake, the said fortwo is stored in a garage, but it’s not heated and the owners manual says not to charge/jump start a frozen battery. Should I tell my friend to remove the battery and warm it up? Is that even possible? Is it better to jump start is and get out and drive it or leave it on a charger? The outside temperature in this “pretend” situation is about 20º F.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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in my own experience with cold ...

Ok, hypothetically, lets say someone accidentally left their lights on their brand new ~ two weeks old ~ smart fortwo and drained the battery. How would you go about charging the battery? Again, we’re talking hypothetically here, but let’s say for arguments sake, the said fortwo is stored in a garage, but it’s not heated and the owners manual says not to charge/jump start a frozen battery. Should I tell my friend to remove the battery and warm it up? Is that even possible? Is it better to jump start is and get out and drive it or leave it on a charger? The outside temperature in this “pretend” situation is about 20º F.

Any advice would be appreciated.
I would not attempt to jump the battery as too much current can flow into it and if it is frozen, it WILL explode.

and dead batteries, and given the car is inside a garage although not heated, it is unlikely but possible that the battery is frozen. Now...if the battery sat outside over nite in a totally dead state, then it may freeze up.
To be safe, I would read the battery voltage with a voltmeter and see if there is any residual charge there. If there is, the specific gravity will not quite be low enough to allow freezing solid. If that is the case, I'd disconnect the battery ground and put the trickle charger on the battery in the car and let it charge overnite or until the charger shows 3 or less amps. If the meter on the charger is showing steady 6-8 amps continously (thru the first hour of charging) then the battery is most likely shot. If it has tapered down, it probably will take more charge and should not be condemned.
As a 3rd option, remove the battery and do a load test on it after attempting to charge it as described above. These various options should tell you the true story.

John
 

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I think it best to suggest to your "friend" that he bring the battery inside overnight to make sure that it is thawed out, than re-charge it. Can your friend get into the car with no juice available to operate door locks?
 

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aka '24-42'
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It wil help if when asking a question or requesting advice, to ALWAYS state the model (450-451). This is particularly important because the people who are most knowledgeable of the 450 aren't usually as knowledgeable on the 451 and vise versa.

If the battery is dead dead, and the car is locked, you will need to open it with the key, 451-left door, 450-tailgate.

A trickle charger will not blowup a battery ( even if it is frozen) and a battery, in a garage, in a car, at 20degree's is not going to freeze.

An auto, even one that can be 'roll started' ( Mercedes term), that has an alternator, cannot be roll started with a dead battery (alternator- electro-magnetic field Generator- permanent magnetic field). Plus because of the computer's need for power.

I would recommend a trickle (1-2 amp) charge for several hours minimum.

It should then have enough power to enable a roll start.

BTW: If your radio has been set to "Safe", you will need to reenter the code.
To remove the radio always set it to 'Code' first. this is also true when ever disconnecting the battery, resetting the computer to a new primary driver.

Donald LaFavor
 

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OK.....Sooooooooo

Remove the rubber plug on the lock and use the key to enter if the battery is dead.
Is it quicker to Florida?....or by train? Is it colder in Cincinnati or in the Winter? :D Pardon me for being a wise guy here but I just couldn't let this one go.
The issue was what to do with a dead battery....not how to get into the car if the battery is dead.
I meant no offense but hope others will get a laugh out of my reply. I am alittle giddy today as I am going on vacation for the next week and am really looking forward to some warm weather and sunshine for a change.....:) :)

John
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the advice. It wasn't locked, so entry isn't a problem. I called my dealer and they advised using a trickle charger and give it over night. I was most concerned about it being frozen. I didn't know that was even an issue until I read the owners manual. There was a water bottle in my other car and it wasn't frozen, so I'm guessing my battery shouldn't be either.

Another question, when I realized the battery was dead when I couldn't get the trunk open (which was locked). Is there a way to open it when it's locked?

I have a 2008 451 Cabrio, sorry for not including that in my original post.
 

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I'm glad you are asking I don't have any idea were the battery is located in the 451. I quess you could put down the passenger seat and get to the back of the engine.
 

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It wil help if when asking a question or requesting advice, to ALWAYS state the model (450-451). This is particularly important because the people who are most knowledgeable of the 450 aren't usually as knowledgeable on the 451 and vise versa.

If the battery is dead dead, and the car is locked, you will need to open it with the key, 451-left door, 450-tailgate.

A trickle charger will not blowup a battery ( even if it is frozen) and a battery, in a garage, in a car, at 20degree's is not going to freeze.

An auto, even one that can be 'roll started' ( Mercedes term), that has an alternator, cannot be roll started with a dead battery (alternator- electro-magnetic field Generator- permanent magnetic field). Plus because of the computer's need for power.

I would recommend a trickle (1-2 amp) charge for several hours minimum.

It should then have enough power to enable a roll start.

BTW: If your radio has been set to "Safe", you will need to reenter the code.
To remove the radio always set it to 'Code' first. this is also true when ever disconnecting the battery, resetting the computer to a new primary driver.

Donald LaFavor
Donald,

All great advice.

Lance
 

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For the sake of clarity, he did say "their brand new ~ two weeks old ~ smart fortwo" in the original post. Pretty much have to be a 451 at this stage of the game. :)
 

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The outside temperature in this “pretend” situation is about 20º F.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Don't know what the freezing point of a battery would be, but certainly would NOT be frozen at 20F!!! So don't worry about removing it to thaw it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
we're back up and running

Well, everything went fine with recharging the battery. The battery is located under the passengers feet. Getting to it took some courage to really pull up on the carpet to get the black foam piece out. The owners manual said to remove the battery, but for the life of me I couldn't get the positive terminal nut to loosen. It's almost impossible to get to. I took a chance and trickle charged it in the car and she was up and running 6 hours later. It was snowing pretty hard when I took her for a test drive and it handled really well with 2-3 inches and ice under neath. I love this car!

I've learned my lesson.. I will always check to make sure the lights are set to auto or off from now on. :)
 

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Just got back for an enexpecedly long trip (4 weeks) away from my little smart. Upon return, dead battery. so dead that the key wouldn't work, could not get the back hatch open (which is where the manual is). Located this thread, so knew to look under passenger side for battery. I called roadside assistance and the dork they sent me had never worked on a smart, but was sure it was just like any other hybrid. (Like I said, dork). I sai no, not a hybrid, at whcih he was sure it was all elesctic. No, I said, not that either. So, he had no clue about the car, but was sure it was just like something he'd worked on before.

I was livid and uncomfortable about him touching my little darling. But he did jump it after I showed him where the battery was, but not before he insisted it was under the front hatch. He kept telling me he knew everything about these cars, they sell them all over town and the get 80 miles to the gallon and that the ARE a hybrid. When I tried to educate him on the facts he said "Why didn't you just buy a Toyota?" I wondered why I was being asked to justify my car purchase to this idiot.

Anyway, smartie is running and all is right with the world.

My Advice is if you have to leave yours undattended for a period of weeks, get a friend to start it or put it on the trickle charger when you get back. You would avoid a run in with a dork.

Suze

BTW - If anyone knows how to open the back hatch when the battery is dead, please share!
 

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aka '24-42'
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Just got back for an enexpecedly long trip (4 weeks) away from my little smart. Upon return, dead battery. so dead that the key wouldn't work, could not get the back hatch open (which is where the manual is). Located this thread, so knew to look under passenger side for battery. I called roadside assistance and the dork they sent me had never worked on a smart, but was sure it was just like any other hybrid. (Like I said, dork). I sai no, not a hybrid, at whcih he was sure it was all elesctic. No, I said, not that either. So, he had no clue about the car, but was sure it was just like something he'd worked on before.

I was livid and uncomfortable about him touching my little darling. But he did jump it after I showed him where the battery was, but not before he insisted it was under the front hatch. He kept telling me he knew everything about these cars, they sell them all over town and the get 80 miles to the gallon and that the ARE a hybrid. When I tried to educate him on the facts he said "Why didn't you just buy a Toyota?" I wondered why I was being asked to justify my car purchase to this idiot.

Anyway, smartie is running and all is right with the world.

My Advice is if you have to leave yours undattended for a period of weeks, get a friend to start it or put it on the trickle charger when you get back. You would avoid a run in with a dork.

Suze

BTW - If anyone knows how to open the back hatch when the battery is dead, please share!
Harbor Freight has a "Float Charger" $9.99, on sale now (until May 12) for $5.99 ( lot # 42292). It is small enough to live in the battery box with the battery. Can be permanently connected and just the 110v cord left outside the styrofoam. (Proof that it's an electric car, if you are so inclined.

Donald LaFavor

Will maintain, but not overcharge the battery.
 

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Float chargers are absolutely great; have them on both the winter garage queens and they sat for six months this winter with no problems. Fired right up the first time. Well worth the money at that price. :)
 

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harumph..... not meaning to go about smart bashing...BUT

I travel a LOT and all my current cars have batteries of various ages.. In fact; most are still the factory battery...

ALL of them do just fine being left un used for extended periods of 3 to 9~10 weeks including my small garden tractor ones that will sit 2 or 3 months

For those of you who are not into modern computer controlled cars the Milli Amp drain of these cars is fairly large 24/7 keeping the KAM (keep alive memory) stereo code, and SAM, remote systems, alarm system energised. I have measured from 0.25amp to 0.95 amp draws on most every modern car while trying to chase an electrical probmlem.

BUT even so...depleating a car battery in 4 weeks or less indicates a charging system problem, bad battery, or loose wireing.... a trickle charger is a Band Aid...IMPO
 

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Float chargers are absolutely great; have them on both the winter garage queens and they sat for six months this winter with no problems. Fired right up the first time. Well worth the money at that price. :)
What about just disconnecting the battery terminals for storage over the winter? in the garage of course? My '81 Honda gets disconnected and fuel stablized for its hubernation. Thanks for the input.
 
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