Maintaining a sufficient electrolyte level ensures the electrolyte is neither too high or too low. Use distilled or deionised water and never over fill. Maintenance free batteries will usually not require topping up. Low maintenance batteries require the addition of water only once or twice per year depending on conditions. Or, select a maintenance-free battery which does not require this.
Make sure battery terminals and cable connections are clean and tight. The application of a thin layer of petroleum jelly can help reduce corrosion.
Overcharging produces rapid deterioration and corrosion which shortens battery life. A battery needing to be topped up continually with water is a sure sign that the car's electrical system requires careful checking. This may also affect a maintenance free battery.
Keep batteries clean and dry
Dirt on a battery's surface leads to discharge and corrosion. Avoid spilling oil or grease onto the top of the battery. To remove dirt or moisture, wash with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water. Rinse afterwards with clean water. Ensure vent plugs are in place at all times.
To avoid shorting, metallic objects should not be placed on top of the battery. Batteries contain hydrogen gas and air in a volatile mixture which is easily ignited. Keep flames or sparks away from the battery at all times.
Batteries contain sulphuric acid. Never add acid to cells and keep acid away from eyes, skin, clothing or any other material which may become damaged. If contamination occurs, use large amounts of water to neutralise and flush acid away. To avoid shorting, metallic objects should not be placed on top of the battery. Batteries are also heavy - ensure correct lifting procedures are used when moving batteries.
An undercharged battery or underutilised battery will slowly discharge (go flat) over time and reduce its life. This is common in boats (over winter) or vehicles left unused for long periods of time. Always keep a battery fully charged to ensure maximum life.
You don't have to wait until you break down to change your battery. Avoid breakdowns by getting your battery tested at Autospark. Vehicle electrical systems are becoming more complex and its vital you purchase the right battery for your vehicle, so leave it to the experts.
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