One of the most commonly overlooked things when it comes to lead acid batteries is care and maintenance. So, what are some of the things that we can do to properly care and maintain our battery?
We want to check that the terminals and connections are clean. You probably want to do this once a year, or more if you see corrosion building up. This can be done with a wire brush by brushing any corrosion off the terminals and cleaning up the lead post. Custom wire brush is meant for battery terminals to clean the inside of the terminals.
Also, it's important that we have a good connection in between the post and the cable lug to ensure that the battery's going to deliver the proper amount of current required through the cable to the starter motor. Llikewise, that we're going to get current back into the battery when the vehicle is running and the alternator is putting current into the battery. So, it's important that those connections are clean and tight.
We also want to neutralize any acid that's around on the case and around the tray. We can actually get batteries that will self-discharge if there's a lot of moisture on top of the battery so we want to make sure that it's dry and clean and ensure that the tray is not going to corrode from any acid. We can do that with baking soda or soda ash. Mix up the paste with water and that's going to neutralize anything and clean up the metal in the connections.
We also need to check electrolyte levels. It's important that the top of the plates in the battery are covered by half to three-quarters of an inch of electrolyte. This could be more in bigger batteries such as golf car batteries and bigger floor scrubber type of applications. But, in automotive-starting application we typically look for half to three-quarter inch of electrolyte over the top of the plate. A common situation is for somebody to open the caps on the battery and see the levels are down and feel compelled to fill it right up to the top. Well, you don't need to fill it up right to the top of the case, or the bottom of the case if you're looking in the filler holes, just half to three-quarter of an inch. Overfilling it is going to cause electrolyte to pump out and then we've got a big mess and corrosion.
LAst, it's important that we load test the battery. That should be done once a year as a preventative maintenance. So, that's going to determine how much power the battery has available and is gonna output. The average age of a battery in Canada and Northern America is somewhere in the range of 55 months. So, we know that if we've got a battery in a vehicle that's four or five years old. It's really important that we start checking that regularly and so it doesn't leave us stranded.
So, for more information on battery care and maintenance please watch the video here: https://youtu.be/NTuyJR5I9PM