How should I maintain my battery and how often must do it?
For batteries labeled Low-Maintenance, the main items that should be checked are the fluid levels per battery cell and battery terminal post corrosion. The cables, terminals, cover, and container should be inspected and cleaned if they look dirty or corroded.
Some batteries are equipped with removable vent caps so that the fluid/electrolyte levels can be checked when levels are low.
Always use distilled water when filling the battery to prevent undesired chemicals from contaminating it. The water added should cover the battery's plates and be no higher than 2 to 4 mm from the bottom of the vent so as not to overfill the battery. You should check these levels periodically.
Note: Do not use diluted sulfuric acid (battery electrolyte) solution for topping up purposes.
Battery terminal post corrosion occurs when the battery is venting gasses during charging. Oxygen gas reacts with the lead alloy post and produces a whitish powdery substance called corrosion. Corrosion lessens the contact between the post terminals and the cable clamps thereby reducing the battery's ability to provide power. Remove corrosion by brushing the posts and the clamp (detached from the post) with water (mixed with caustic soda if possible) until all signs of corrosion are gone. To detach the clamp from the battery post, remove the negative (-) clamp first to avoid sparks that may cause an explosion. When re-installing the clamp to the battery post, connect the positive (+) clamp first.
Check your battery at least once a month, more often if you have a battery older than six months. Have your battery checked by qualified technicians every two to four months to ensure optimum performance and life.
How do I know when to test or replace my battery?
Your battery or electrical system has a problem when:
- Your instrument panel indicates battery discharge/low power for extended periods even if your engine is running
- Your headlights dim when the engine is idling
- Your starter motor is experiencing slow, labored or interrupted cranking/turnover.
- Your battery seems to lose power quickly in extended and/or short repetitive starts.
Let our technicians run a check-up to confirm the most probable cause.
What is the advantage of a maintenance-free battery over other battery types?
Being maintenance-free eliminates the need to add water and minimizes corrosion in the battery terminal posts.
How should a battery be charged?
Automotive batteries should always be treated with extreme caution even if they are undercharged since they contain corrosive sulfuric acid and produce explosive gases. MF batteries, though sealed, have small vents through which internally generated gasses are released. They can leak or spurt acid if they are tipped or charged too vigorously. During charging, the production of hydrogen and oxygen is accelerated. Always make it a practice to read and follow the warning labels that are strategically located on the batteries.
The following precautionary measures are recommended when charging a battery:
Make sure that the charger is switched off and unplugged before connecting or disconnecting a battery. The leads should always be connected to the proper battery terminals. The red clamp/clip should be connected to the positive (+) terminal of the battery while the black clamp/clip should be connected to the negative (-) terminal.
- Read the charger's instruction manual carefully before attempting to use it.
- The battery should be charged in a well-ventilated and undisturbed area.
- Do not shake the connections to inspect the contact while the charger is activated or plugged in. This is to avoid sparks that may cause battery explosion.
- Always use protective eyewear and clothing during charging.
- Avoid overheating the battery during recharging. Stop charging when the cells are "gassing" (boiling) and the battery is warm to the touch.
- Smoking, open flames or sparks should never be allowed near a battery to avoid an explosion.
- Make sure that the vent plugs are in proper position during recharging and that the vent holes are free of dirt.
- The battery and the charger determine the amount of current and the time required to charge the battery. Most chargers can automatically adjust to the battery's state-of-charge and will shut down when the amount of charge becomes sufficient. Many chargers have minimum voltages that must be present in the battery before the charger is activated. Generally, these low voltages are substantially below those shown by a battery that looks "dead" to a vehicle's electrical system.
- Some chargers have optional settings for 6 and 12-volt batteries and/or low-maintenance versus standard or deep cycle batteries. Make sure that you have adjusted the settings properly before turning on the charger. If the charger needs manual adjustment, read the charger's instructions to determine the setting that is suitable to the battery's rating.