Thousands of functional batteries are wasted each year due to incorrect advice given to battery owners. Many batteries that are thought to be faulty and that require jump-starting often are not performing efficiently due to a faulty charging system. The battery itself is in perfect working order. Also, simple maintenance procedures can lengthen the life of a battery.
Battery Centre’s Marketing Director, Andrew Webb, has the following tips to ensure motorists’ batteries last as long as possible:
Check the condition of the battery’s terminals. If they are corroded, they need to be cleaned with a wire brush or battery cleaner spray. “Corrosion prevents the free flow of current through the battery, reducing the amount of power available to start the car”, explains Webb. The entire battery should be kept clean and dry to ensure it can deliver maximum power.
Jump-starting incorrectly is dangerous and can cause damage to the vehicle’s electrical system. If the vehicle needs to be jump-started, first check the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent injury and vehicle damage.
Check if your battery terminals are tight. Loose connections result in loss of power. It’s best to check these connections often. Also ensure that the battery fits snugly in the battery tray. If there is movement the connections may become loose.
Batteries should be tested at least once a quarter. Batteries should also be tested before a long trip to avoid battery failure and becoming stranded out of town.
Batteries that need jump-starting in colder months aren’t necessarily destined for recycling. Battery failure can be a result of a faulty charging system.
Further advice to avoid battery problems:
Ensure that: adequate electrolyte levels are in all cells; that approved battery water is used; that hold downs are snug and the battery is not loose; that the correct polarity is established; that the correct capacity of battery is fitted; and that there are no short circuits or continuous current drains.
Remember that the use of jumper cables is likely to damage battery terminals. Furthermore, do not allow batteries to self-discharge (Sulphation) and never check to see if a battery is okay by “shorting across” positive and negative terminals.