Day to day we tend to forget about the batteries that power our transport, but they sure are hard to ignore if for whatever reason they decide not to work.
If a battery is dead then there is not much that can be done with it apart from replacement, but there are ways to prolong the life of your batteries and protect your investment, this is important for any battery type but it becomes crucial when you have large and expensive banks containing multiple batteries for say a truck, caravan or golf cart.
The most important rule is simple, keep your batteries as fully charged as possible, at all times. A battery is a power storage device that works magnificently when it is full, but allowing them to routinely become significantly discharged or flattened removes a sizeable portion of their total life span. Allowing a battery to be flattened and then left in that state without charging is the best way to kill it completely.
This happens because of what a battery is made from and how it works. In the simplest possible terms, a battery is porous sponge-like lead plates and acid suspended in water, gel, fibreglass matting or a solid crystal salt. When a battery is full the acid is outside of the plates, as a battery is discharged the acid is soaked up by the plates and held captive there until charging. The reason why being flat is detrimental to the battery is that when the acid is contained within the plates, the acid and the lead react chemically to produce lead sulphate which builds up over time rendering the sulphated portions of the plate increasingly unusable.
Sulphation is happening to all batteries to a greater or lesser degree all the time as a result of the way they function, it is the reason why all batteries gradually lose their power, become useless and need to be replaced. Anytime a battery is less than full the sulphation process is accelerated, the flatter it is the faster it happens.
Owners of motorcycles, boats, caravans and ride-on mowers tend to have the most trouble keeping their batteries alive because the batteries that power these are commonly left for long periods of time without use, allowing already less than fully charged batteries to slowly discharge over time allowing sulphation to kick in. The way to keep your toys ready for use and your batteries healthy is to keep a trickle charger on any battery that is commonly left to sit without use for long periods. Most battery chargers today are smart and know when a battery is full so it will switch itself on or off depending on the need of the battery. If you are unsure about the suitability of your charger to leave on a battery permanently, we will be happy to advise.
In short, it doesn't matter if a battery is in use every day, or if it is sitting in a shed, A fully charged battery lives and a flat battery dies.
Maintainable or Maintenance Free
Maintainable batteries are becoming a minority in the market as the technology of sealed batteries gets better, but they are still available for sale and are in use all over Australia.
If your battery is maintenance free, just keep it charged and you're good as gold, your battery won't lose any significant amount of liquid throughout its life and in any case, it will be unlikely that you could even open your battery. But if your battery can be opened to expose the cells you will need to periodically monitor and if necessary top up the liquid levels inside the battery.
If any part of the lead plates are not submerged then your battery is in dire need of some water, there will be a marker inside where it is recommended the liquid be filled to.
The only water that should be put in your battery is distilled or demineralised water which can be purchased from us, and most auto parts stores or supermarkets.