Many car batteries are now offered as maintenance free but even these require some looking after, here are some basic tips for making your batteries last longer.
Please note that maintenance free batteries are sealed batteries which means they cannot be topped up with battery water - they may have vent holes on the top plate but do not try to pry anything open because there is a risk of injury from the chemical content of the battery, or explosion or electrocution or all three of the above.
For unsealed batteries you should
- Periodically inspect the acid or electrolyte level in the battery and top them up with distilled water if they fall below optimum.
With any type of car battery, whether unsealed or maintenance-free, you should do the following to help keep it working properly:
- Clean the cables. Disconnect the cables from the battery and clean them with a wire brush that has been doused in a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water. The same mixture can be used to clean off the top of the battery. Rinse off well with cold water after cleaning.
- . Lubricate the posts with some petroleum jelly to keep the cables and post corrosion free for a longer period.
- . Check connections. Besides the connection between the cable and the posts, make sure that the battery hold down bar is securely in place. Not all cars have or need a battery hold down bar, but if yours has come so equipped, you will need to put it back in its proper place.