Battery Care & Maintenance
Taking good care of your battery will help to extend its service life. For tips on how to keep your battery in top condition.
1. Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Regular testing and inspection will help to maximise battery life. A routine inspection at least once a month is recommended to maintain optimum performance.
Use the following as a guide when examining your battery:
- Check the battery’s state of charge. Most batteries have a State of Charge Indicator on top of the battery that will give you an on the spot diagnosis of the battery condition. However, a more reliable way to check is with a voltmeter to determine the stabilised voltage or if the vent caps are removable a hydrometer to determine the specific gravity (SG) of the electrolyte. A charged Century battery will have a stabilised voltage above 12.5 volts and an SG reading above 1.240.
- Ensure the battery top is clean, dry, free of dirt and grime. A dirty battery can discharge across the grime on top of the battery casing.
- Inspect the terminals, screws, clamps and cables for breakage, damage or loose connections. These should be clean, tight and free of corrosion.
- Apply a thin coating of high temperature grease to posts and cable connections for added protection.
- Inspect the battery case for obvious signs of physical damage or warpage. This usually indicates the battery has been overheated or has been overcharged.
- If you have a maintainable battery, it is important to check if the battery has sufficient electrolyte covering the battery plates. If topping up is required, do not over fill as the fluid levels will rise when the battery is fully charged and may overflow. Top up using distilled or demineralised water and never fill with sulphuric acid.
- When servicing a sealed maintenance free (SMF) battery, check the State of Charge Indicator. This gives you a snap shot of the battery’s condition and whether the battery needs to be charged or replaced. The vehicle may still start the engine although the indicator outlines to replace the battery. If the State of Charge Indicator advises ‘Replace Battery’ it is important that the battery is replaced as the electrolyte levels may be below the plates which can lead to an internal explosion.
- For batteries used in seasonal applications and stored long term, fully recharge the battery prior to storing. Check the state of charge or voltage regularly. Should the voltage drop below 12.5V, recharge the battery. It is important to check the battery completely before reconnecting to electrical devices.
2. Technical Tips
Vibration can reduce a battery’s life. Always use an approved battery clamp to limit vibration. Century batteries are built tough, using robust internal components to resist damage through abrasion and puncture from vehicle vibration.
- Many alleged ‘dead batteries’ are merely flat batteries. Drivers simply leave lights on or can have faulty voltage regulators.
- Ensure your battery is properly tested before replacing a battery.
It’s impossible to know exactly when a battery might fail. A slow starting engine is sometimes an indication.
- Old batteries can give trouble in colder weather.
- Equally, if an engine area becomes overheated in very hot weather and the battery is under strain from air conditioners it may fail. Regular battery checks are always advised.
3. Why do Batteries Fail?
Short Circuits/Dead Cells