Basic Rules for Battery Care & Maintenance

- Jun 13, 2017-

Warning: Batteries, battery posts, terminals and related accessories contain lead and lead compounds, and other chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling! Warning: Follow all safety instructions when handling batteries! Always wear safety glasses and a face shield when working on or near batteries. All batteries generate explosive hydrogen gas. Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times. Do not connect or disconnect “live” circuits. To avoid creating sparks, always turn charging and testing equipment off before attaching or removing clamps. ALWAYS DISCONNECT GROUNDED CABLE FIRST AND CONNECT IT LAST TO PREVENT DANGEROUS SPARKS. Perform all work in a well ventilated area. Never lean directly over a battery while boosting, testing or charging it. PROTECT YOUR EYES! Batteries contain corrosive sulfuric acid that can destroy clothing and burn the skin. Neutralize acid spills with a paste made of baking soda and water or large quantities of water. BE CAREFUL!


Prior to any testing, visually inspect the battery. Look for: • Cracked or broken case or cover • Loose cable connections • Leaking case-to-cover seal • Corrosion • Damaged or leaking terminals Neutralize any corrosion with a baking soda/water paste or battery cleaner spray. Scrape or brush off the residue and wash the area with clean water. Following your visual inspection, check the battery’s state of charge with a volt- meter. You must boost charge a weak battery before load testing. (See charging chart under “Charging Tips” section.) If fully charged, perform a load test. PROTECT YOUR EYES! Basic Rules for Battery Care & Maintenance ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN WORKING AROUND BATTERIES! .DRY CHARGE ACTIVATION. Important…WEAR PROPER EYE PROTECTION! ∂ Fill each cell to proper level with battery-grade sulfuric acid of 1.265 specific gravity. Battery and acid must be at a temperature of 60°F to 100°F (16°C to 38°C) at time of filling. ∑ Boost charge 12V batteries at 15 amps until specific gravity is 1.250 or higher and the electrolyte temperature is at least 60°F (15.5°C). BOTH CONDITIONS MUST BE MET. (Boost charge 6V and 12V heavy-duty batteries at 30 amps.) If violent gassing or spewing occurs, reduce charge rate. ∏ After charging, check electrolyte levels. If required, add additional electrolyte to bring all levels to the bottom of the vent wells. DO NOT OVERFILL. If the battery requires topoff while in service, add distilled water…DO NOT ADD ACID. .SAFE INSTALLATION. Follow safety precautions: WEAR PROPER EYE PROTECTION! ∂ Before removing old battery, mark the positive (+) and negative (–) cables for proper connection to the new battery. ∑ Always disconnect the ground cable first [usually negative (–)] to avoid any sparking around battery. Then disconnect the positive (+) cable and carefully remove the old battery. ∏ Clean and inspect. If necessary, repaint or replace the tray, hold-down and/or battery cables. Cable ends must be clean and corrosion free. Cable must not be frayed or bare. π Put corrosion protection washers on battery terminals. Install new battery in same position as old one and tighten hold-down. Be sure terminals will clear hood, fender, box lid, etc. to avoid vehicle damage and/or explosion. ∫ Connect positive (+) cable first. Connect ground cable last. If side terminal connection, use a special side terminal torque tool to tighten side terminal cables to avoid damage. Never overtighten or hammer cables onto terminals. ª Coat terminals and cable connection with a corrosion protection spray. .CHECK THE CHARGING SYSTEM. The voltage regulator should be checked every 10,000 miles or every time you change oil. It should be checked immediately if the battery is hot to the touch, if electrolyte is bubbling or spewing from the vents, if your hydrometer reading is below 1.225 or above 1.300, or if the open circuit voltage is below 12.4 volts or above 12.9 volts. Overcharging is evident by excessive water consumption and/or spewing or bubbling of electrolyte out of the vents. Undercharging is evident by slow cranking or lights dimming at idle.