Top Ten Starting Battery Tips
1. Wear glasses when working with a battery, because it might
2. Keep your non-sealed battery properly filled with distilled water
and the top clean. The plates must be covered at all times.
3. To prevent permanent sulfation when not in use and especially in
hot weather, keep your battery continuously connected to a "smart" or
maintenance charger or recharge your battery at least one per week.
Cheap unregulated "trickle" chargers will kill your battery.
4. In hot climates, keep your battery as cool as possible and
non-sealed Low Maintenance or sealed AGM batteries are recommended.
5. When buying a replacement battery, be sure it matches your
charging system & Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) requirements, physically
fits, and is fresh.
6. Keep the battery cable mating surfaces and terminals free from
7. Avoid a deep discharge of your battery. This could kill it.
8. For longer battery life, do not add acid or additives and keep
your battery securely fastened.
9. Use chargers (or settings) that will recharge batteries over eight
to ten hours.
10. Thaw out a frozen battery before attempting to jump or recharge
it and always jump batteries positive-to-positive and
negative-to-negative. For negative grounded electrical systems, the
last negative connection should be to the frame or engine block away
from the battery.
For additional battery information, please go to
Good advice Bill, you might also want to mention one important fact. The
reason car batteries explode. They produce highly explosive hydrogen as a
byproduct of the charging process. Batteries often explode when the owner
is trying to jump start his or her car. The spark from the contact of the
last jumper lead can ignite the hydrogen causing an explosion spreading
battery acid everywhere. The way to avoid this is to connect the positive
and negative leads to the battery of the donor car, at the dead battery,
connect the positive lead to the battery and then find a place far removed
as possible on the frame of the car for the negative lead. This will still
spark but it should be far enough away not to ignite any hydrogen coming
from the battery. All of us, at one time or another have had to jump a
car. How many times have you ever seen some one hook up battery leads
correctly with the last negative lead attached to the frame?
Most batteries do not come fully charged. They have some charge, but it
may be very low. This does not hurt the battery to be stored in this state.
The problem comes up after they have been fully charged and then discharged.
They need to be recharged quickly or they can be damaged. Your WallyWorld
battery may have been just fine.
Can't hurt if you have the charger, I suppose.
A couple more tips:
- Don't believe that "maintenance free" nonsense.
Most batteries still have removable caps, they just make them look
less removable. They still drop the level a little over time, so
check and re-fill with distilled water when necessary.
- Buy Diehards. They usually last the rated life - at least until
you leave the lights on for a couple of day (ahem). When they die,
Sears will honor the guarantee without a whimper and if you've lost
your paperwork, will base the credit on the date stamp on the
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