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.
Battery testing should form part of a regular maintenance routine. Pre-emptive battery replacement can help eliminate many of the costs and problems associated with a flat battery.
Voltage and Specific Gravity
Voltage (V) and Specific Gravity (SG) are measurements used to determine a battery’s state of charge. Voltage is a quick and easy way of measuring charge levels and is measured by connecting either a multi-meter or voltmeter and obtaining a DC reading. Always connect the multi-meter parallel to the circuit being tested, observing polarity; otherwise the result will be negative.
Hydrometers measure the Specific Gravity of the electrolyte and indicate the density of electrolyte compared to water. As this requires access to acid reservoirs, it is only suitable for use with maintainable batteries.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to charge a battery and ensure you have a good quality Australian-approved battery charger. The battery type and its internal components will determine which type of charger is required.
Avoid quick charging as this only charges the surface of the battery plates and can increase the chance of overheating, leading to permanent battery damage.
Be aware of all safety precautions that should be observed during the charging operation before attempting to charge a battery.
1. Turn the charger off before attaching, rocking or removing the terminal clamps.
2. Keep open flames and sparks away from the battery.
3. Keep vent caps in place.
4. Charge in well ventilated area.
5. Follow the battery charger manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overheating.
Factors Affecting Battery Life
As batteries age they gradually lose their capacity as their function is performed. The constant charge and discharge eventually leads to failure. Components corrode over time, electrical shorts occur and vibration causes damage; all eventually causing failure. Overcharging and undercharging of a battery will also have a bearing on battery life.
• 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.