Telltale signs of a low or failing battery

Do your headlights look dim when your car is idling, then brighten when you rev the engine? This is a sign that your battery may need replacing.

Another sign of that your battery life may be ending is if the starter turns slowly and barely starts your car. This could be a battery problem or maybe a fault with the charging system in your car. We would recommend scheduling a service appointment to have your electrical system checked.

If your fan belt is loose, frayed, cracked or glazed, you will need to have it serviced or replaced as this affects how your car charges its battery.

Keep your batteries topped up

Maintaining a sufficient electrolyte level is essential to good battery maintenance. When filling up your battery, always use distilled or deionised water and never overfill the cells. Maintenance free batteries will usually not require topping up. Low maintenance batteries require the addition of water only once or twice per year depending on conditions.

Check electrical connections

Make sure battery terminals and cable connections are clean and tight. You can put a thin layer of petroleum jelly can help reduce corrosion.

Avoid overcharging

Overcharging produces rapid deterioration and corrosion, which will shorten your battery life. A battery needing to be topped up continually with water is a sure sign that the car’s electrical system needs a service. Overcharging may also affect a maintenance free battery.

Keep batteries clean & dry

Dirt on a battery’s surface leads to discharge and corrosion. To remove dirt or moisture, wash your battery with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water. Rinse afterwards with clean water. Always ensure vent plugs are in place at all times.

Precautions

To avoid shorting, metallic objects should not be placed on top of the battery.

Batteries contain hydrogen gas and air in a volatile mixture, which is easily ignited.

Keep flames or sparks away from the battery at all times.

Batteries contain sulphuric acid. Never add acid to cells and keep acid away from eyes, skin, clothing or any other material that may become damaged. If contamination occurs, use large amounts of water to neutralise and flush acid away.

Batteries are also heavy – ensure correct lifting procedures are used when moving batteries.

Sulphation

An undercharged battery or under-utilised battery will slowly go flat over time and reduce its life. This is common in boats (especially over winter) or vehicles left unused for long periods of time. Always keep your battery fully charged to ensure maximum life.