The weather has been beautiful. Warm temperatures and not a cloud in the sky and you’re ready to take your motorcycle out for a drive, or take the family out in the RV after a long winter. You turn the key and it doesn’t start! You check the auxiliary batteries and the lights don’t turn on! We will go over some things you can do to keep your seasonal battery ready season after season.
Getting Seasonal Battery Ready for Use
- Check the general condition of the battery. Clean the case on the outside and any corrosion that might have collected on the terminals. Use a baking soda and water solution (or a corrosion spray) and a brush to accomplish this.
- For flooded batteries, make sure the fluid is covering the plates. No part of the plate should be above the fluid level. If the plates are exposed, add distilled water enough to cover the plates. Don’t fill too much or the fluid could overflow during charge or use.
- Check the voltage of the battery. Make sure the battery has been at rest for a few hours (off charge and out of use). A fully charged flooded battery should read 12.7-12.8 volts. A fully charged AGM battery should read 12.9-13.0 volts. If the battery is below these readings, put the battery on charge. The length of time to fully charge the battery depends on how low the voltage was before charging and the capacity of the charger. The more amps you put into the battery, the shorter amount of time you will need to have it on charge. Be careful with the smaller ATV and motorcycle batteries. Charge at no more than 2 amps for an extended period of time.
- After a sufficient amount of time on charge, let the battery “cool” for a couple of hours off charge. You should recheck the voltage and see if it holds the proper voltage. If not, put the battery back on charge and start the process again.
Maintaining Your Seasonal Battery
After your battery maintains the proper voltage, add distilled water (in flooded batteries) to a point between the top of the plate and the bottom of the filler cap, if needed. For motorcycle and ATV batteries, add distilled water to the “upper” line on the side of the battery.
To be sure your seasonal will perform to your satisfaction, you should take it to a Battery Specialist, like American Battery Corp, and we will perform a series of tests to give you an idea about the condition of your battery. We will:
- check the specific gravity of the acid. We can charge it for you if it is low.
- check the acid to determine the condition of the plates. If the acid has a color to it, it could mean you have plate breakdown.
- do a load/conductance test and compare the result with the original spec.
- give you an idea of the remaining life of the battery.
Keep an eye on this website as we will be publishing similar information about how to store your seasonal battery once the season is over. If you do a good job storing your battery properly and getting it ready for the upcoming season, you will get many years of good service.