How to maintain the battery on a monthly basis?

A battery only requires a little monthly maintenance to perform perfectly. Keep the battery charged to 100%, recharging when the lights dim, the starter sounds weak, or when the battery hasn’t been used in more than two weeks. Other than that, follow this simple check list every month:

  • Check the electrolyte level
  • Keep the top free of grime
  • Check cables, clamps, and case for obvious damage or loose connections
  • Clean terminals and connectors as necessary
  • Check inside for excessive sediment, sulphation or mossing
  • Make sure the exhaust tube is free of kinks and clogs
  • Replace caps firmly

Finish up by testing the battery with either a hydrometer or voltmeter. To extend the service life of your battery, make monthly battery maintenance part of your routine.

How to store the battery?

If the vehicle is in storage or used infrequently, disconnect the battery cable to eliminate drain from electrical equipment. Charge the battery every two weeks.

For extended storage, remove the battery from the vehicle and charge to 100%. Charge the battery every month if stored at temperatures below 60° F. If stored in a warm area (above 60° F), charge every two weeks. Make sure batteries are stored out of reach of children.

How long should a battery last?

Many factors affect the life of a battery

CLIMATE: Colder climates tend to be hard on batteries from a starting standpoint, and because of the fact that many people put their vehicles away for the season, sometimes without charging properly. Warmer climates tend to discharge batteries quicker, and dry out batteries quicker. “Average” climates are the best for long battery life.

USAGE: A battery that is used every day has the most chance of lasting long. Batteries that sit a lot, or are neglected, find their lifespan shortened. Periodic charging is the best defence.

APPLICATION: How well is the battery charged in the vehicle? Some vehicles have better charging systems than others. Older vehicles have worse charging systems than new ones. Are there a lot of extra accessories on your vehicle? Sometimes a battery has a hard time keeping up with additional electrical drains, thus wearing it out quicker.


SULPHATION – Sulphation is a build up of crystals on the plates of a battery. This comes from not charging a battery properly. The more sulphation that builds up, the harder the battery is to charge, until finally it does not charge at all.

WATER LOSS – Water loss can occur from overcharging, or just simple evaporation over time. This only happens with conventional batteries. This does not happen with sealed AGM batteries. Once the plates of a battery are left open to the air, they can corrode very quickly. Corrosion can cause an internal short, and very quickly destroy the battery. Maintaining an accurate level of water is very important.

LACK OF CHARGING – As mentioned previously, lack of proper charging is the main reason that a battery will not last as long as it should. At the very minimum, a battery should be charged once a month if left unused.

COMPLETE DRAIN – Have you ever left your key on, and totally killed the battery? If recovered in a short time period, the battery should charge back to 100%. But every time this happens, it is similar to the battery having a “heart attack”, and shortening its overall life. Always turn your vehicle off with the keyed ignition switch, not the “kill switch”.

How should a battery be maintained?

Good battery maintenance should include the following:

  1. Always keep the acid levels between the lower and upper lines in front side of the container (conventional type batteries).
  2. Do not let the battery stand in a discharged condition.
  3. Charge battery once a month.
  4. When motorcycle is stored over 30 days, plug in a Yuasa automatic battery charger to maintain a proper storage charge.
  5. Keep battery top clean, dry and free of dirt.
  6. Clean battery terminals to prevent corrosion. Inspect vent tube, ensuring that it is not bent, twisted or clogged.
  7. Protect the battery from strong impacts or shocks.

What can cause a new battery to fail soon after installation?

If a new battery becomes unserviceable within a few days or weeks after its installation, it may be due one or more of the following reasons:

  1. A faulty charging system.
  2. A short circuit in the electrical system.
  3. Battery terminals are dirty or not properly connected.
  4. Excessive ignition off drains or high parasitic drains.
  5. Electrical capacity of the battery is insufficient to cater to the size of the vehicle.
  6. The battery has been inadequately activated, dissipating its strength from the outset.
  7. The battery, after being filled with acid, has been left too long without initial charging, and has been allowed to become sulphated.

Sometimes a battery does not hold a charge. Why?

When a battery is in an excessively discharged state, it does not readily accept a standard charge. The battery may appear to be accepting a charge, but charging occurs only at the surface of the plates.

With a conventional (flooded) lead-acid battery, slightly higher than normal charging amps are required to recover the battery from an excessively discharged state. This higher rate could be up to 10 amps, but no more. The battery may get warm during charging, but this is a good sign. It means the battery is charging. Make sure the battery’s water level is up to the top line before charging, and monitor throughout the charging process to make sure no additional water is lost. If so, replace water as needed.

If the battery still does not hold a charge after going through these procedures, best bet is to purchase a new battery. In order to ensure that the new battery does not suffer the same fate, make sure battery is charged properly and frequently enough to keep it from draining to an excessively discharged state. Charging once a month is recommended in most cases. More frequent charging may be required in today’s vehicles that tend to have a constant electrical drain. Typically, electrical drain can come from a radio, clock, alarm system, or other computer memory.

What is the purpose of the battery exhaust vent tube?

When a battery is charged and discharged, water contained in the electrolyte decomposes, generating hydrogen and oxygen gases. These gases are vented out of the battery through the exhaust vent tube to prevent potentially damaging, high pressure gas accumulation. Every exhaust tube comes with a small slit at each end. The reason for this slit is to release the gas, in the event that the bottom of the tube gets clogged by road debris. For this reason, it is most important to make sure the slit at the top near the battery is functioning properly. As a side note, always be sure to remove the small red sealed tube when installing the battery. Never put this red tube back on to the battery after it is activated. Gases built up in a battery that is not allowed to vent can cause serious damage, and possible injury, if the battery bursts.

What is the normal charge rate for a battery?

Naturally, batteries of different capacities require different charge rates. Generally, a battery should be charged at a slow charge rate of 1/10 its given 10 hr. capacity.