How to Care for Your Battery to Maintain your Warranty
This information has been published on the website to help our customers get the maximum service life and performance from their batteries. This information will help our customers get the most from their battery and keep it in optimum health. By following the guide below, the only way your battery will fail is from old age, a manufacturing fault or from physical damage.
1. Never leave your battery in a discharged state
When a battery has been fully charged it can quite happily be stored away for 2-3 months. However when a battery is flat, storing it for this period would almost certainly damage it beyond repair.
The reason behind this is a chemical process called sulphation. When a battery is charged this chemical process cannot take place. However, when the battery's voltage falls below 12.4V this process begins. The process causes sulphur crystals to form on the lead plates inside the battery, which in turn increases the battery's electrical resistance. The longer this process is allowed to continue the worse the effect. Eventually the battery will become so electrically resistant, that you will be unable to charge the battery, let alone draw power from it.
If this process is caught early you may be able to salvage the battery using a battery charger with a pulse charge function. This will partially break down the sulphur crystals but the battery will never reach its full capacity again.
Remember that if your battery fails due to sulphation it will not be covered under warranty. This kind of failure is classed as damage caused by the user through neglect.
2. Never overcharge your battery
Although you must always keep your battery as charged as possible when not in use, you must never overcharge it. Overcharging will cause the battery to heat up and its electrolyte will start to evaporate. In turn this will cause the battery's plates to break down, severely reducing the battery's ability to yield power.
Overcharging can be caused by a faulty regulator on a vehicle's charging system or by a manual charger being left on continuously at a high charging rate.
Fortunately, most chargers these days are now automatic and will turn themselves off once the battery has reached the end of a charging cycle.
This type of damage is also not covered under warranty, as the battery is clearly not at fault.
3. Avoid deep discharging when possible
Everybody knows that all batteries will deteriorate over time, and will eventually have to be replaced. Every time you use your battery then recharge it, its performance is ever so slightly decreased. This cannot be avoided. However, the severity of this decrement can be limited.
The way to achieve this is to not discharge your battery too deeply. Deep discharging causes the performance decrement to be more severe. Therefore once you have used the battery for the day, it is best to recharge rather than use it until it becomes flat.
Obviously, in the real world this is not always possible as the battery may be fully drained with one days use. But when you can, recharge the battery before it's fully discharged.
Before you plan to use your battery, you should always follow the steps below to make sure it's ready for use.
1. Give your battery a top-up charge
As we know from above, you should have stored your battery in a charged state to avoid sulphation. However, even though the battery will be charged you should always perform a top up charge before touring. This will ensure the battery is in peak condition.
2. Check the electrolyte levels in your battery
Most batteries these days are the sealed, maintenance-free type, but there are still a few open vent batteries on the market. If you have one of these you should always check the battery levels before touring. The level of the electrolyte should be just above the battery plates, ensuring the whole plate is submerged. Any part of the plate, which is not submerged, is prone to break down. This in turn will decrease the performance of the battery.
If you need to top up the battery levels, make sure you only use de-ionised water. Using tap water will cause mineral build up on the plates and reduce the performance of the battery.
For those of you with sealed, maintenance-free batteries this is not a concern, as they are designed to retain their electrolyte under normal conditions. The only way these batteries will have low electrolyte levels is if the battery is overcharged or a particular cell becomes faulty, causing over heating.