Aside from routinely adding water and charging your deep-cycle batteries, battery manufacturers recommend giving your batteries a tune-up. Simply put, this consists of a few methods to check the condition of the deep-cycle batteries and the associated components so that everything can continue to run perfectly.
Battery Terminals and Wires
1) Safety first. Always perform battery maintenance in a well ventilated area and wear eye protection and gloves.
2) Open the battery compartment of your deep-cycle battery-powered vehicle and check the wires and terminals connected to the battery. If corroded, clean them with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize acid corrosion (easily done with a spray bottle). Remove the cables from the battery terminals and, using a wire brush with a plastic or wooden handle to prevent shorting, clean the terminals and wire connections down to the bright metal. Replace any wires that are frayed or broken.
3) Reconnect the cables to the battery terminals. The recommended terminal torque is 100-inch pounds or 15-18 pounds on the end of a six-inch wrench. Avoid using larger wrenches or power tools. Lead terminals can easily be damaged by over-tightening. The goal is to fully compress the split-ring lock washer but no more. Use insulated tools to prevent arching.
4) Once the terminals and cables are clean and connections are secure, use silicone spray or a corrosion inhibitor to prevent additional corrosion from forming.
Condition of the Batteries
1) Remove the vent caps on each of the deep-cycle batteries and check the electrolyte level in each cell. If some are low, refill with distilled water so that the plates are covered with at least ¼ inch of electrolyte before charging. After charging top up to within a ¼ inch of split-ring level indicator.
2) Use a hydrometer to determine the state of charge for each battery. During winter storage, all of the batteries should have been stored in a fully charged state. Check the battery manufacturer’s recommendation for the fully charged specific gravity for each type of battery.
3) If the batteries are fully charged, the vehicle is ready to start service. If the batteries are not fully charged, connect the charger and let it run through a full charge cycle. After charging recheck the electrolyte level and use a hydrometer to verify the batteries are at full charge.
4) After the first 30-days of use, perform an equalization charge to balance the cells and to mix the electrolyte to prevent stratification.
Once you’ve completed these steps, your deep-cycle batteries in your golf cart, aerial work platform, forklift or even your RV and boat, should be ready to go back to work. With regular maintenance, they will continue to run at optimum performance and last longer with lower annual operating costs. For more information on deep-cycle batteries for your particular application and maintenance tips, visit www.usbattery.com.