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Battery Info and Safety
A conventional flooded battery will experience water loss as a normal condition when the battery is being charged. The reason for the water loss is due to the charge current splitting the water into oxygen and hydrogen gases, the gases will escape out of the vents. All of the automotive cranking batteries that Interstate carries are considered to be maintenance-free under normal conditions. What that means is that the battery loses water at a very low rate. Some of the batteries have removable caps so they are maintenance-possible. Under normal conditions you do not need to check the water levels but if the battery has been over charged, you live in a hot climate or the battery is well used, it is a good idea to check the levels and add distilled water as necessary. Maximum fill level should be 1/8” below the bottom of the vent well tubes.
Conventional deep-cycle batteries do require regular watering to keep them working properly. Check water levels every 4-6 weeks. The minimum level should be ½” over the plates to a maximum of 1/8” below the bottom of the vent wells. Do not over fill because it can cause the electrolyte to get pushed out of the vents causing corrosion. Use distilled or deionized water.
Here are just a few reasons why batteries may use more water than expected:
- Over-charging or keeping a battery on a trickle charger for months at a time
- Age. New batteries and well used batteries tend to use more water
- Hot climates and batteries running hot due to the location of the battery
- Frequent battery use. We recommend charging the battery after each use but be aware that this will speed up water loss so more frequent service will be required
- Deep discharges will cause more water loss because of the longer charge times needed to bring the battery back up to a full state of charge.
To calculate the estimated amp hour rating for your automotive or deep-cycle battery, take the reserve capacity rating and multiply it by 0.6 to get an approximate Ah rating.
The Ah rating describes the ability of the battery to provide power over a 20-hour period. If the rating is 100 Ah at the 20 hour rate, then the battery can supply 5 amps for 20 hours. (5x20=100).
Keeping your battery clean is a great way to extend its life. Keep the terminals and the battery case clean. Visually inspect the terminals and cables for signs of corrosion at least once a year, especially in hot temperatures. Keep the top of the battery clean of heavy dirt and oil to reduce the risk of electrical transients between the positive and negative posts, which will result in a quicker discharge.
Battery cleaners are available. Use them to clean the terminals, cables and the battery case. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water. Ensure that the caps are left on the battery during cleaning so that nothing gets into the battery. Once the acid is neutralized, rinse the battery with water. After cleaning the terminals and cables with a wire brush, reinstall the battery cables and use a terminal protector spray to protect the terminals from future corrosion.
There may be little or no warning, however, if any of the following happens, your battery should be tested immediately:
- Motor has difficulty cranking over.
- Battery indicator light on the instrument panel stays lit for extended periods after starting
- Headlights dim when the engine is idling, or
- Clock starts to lose time after the vehicle sits unused for several days
All of the symptoms described above and also be attributed to a discharged battery or charging system problems.
Note: To maximize the vehicle’s battery/charging system service life and performance, Interstate Batteries recommends having your vehicle battery tested at least semiannually or every time the oil is changed.
Clean the battery case with baking soda and water and scrub the terminals with a wire brush. Check the water level and add water if needed. Test your battery with a hydrometer and/or a voltmeter to ensure the battery is fully charged. If needed, charge your battery. Check the water level and state of charge every 45-60 days. If needed, add distilled water and charge.
NOTES: Batteries stored in a discharged state are susceptible to freezing in cold weather and sulfation. A fully charged battery will not freeze unless the temperature reaches approximately 75° F (24° C) below zero. But if discharged, it can freeze at 15° F (-9° C)
Store your battery in a dry, cool, well-ventilated area and out of the reach of children and pets.
• Deep discharges: Discharging a battery deeply will wear it out faster than normal
• Misapplication: Such as using a cranking battery in a deep-cycle application can dramatically reduce life
• Using an undersized battery: This can cause the battery to be deeply discharged or fail to crank the engine in cold weather
• High temperatures: Under hood heat, hot climates or overcharging. Most batteries mounted under hood will have a protective thermal wrap to protect it from excessive temperature. If it’s missing it will shorten the life of the battery.
• Undercharging: This will cause the battery to be sulfated. Fully charge batteries after use and look for charging system problems like a loose alternator belt or faulty charger. Batteries in storage must be periodically charged to keep them healthy.
• Excessive vibration: Batteries will be damaged due to the holddown bar being loose or missing. Batteries not properly held down can also be dangerous if they flip over and short.
• Corrosion: Corrosion can cause an increase in the self-discharge leading to an undercharged battery. Corrosion can also damage the battery terminals and cables.
• Freezing: This is caused by having a discharged battery in cold weather. A fully charged battery will not freeze until the temperature is 75° below zero F (-60° C). Frozen batteries are not warrantable and are dangerous. Do not test, charge or jump start a frozen battery as it could explode.
Under normal conditions the alternator is more than adequate to keep the battery fully charged. If the battery became deeply discharged the alternator may not be able to fully charge the battery. The three main factors affecting charge is the amperage, voltage and charge time.
- The amperage or current output of an alternator is more than adequate to power the vehicle and charge the battery as long as the vehicle is driving down the road, at idle the current is lower and may be less than adequate.
- The charging voltage required to fully charge a deeply discharged battery is higher than the alternator can produce. Since the alternator keeps the voltage on the low side to protect the electronics in the vehicle it will dramatically increase the time needed to get the battery fully charged.
- Charge time. Under normal conditions driving for 15 to 20 minutes is an adequate charge. If the battery became deeply discharged it will take many hours of driving to charge it. If the vehicle had to be jump started the battery may not ever get up to a full state of charge unless a charger is used.
At Interstate, we take battery recycling seriously. We work to ensure proper handling and recycling of spent lead-acid batteries – that's why we commit to the Interstate Batteries Green Standard.
The Green Standard is our system of proprietary recycling and battery handling practices designed to meet and exceed federal and state transportation and environmental regulations.
When you choose Interstate Batteries, your batteries are handled from start to finish in a closed loop system by Green Standard-certified personnel. These individuals are trained to ensure that batteries are properly and safely transported, stored and packaged, so they can be sent to an approved recycling facility.
The process of recycling spent lead-acid batteries is two steps: separating the old battery’s components and then refining those components for new battery manufacturing. Batteries have three basic components: lead, electrolyte and plastic. The plastic follows the industry’s common recycling process, and is often reused for making new battery cases and covers. Since mining for lead is the least efficient way to make new batteries, every ounce of lead possible is recaptured for new battery manufacturing. The lead is melted down into ingots for easy transport and manufacturing. Some of the battery’s electrolyte, a mixture of sulfuric acid and water, is reusable for new batteries. The rest is neutralized and used for manufacturing textiles, laundry detergent and glass.
Our All Battery Centers carry our full line of Interstate SLI (Starting Lighting Ignition) batteries for your automotive, marine and golf car needs. You can use the Battery Finder on this site to find the right battery for your make and model.
For all other types of batteries and products, you can contact your closest All Battery Center location by email or phone to get expert advice regarding a product or specific battery for your device. They can ensure you not only get the right battery for your device, but also verify it is in stock and have it ready for pick up. You can also check our Part Lookup and Cross-Reference Database for more information before contacting or visiting your local store.