It’s undeniable: batteries fail over time. Even though that’s true, you can help extend it’s life. Some brands like RELiON even dedicate themselves to extending battery life.
Unfortunately, many batteries come to an early demise simply because they aren’t properly maintained. Before you toss out another battery before it’s time, read the top five reasons batteries fail prematurely, and learn how to prevent it from happening to you.
Batteries are very susceptible to extreme temperatures.
In hot temperatures, batteries will expel more energy than in a normal range of temperature. The heat causes a loss of electrolyte in the battery leading to an increase in discharge and eventual failure.
The cold can be just a troublesome. In the extreme cold, it can take more energy from the battery to power up the equipment attached to the battery. This strain on the battery can also lead to early failure.
Prevention: Store batteries in a temperature controlled environment. Leaving them in the extreme temperatures outside will only shorten their life cycle.
Throwing your battery on a charger and cranking the voltage to speed up the charging process is a great way to cause your battery to fail early. Battery manufacturers will specify the charging voltage range for the battery and that range should be adhered to.
Charging at a voltage too low will cause sulfation as well as cause the battery plates to lose the active material that makes it work.
Charging at too high a voltage accelerates corrosion and increase the rate of self-discharge. A high voltage creates heat which in turn causes the battery to discharge.
Prevention: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging. Ensure that your battery charger is set to the recommended voltage. If you can, it’s also a good idea to monitor the battery during the charging process to prevent overcharging.
Incorrect Storing Practices
When storing a battery, it’s important to know how. While the days of not being able to store batteries on the garage floor are long gone, a number of things still need to be considered when putting batteries away for a period of time.
- Make sure the battery is clean and fully charged before putting it on the shelf. Putting a battery away while it has dirt, dust or corrosion on it will simply cause the battery to discharge at a rate higher than its natural rate of self-discharge.
- Putting the battery away fully charged will also help prevent it from reaching a state of deep discharge, making it difficult to recharge later.Once the battery is fully charged, you shouldn’t have to recharge it but once a month or so.
- Consider the ambient temperature. Extreme high and low temperatures will dramatically decrease the life cycle of a battery in storage.
Prevention: Before putting a battery away make sure it’s clean, charged and in a climate controlled environment.
Using Batteries Interchangeably
Just because batteries look similar or are used for the same general purpose does not mean they can be used interchangeably.
The manufacturer of the equipment you are trying to power designed their product to use a specific type of battery. For instance, one type of car may need higher cranking amps while another may need to work with an idle-start-stop system.
Using the wrong battery will not only cause failure in the equipment you trying to power but will cause permanent damage to your battery.
Prevention: When changing a battery, only exchange like batteries for like.
Incorrectly installing a battery can lead to early failure and even can cause extreme damage such as fire or even an explosion. Connecting the positive cable to the negative post, damaged post seals, or loose connections are all examples of incorrect battery installation that can lead to battery damage and failure.
Prevention: Follow all manufacturer’s installation instructions and make sure that all battery connections are clean and in proper working order.
When your batteries are dead and need to be replaced, remember you can recycle your batteries.