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Battery check, maintenance and charging (Every 10 000 miles or 12 months)
Routine maintenance and servicing / Battery check, maintenance and charging (Every 10 000 miles or 12 months)


Warning: Certain precautions must be followed when checking and servicing the battery.

Hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable, is always present in the battery cells, so keep lighted tobacco and all other open flames and sparks away from the battery. The electrolyte inside the battery is actually dilute sulphuric acid, which will cause injury if splashed on your skin or in your eyes. It will also ruin clothes and painted surfaces. When disconnecting the battery, always detach the negative (earth) lead first and connect it last!

Note: Before disconnecting the battery, refer to Section 1 of Chapter 5.

General
1 A routine preventive maintenance programme for the battery in your vehicle is the only way to ensure quick and reliable starts. Before performing any battery maintenance, make sure that you have the proper equipment necessary to work safely around the battery (see illustration).

9.1 Tools and materials required for battery maintenance
9.1 Tools and materials required for battery maintenance

1 Face shield/safety goggles - When removing corrosion with a brush, the acidic particles can easily fly up into your eyes 2 Baking soda - A solution of baking soda and water can be used to neutralise corrosion
3 Petroleum jelly - A layer of this on the battery terminals will help prevent corrosion
4 Battery terminal/lead cleaner - This wire brush cleaning tool will remove all traces of corrosion from the battery terminals and lead clamps 5 Treated felt washers - Placing one of  hese on each terminal, directly under the lead clamps, will help prevent corrosion 6 Puller - Sometimes the lead clamps are very difficult to pull off the terminals, even after the nut has been completely slackened. This tool pulls the clamp straight up and off the terminal without damage 7 Battery terminal/lead cleaner - Here is another cleaning tool which is a slightly different version of number 4 above, but does the same thing 8 Rubber gloves - Another safety item to consider when servicing the battery; remember, thats acid inside the battery!

2 There are also several precautions that should be taken whenever battery maintenance is performed. Before servicing the battery, always turn the engine and all accessories off, and disconnect the lead from the negative terminal of the battery - see Chapter 5, Section 1.

3 The battery produces hydrogen gas, which is both flammable and explosive. Never create a spark, smoke, or light a match around the battery. Always charge the battery in a wellventilated area.

4 Electrolyte contains poisonous and corrosive sulphuric acid. Do not allow it to get in your eyes, on your skin, or on your clothes.

Never ingest it. Wear protective safety glasses when working near the battery. Keep children away from the battery.

5 Note the external condition of the battery. If the positive terminal and lead clamp on your vehicles battery is equipped with a plastic cover or rubber protector, make sure that its not torn or damaged. It should completely cover the terminal. Look for any corroded or loose connections, cracks in the case or cover, or loose hold-down clamps. Also check the entire length of each lead for cracks and frayed conductors.

6 If corrosion, which looks like white, fluffy deposits (see illustration)

9.6A Battery terminal corrosion usually appears as light, fluffy powder
9.6A Battery terminal corrosion usually appears as light, fluffy powder

is evident,
particularly around the terminals, the battery should be removed for cleaning. Slacken the lead clamp nuts with a spanner, being careful to remove the negative (earth) lead first, and slide them off the terminals (see illustration).

9.6B Removing a lead from the battery terminal - always remove the earth lead
9.6B Removing a lead from the battery terminal - always remove the earth lead first, and connect it last!

Then unscrew the hold-down clamp nuts, remove the clamp, and lift the battery from the engine compartment.

7 Clean the lead clamps thoroughly, using a soft wire brush or a terminal cleaner, with a solution of warm water and baking soda.

Wash the terminals and the top of the battery case with the same solution, but make sure that the solution doesnt get into the battery.

When cleaning the leads, terminals and battery top, wear safety goggles and rubber gloves, to prevent any solution from coming in contact with your eyes or hands. Wear old clothes too - even when diluted, sulphuric acid splashed onto clothes will burn holes in them. If the terminals have been extensively corroded, clean them up with a terminal cleaner (see illustrations). Thoroughly wash all cleaned areas with plain water.

9.7A When cleaning the lead clamps, all corrosion must be removed - the
9.7A When cleaning the lead clamps, all corrosion must be removed - the inside of the clamp is tapered to match the terminal, so dont remove too much material

9.7B Regardless of the method used to clean the terminals, a clean, shiny
9.7B Regardless of the method used to clean the terminals, a clean, shiny surface should result

8 Make sure that the battery tray is in good condition and the hold-down clamp nuts are tight (see illustration). If the battery is removed from the tray, make sure no parts remain in the bottom of the tray when the battery is refitted. When refitting the hold-down clamp nuts, do not overtighten them.

9.8 Make sure the battery hold-down nuts (arrowed) are tight
9.8 Make sure the battery hold-down nuts (arrowed) are tight

9 Information on removing and installing the battery can be found in Chapter 5. Information on jump starting can be found at the front of this manual. For more detailed battery checking procedures, refer to the Haynes Automobile Electrical and Electronic Systems Manual.

Cleaning
10 Corrosion on the hold-down components, battery case and surrounding areas can be removed with a solution of water and baking soda. Thoroughly rinse all cleaned areas with plain water.

11 Any metal parts of the vehicle damaged by corrosion should be covered with a zinc-based primer, then painted.

Charging
Warning: When batteries are being charged, hydrogen gas, which is very explosive and flammable, is produced. Do not smoke, or allow open flames, near a charging or a recently-charged battery.

Wear eye protection when near the battery during charging. Also, make sure the charger is unplugged before connecting or disconnecting the battery from the charger.

12 Slow-rate charging is the best way to restore a battery thats discharged to the point where it will not start the engine. Its also a good way to maintain the battery charge in a vehicle thats only driven a few miles between starts. Maintaining the battery charge is particularly important in winter, when the battery must work harder to start the engine, and electrical accessories that drain the battery are in greater use.

13 Its best to use a one- or two-amp battery charger (sometimes called a trickle charger).

They are the safest, and put the least strain on the battery. They are also the least expensive.

For a faster charge, you can use a higher- amperage charger, but dont use one rated more than 1/10th the amp/hour rating of the battery (ie no more than 5 amps, typically).

Rapid boost charges that claim to restore the power of the battery in one to two hours are hardest on the battery, and can damage batteries not in good condition. This type of charging should only be used in emergency situations.

14 The average time necessary to charge a battery should be listed in the instructions that come with the charger. As a general rule, a trickle charger will charge a battery in 12 to 16 hours.


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