Batteries & Electrical

Basics to Maintaining a 12 Volt Automotive Battery

All the advice you need to keep your battery running in tip-top shape


Do car batteries need maintenance?

Car batteries are expensive and relied upon most days of the week. So it makes sense to look after them, so they don’t put you in a spot of bother. In this article, we’ll cover battery maintenance to get the most out of a car battery.

Before you touch the battery, ensure you’re wearing protective clothing, gloves, and safety glasses or goggles. Electricity and battery chemistry can be dangerous.

Battery & battery box

How do you maintain batteries?

The first check is simple. Get a firm grip on the battery and ensure it doesn’t move around in its tray. The vibration will quickly destroy a battery, so tighten the battery clamp - or replace it if necessary. Do the same for the battery terminals. Grab them one at a time and check for a firm grip on the posts. Ensure the cable is tight in the terminal too - and look for any corrosion or build up around this area.

What does Supercheap Auto Stock?

  • Battery Range - We stock a huge range of automotive batteries to suit most bikes, cars and large 4x4s that are charged and ready to go.
  • Battery Accessories - Need new battery leads, terminals or a base plate and hold downs? We have those too!
Battery box at camp
Connecting to a battery box

What is the powder on my battery?

A powdery blue, white or green build-up is a form of sulphation. This can be cleaned off with a mixture of bicarbonate soda; and water. If there’s tougher gunk around the terminals; disconnect each one. Then use a battery terminal and post cleaner to scrub them up.

Installing a battery box

Does a battery need water?

If your battery is a maintence wet cell design, an electrolyte check is next on your list. The caps may either be removed by hand; or require a screwdriver. Some are secured underneath a pop up lid. Remove each of these and look for the electrolyte level. Some batteries will have a marker to gauge the correct level. But if this is not present; the liquid should completely cover the cells. Top each cell up using distilled water.

Once everything is certified tip top shape, keeping the battery fully charged will ensure the best possible life span. After periods of heavy drain, connecting a smart charger will return the battery to 100%. These can also be left on the battery to supply a maintenance charge; preventing the gradual discharge of your battery over time.

Stackable 12v power packs

What else can I do to keep my battery in good shape?

If the battery often sits unused, an inexpensive maintenance charger or solar trickle charger is a battery lifesaver. These lack the bulk charging ability of a smart charger, but deliver just enough juice to prevent self-discharge.

All you need for optimal battery health can be found at Supercheap Auto. Check out the range in store, or online – and watch our Battery Fundamentals series for everything 12 volt electrical.