Winter storage & maintenance of lead-acid batteries
How to store batteries, during long periods of absence?
For warm tropical climates such as in most parts of India or Africa
- The first step is to charge the battery fully preferably from an external source.
- Disconnect the battery terminals and keep the top of the battery and terminals clean. If there is any acid on top of the cover, leakage current will flow continuously and discharge the battery partially.
- Leave the vehicle in the shade to avoid heating up which increases self-discharge and capacity loss.
- The battery will undergo self-discharge. This depends on the type of chemistry used.
- If the battery is maintenance-free, self-discharge will be lower. The drop in specific gravity will be less. But a conventional battery will withstand storage for 3-4 months without any problem in starting the engine.
For colder climates
- The full charge becomes critically important. The reason is the possibility of freezing of electrolyte when the battery is in a discharged condition. The container walls will crack due to expansion from ice formation in the electrolyte.
- Other precautions as given above have to be followed.
- One benefit of storing in cold temperature is the slower rate of self-discharge.
- In any case, the specific gravity of acid will be higher due to the lower temperature. The higher specific gravity is due to the contraction in the volume of acid when cold
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