Preventive Maintenance • When the top of a battery is “dirty or looks damp. • Give a battery a general cleaning, use hot water (130° F to 170° F) with a neutralizer / detergent solution.
Charging • Clean Battery Terminals. • Attach clamps to the battery in proper polarity. • Keep open flames and sparks away from battery. • Ventilate the battery well while charging.
Charging • The charge a battery receives is equal to the charge rate in amperes multiplied by the time in hours. • Measure the specific gravity of a cell once per hour during charging to determine full charge.
Overcharging • Results in warped or broken plates, damaged separators, severe shedding of the active materials pasted to the plates, and excessive loss of water, which cause plates to dry out.
Jump Starting • Be sure to turn off accessories. • Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the good battery while the engine is running. • Connect the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. • Then connect one end of the black cable to the negative terminal on the good battery. • Connect the other end of the negative cable to a known good ground in the vehicle with the dead battery. • After starting the vehicle with the discharged battery, allow the engine to return to idle speed. • Remove the negative jumper cable starting with the end that is connected to the vehicle ground • Remove the positive cable.
JUMP-STARTING A WEAK or DEAD AUTOMOBILE BATTERY CORRECTLY • When a motor vehicle battery fails, a jump start often is the best short term way to get the motor going. Because it is important that jump starting be done properly, the National Safety Council recommends the following procedure:
PART I • Position another vehicle with a healthy battery and your car so they do not touch each other. Be sure both batteries are of the same voltage. • Read the owners' manuals for BOTH vehicles for any special directions. • Turn off the ignitions of both vehicles and set the parking brakes. Place automatic transmissions in "Park" and standard transmissions in neutral. • Wear safety glasses and gloves while using cables.
PART II • Unless given different directions in the owner's manual, use the booster cables in this order: • Clamp/connect one end of the positive (+) booster cable to the positive (+) post of the dead battery. • Connect the other end of the same cable to the same marked post (+) of the booster battery. • Connect the second, negative (-) booster cable to the other post of the booster battery. • Make the final negative (-) booster cable connection on the engine block of the stalled vehicle away from the battery.
PART III • Start the booster vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. Then, start the disabled vehicle. • Remove the cables in the reverse order of connection, being very careful not to let the booster cable clamps touch each other or come in contact with car parts. Also, avoid the fans of the engines. Electric fans may run without the engine being on.
TRACTOR SAFETY • Farm tractors should be equipped with bypass starter covers.Many farm tractors do not have bypass starter covers for preventing jump starting. Tractor operators may attempt to jump start a farm tractor if the battery is dead. If the tractor is in gear, it could lurch forward and run over operators and innocent bystanders. A bypass starter cover would save lives.
TRACTOR SAFETY FACT • If all farm tractors were equipped with bypass starter covers: • It would save approximately 350 lives annually on U.S. farms.
Cell Phone Dangers: An Explosive Situation? • You’re at a gas station filling up. So is the driver at the next pump. Suddenly you hear his cell phone ring. As gasoline fumes waft upward from the nozzle inserted in his vehicle, he reaches to answer the call. Do you:
WHAT WOULD YOU DO? a) Ignore it. b) Be concerned. c) Dive for cover
CELL PHONE BATTERY • The Web page of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees the use of thousands of official vehicles, tells their operators “DO NOT (their capitalization) use your cellular phones when at a gas station. Cellular use anywhere fuel is stored is hazardous.”
URBAN LEGEND?? • The impetus behind all this is a spate of reports (some, but not all, confirmed) that sparks generated by the circuitry in cell phone switches and batteries can, in fact, touch off a fuel explosion. “In one incident, a driver suffered burns and his car was severely damaged when … talking on his mobile phone near a gas pump. Electronic devices in gas stations are protected with explosive containment devices,” GSA declares. “Cell phones are not.”
FACT • Cell phones are not designed for use in an ignitable fumes atmosphere. In fact, some owner’s manuals clearly state this.
REMOTE BUT POSSIBLE • It is possible for a spark powerful enough to create an explosion to be generated. One way this can happen, says the Safety Center, is if the phone is dropped, the battery pops out, and something bridges its terminals, creating a short. Others have warned of defective circuitry inside the phone doing the same. • The chances of all this coming together at the precise same moment is “distinctly remote.” But even so, caution while fueling is advisable. Turn off your engine, don’t re-enter your vehicle (a static spark might be created), don’t use your phone, and above all, DON’T SMOKE!
BATTERY CHARGING • One advantage of a manual transmission is the ability to start a vehicle with a depleted battery. If the charging system (alternator and voltage regulator) are in proper working condition, simply push-start the car and kick it over, then drive long enough to let the charging system do its work. A good half-hour drive should give it a solid charge.
Here are a few tips to quickly restore a battery using this method. 1.Drive at a constant speed (highway driving) versus stop-and go (city driving). This will give the alternator an opportunity to charge more evenly. 2. Turn off all accessories (radio, air conditioner, etc.). 3. If possible, drive during the day. Even headlights use power. Having them off increases the amount of electricity going to the battery.
******* • Remember, this does not replace charging the battery. A car's alternator is not designed to fully restore a depleted battery, but rather to maintain a healthy one. As soon as possible, put your battery on a battery charger such as the Battery Tender, and give it a full charge for a day or two.
Automatic Transmission • If you have an automatic transmission, you can jump-start the car instead. If the charging system is in proper working condition, it will recharge quickly. Follow the same steps as above to ensure that the car won't need another jump, then, as soon as possible, have the battery fully charged by a mechanic or you can do it yourself if you own a high-quality battery charger .
BATTERY TIP • Another tip: If parking a car for long periods of time (weeks or months), it's best to disconnect the battery to prevent discharging. Use a crescent or open-ended wrench to loosen the strap from the negative terminal on the battery, then remove the connector. Make sure the connector is tucked away from the terminal, where it cannot come into contact with the post.
Battery Maintenance Check the water level every couple of months. It should be just touching the bottom of the refill hole. • Refill the battery, when needed, with distilled water. Don't use tap water, it produces corrosion on the terminals. • Don't overfill the cells. Just to the bottom of the refill hole is perfect.
The following tips apply to all batteries, including maintenance-free. To ensure good connectivity, clean the terminals periodically with a wire brush. • When removing a connector from a terminal, twist it from side to side and pull gently upward. Refrain from excessive tugging or prying. • When reconnecting a connector to a terminal, seat it down firmly on the post. A few gentle whacks from a rubber mallet will do it. Don't over tighten and strip the nut. • After securing the connector, coat the whole post with high-temperature grease. This will reduce corrosion and rust. • If you keep having electrical problems (battery dies, car won't start, power is intermittent or weak), it's not necessarily the battery. It could be in the charging system, normally either a bad alternator or voltage regulator. A mechanic can test the system to isolate the problem.