If your battery has removable vent caps they can be twisted open or pried off with a flat-head screwdriver depending on the type of cap. Once removed, you will see individual fill tubes (in a 12-volt battery there are 6 of these tubes). Look down into each individual cell to make sure that the water is covering the lead plates and is at the proper level. Add distilled water to any cells that are low. Ideally, the water level should be no higher than just below, or to the bottom of, the fill tubes that go down into the battery.
Always use distilled water to fill the battery in order to prevent chemicals from contaminating the battery.
Step by Step Battery Maintenance
- Clean the exterior of the battery of corrosion and dirt.
- If the battery is not sealed, check the electrolyte level of your RV battery. Add distilled water as necessary.
- Check the cables for breaks, corrosion or stripped insulation.
- Check that the terminals are tightly fitted to the cables. Repair or replace as necessary.
- Disconnect cables from the battery, negative terminal first, and clean cables with a solution of baking soda and water.
- Scrub the terminals with a wire brush.
- Clean the battery terminal posts with the baking soda and water solution.
- Reconnect the battery cables.
- Apply a thin layer of battery post grease to the terminal posts. White lithium spray-on grease works well.
Tips & Warnings
- The most common causes of premature battery failure are overcharging, sustained undercharging, sulfation and poor maintenance.
- When charging, batteries give off explosive hydrogen gas. Avoid electrical arcing and no smoking or open flames.
- Electrolyte (battery acid) is corrosive to metal, skin, just about everything.
- If acid is spilled or splashed on skin flush with water to neutralize the acid, and consider medical attention.
- If acid is splashed into eyes, flush with baking soda and water to neutralize the acid, continue flushing until you get medical attention.
- Wear old clothing when working on lead/acid batteries. One unnoticed drop on clothing will discolor and even eat a hole.
- We highly recommend wearing safety glasses when working with lead/acid batteries.
- Read: RV Battery Use, Care & Maintenance and RV Battery Power Management at RVbasics.com
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