Top 7 Battery Service Myths and Misnomers

7-Myths-620x385We get many calls and emails involving the use of our products and competitive models. Most of those inquiries are straightforward and easily answered, but a portion fall within the related categories of application misunderstanding or product misuse. So, without further ado, the Top 7 Battery Service Myths and Misnomers:

1. It Is Not Worth the Hassle to Wear Eye Protection

This one is self-explanatory. When working on or around batteries, you should take the proper precautions to ensure your safety. This is first and foremost. And the number one area you should be focused on when it comes to safety is your eyes – always wear eye protection. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Shorting Clamps Together is Good Way to Determine if a Charger is Working

You should never short the clamps of a battery charger as a way of making sure it is working. This is common practice. Is my charger providing output? Let’s touch the clamps together to find out. Not a good practice. First, for newer smart chargers such as our PRO-LOGIX chargers, there is no output to the clamps unless a proper battery connection has been made, negating the purpose of this practice. But even with older chargers, doing this is a good way to damage the charger and possibly injure yourself. It is highly discouraged.

3. You Should Wait to Charge Your Jump Starter

Many people we speak to are under the belief that they should let their jump starter battery discharge significantly before putting it on the charger for a recharge. This is definitely a myth. Your jump starter wants to be charged often and prefers to be kept fully charged whenever possible. Like your car battery, as the jump starter sits inactive for the long periods of time, it self-discharges and, if left in that state, is prone to sulfation build-up. Regular charging prevents this from occurring.

4. You Should Remove the Cell Caps When Charging a Flooded Battery

We occasionally speak to operators who make a practice of removing the cell caps from a flooded acid battery prior to charging it. This is bad mojo. The cell caps are a safety mechanism built into the battery that function as pressure relief valves. Unless you are checking the electrolyte or adding water to a battery, you should not be removing the caps. This is particularly true when charging.

5. You Can/Should Recharge Your Jump Starter Directly From a Running Vehicle

We regularly speak to users who have figured out that if they leave their jump starter connected to the vehicle after a successful jump start, they can quickly gain back most or all of the energy used during the jump starting process. This sounds good and will happen to a certain extent on every jump start, even if you remove the jump starter quickly after the successful boost. The problem is that recharging through the clamps is unregulated and doing so drastically increases the risk of overcharging, which is very detrimental to battery health. It is always best to recharge the unit through its intended charger whenever possible.

6. You Can Use Any Battery Charger to Charge AGM Batteries

Newer battery types, such as AGM, Gel Cell and Spiral Wound batteries, should not be charged with old-school X-Curve (Volts Go Up, Amps Go Down) style battery chargers. Doing so runs the risk of elevating battery voltage beyond an acceptable level, which can result in damage to the battery’s lead plate structure and electrolyte. It is always best to invest in a battery charger optimized to charger the battery types you expect to encounter, such as PRO-LOGIX from SOLAR.

7. I Can Test Any Battery Using My Load Tester

Invasive load testers, such as fixed load coil wire and variable load carbon pile testers, are great tools for assessing battery health and more. But, it is important to remember that whenever you use an invasive load tester, the tested battery should have a State of Charge of 85% or more. If the battery’s State of Charge is lower, first charge the battery prior to testing. Testing a discharged battery using invasive load testing technology can result in unreliable results.

These are the most common myths we encounter here at Clore. We hope they are helpful to you. Did we miss one that you commonly see? We’d love to hear from you – please let know us in the comments below.

11 Comments

  1. joe vella says:

    i have a 12vdc port that is energized even when ignition key is off. can i leave my jump and carry connected to this port all the time without worrying About draining car battery? will this damage the jump pack?

  2. Hank Stanke says:

    Thank you for the info. Some is known and some is new.
    Constant refresher articles are appreciated because we all manage to forget the simple things. Many years in the repair field and still learning. It never ends. Many times I read articles and battery info that I knew from the past, but managed to get lost in there too. We’re never too knowledgeable to benefit from a little refresher from time to time.

  3. BERGE says:

    Good advise. Suggest telling your audience that sparks around batteries could be dangerous, especially if they are over charging.

  4. jimohara says:

    BERGE, Very true and definitely one to remember. Thanks for adding it to the discussion.

    Clore Automotive

  5. jimohara says:

    Hank,

    Thanks for your comment. Glad you found the article useful.

    Clore Automotive

  6. jimohara says:

    Joe,

    We would suggest not doing that. The 12VDC charging method is unregulated and, as such, presents the risk of overcharging the unit. When charging using this method, you should monitor your state of charge and remove the unit from the charger when it reaches full charge.

    Thanks,

    Clore Automotive

  7. jimmy Blankenship says:

    You all give good info all the time and produce good products

  8. jimohara says:

    Jimmy,

    We are glad that you enjoy the information we send out and that our products are serving you well. Thanks for the feedback.

    Clore Automotive

  9. jimohara says:

    Here is a list of additional myths submitted by industry expert, and Clore Story contributor, Bill Darden:

    1. Batteries will discharge faster when placed on a concrete floor.
    2. Short trips (<10 miles) will fully recharge a dead battery.
    3. Batteries will not explode.
    4. Batteries will not lose capacity while in storage.
    5. "Maintenance Free" batteries do not require preventive maintenance.
    6. Disconnecting a battery from a running engine will not damage the electrical system.
    7. Aspirin or other additives will substantially prolong wet battery life.
    8. Turning on the headlights before starting the engine will warm up the battery.
    9. Batteries last longer in hot climates.
    10. Cigarette lighter "charging cable" will quickly recharge a dead battery.
    11. Larger Amp Hour capacity batteries will damage the electrical system.
    12. Lead-acid batteries have "memories".
    13. A bad battery will not harm the charging system or starter.
    14. Lead-acid batteries will not change polarity.
    15. Use tap water to refill wet batteries.

    This list is a great addition to our original 7. Several of them (1,5, 12 and 14 were on our list of considerations as well, though didn't make the cut). There is plenty of misinformation out there related to vehicle batteries. We like to say "Keep it simple", take care of your battery and you will get a reasonable life out of it.

    Clore Automotive

  10. Very good article! I think everybody who ever works with batteries should read this. It happens too often that people damage their batteries (or chargers). Or sometimes even hurt themselves, while it is easy to take safety measures.

  11. jimohara says:

    Thanks Steven. Glad you liked the article. As a supplier of many different battery types and sizes, I am sure you have run into many of these misnomers and more. As you state, taking the extra step for safety does not have a high cost in time or materials, but delivers big benefits.

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