5 Strategies that Boost Lead-Acid Battery Life

When your lead-acid batteries last longer, you save time and money – and avoid headaches. Today's blog post shows you how to significantly extend battery life.

Whether you're powering a fleet of forklifts or an off-grid home, mining equipment, golf carts, or a cellphone tower...

... you need reliable batteries for smooth operations with high uptime and low operating costs.

Recyclable flooded lead-acid (FLA) batteries offer strong reliability and lifespan, easy maintenance, and often the highest ROI of any battery type.

Strategies that boost lead acid battery life include:

  • One battery selection step you should never skip
  • Proper charging basics
  • Tools that help spot battery problems early
  • Simple steps that speed up routine maintenance -- and improve battery reliability
  • And more

First, read the fine print

All the marketing promises in the world can’t compete with well-engineered products, a comprehensive warranty, and an established manufacturer that stands behind its products.

But how do you know what to look for – and whether a battery is worth the paper it’s printed on?

When you’re comparing batteries:

  • Select batteries based on their engineering, manufacturing, and quality standards… to avoid most warranty claims in the first place.
  • Confirm that your warranty covers your predicted use. (Red flag: Some warranties specify low maximum charging and discharging rates, unrealistic operating temperature limits, and impossible-to-meet usage profiles.)
  • Maximize your uptime and minimize the risk of warranty claims with proper battery selection and maintenance.
  • Beware of far-fetched claims like 10-year battery warranties from brand-new companies dependent on continued rounds of venture capital funding. (Compare this with Crown Battery: We’ve been in operation since 1926, are privately held, and have protected multiple generations of battery users.)
  • Be sure the warranty claims process is straightforward. Otherwise, you’ll waste time jumping through hoops to make a claim – and likely pay for repairs or replacement out of pocket.

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure this out on your own.

Crown Battery now offers a free, plain-English guide to battery warranties – including done-for-you questions you should always ask your manufacturer, what some salespeople will never tell you, and when the numbers 7 and 11 spell trouble.

Check out “Read the Fine Print: Battery Warranty Basics” here.

Get charging right

Proper charging is essential for battery health and longevity. Here are the basics:

  • Only charge in a properly vented location to ensure that gasses can safely vent out of the battery.
  • Use a compatible charger configured for your batteries. This includes proper voltage, current, and charging curve.
  • When handling batteries, always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) – and keep away from: flammable materials and anything that may produce a spark.
  • Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for initial charging, routine charging, and equalizing.
  • Avoid deep discharging batteries (using too much of their stored energy). For renewable energy, boating, RV, and similar applications, manufacturers typically recommend charging batteries when they reach roughly 50% capacity remaining. Other applications may allow for a greater depth of discharge (DoD).
  • Charge batteries at moderate temperatures. Extreme temperatures compromise charging efficiency, capacity, and battery life.

Spot battery problems early with smarter tools

The sooner you catch battery problems, the more likely they’re fixable.

No tool is perfect, but Battery Management Systems (BMS) can help a lot – especially if they’re paired with a digital dashboard.

BMS works like this: An array of sensors connects to a miniature computer. An onboard app shows the battery’s operating condition, from battery and air temperature to electrolyte levels, cell and unit voltage, current, and overall health.

Often, BMS includes remote monitoring, alarms, and early warnings. Expect a State of Charge (SOC) indicator to display how much energy remains in a battery.

Some systems even log this data over time so you or a maintenance team can see battery health and usage trends. This can help you plan maintenance, usage, repairs, and replacements.

In short, battery management systems help ensure equipment is working well and identify failures early – boosting battery life, safety, and performance.

Of course, you can spot common problems without BMS as well. You just need proper installation and a regular maintenance schedule.

Proper installation maximizes battery performance and longevity – and minimizes maintenance:

Tips:

  • First, install batteries following the manufacturer’s manual. It’ll help you understand specific requirements and recommendations, such as operating temperature ranges and charging recommendations. Install batteries in a cool, dry location with adequate ventilation.
  • Be sure batteries are easily accessible for future maintenance. Otherwise, it’ll be challenging to keep them running properly.
  • If needed, secure batteries firmly with brackets or clamps. These prevent movement and limit damage-causing vibrations.
  • Connect terminals correctly, starting with removing any corrosion or dirt. Connect the positive terminal, then the negative terminal. Ensure connections are tight.

Speed up routine maintenance -- and improve battery reliability:

Regular inspections help identify potential issues when they’re easier and cheaper to fix – and prolong battery life.

Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations, including:

  • Visually inspect batteries for visible signs of damage such as cracks, bulges, or leaks. If you see these, contact your battery manufacturer or distributor for advice on how to proceed.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment per manufacturer guidelines.
  • Ensure terminal connections are tight and corrosion-free. If you see corrosion, clean terminals with a wire brush using a baking soda and water mixture.
  • Test battery voltage: Use a multimeter or voltmeter to check battery voltage regularly. Your battery manual should list the recommended voltage.
  • Keep a maintenance log including inspection dates, voltage readings, and any actions taken. Whether on paper or digital, this log helps track battery performance over time and identify recurring issues.

Finally, note that lead-acid batteries need periodic top-offs with distilled water. This process can be done manually or using semi-automated filling systems.

What’s next?

Today, you've learned key strategies to extend lead acid battery life.

And one of the easiest ways to get more charging cycles from your batteries is to dial in maintenance.

Download your copy of our “Safety First” maintenance guide to extend battery life – and shorten maintenance time.

contact us

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