The temperatures are climbing, the days are getting longer, and thoughts are turning to all the summer fun to be had in various vehicles. However, don’t push your boat away from the dock and pull your RV out of storage without checking the battery. Even in storage, the batteries powering our various recreational vehicles should have been properly maintained. Neglected batteries may not power up our summer toys and may put a damper on your summer plans. So no matter which vehicle you’re jumping into once the warm weather hits, use these tips to make sure long winter storage didn’t zap your deep cycle batteries of their energy.
Before even taking your battery out, you should be sure it was properly stored.
Stored deep cycle and AGM batteries should:
- Have had the negative cable disconnected or been completely removed from the equipment. Store the battery either in a boathouse or at home.
- Be stored at a full charge. If they are left for a long period of time in a discharged state, deposits of lead sulfate will collect on the plates, damaging the battery.
- Be stored in moderate temperatures; not extremely hot or cold (cool, but not below freezing). While this isn’t as important for AGM batteries, extreme temps can cause the liquid inside the battery to either freeze or evaporate.
- Be charged about once a month while in storage. Newer batteries can be left longer.
- Be stored with a full charge
- Be topped off with distilled water before storing and after pulling from storage
When batteries are pulled from storage, they should be inspected. Check the:
- Battery covers
- Vent caps
- Terminals / Ports
Battery covers, terminals, and ports should all be kept clean, dry and free of corrosion. If corrosion is occurring on the ports it will present as greenish hue and can be cleaned with a wire brush and a biodegradable cleaner-neutralizer solution.
When you are inspecting the batteries, make sure you to check the cable and connections at the port. They should be tightly connected and completely intact with no frayed or exposed wires.
When you remove the battery from storage, it will need to be charged again. After charging, you will most likely need to add more water (this does not apply to AGM batteries). You need to be careful of both over watering and under watering the battery. The water level should be just above the plates but no higher than the battery cover vent well. When watering, use only distilled water and only water once the battery has been completely charged.
After a complete inspection and charge, your deep cycle and AGM batteries will be able to power your favorite summer toys!