The battery acts as the nerve centre of a car's entire electrical system, storing energy produced by the alternator or generator and supplying it to those systems requiring smooth, uninterrupted, and continuous current (lights, fuel injection system, main computer). There are several types of batteries used in modern automobiles, each varying in performance and price.
Batteries come in three varieties - conventional batteries (using a
conventional lead-sulfuric acid matrix), low-maintenance batteries
(using low-antimony content lead and sulfuric acid), and
maintenance-free batteries (using lead-calcium matrices and an
electrolytes of low vapor pressure).
Conventional batteries may be easily recognized by the presence of vent
caps through which hydrogen and water vapor are expelled during the
charging process. These vent caps must be removed periodically to add
distilled water to the electrolyte.
Low-maintenance and maintenance-free batteries have, at the most, four
small vent holes. The alloys and electrolytes used, however, last for
the designed life of the battery and should never require the addition
of distilled water.
Battery problems are one of the most common problems associated with
car. With a little bit of care and simple preventive maintenance lots of
problems associated with battery may be avoided. In case of conventional
battery, regularly check the level of distilled water and add if
necessary. Maintenance-free batteries, despite their name, require
minimal care. The posts and cable terminals must be kept free of
corrosion and deposits so that the battery can continue delivering its
charge at peak efficiency.
When servicing a battery, work in an open, ventilated area, and always
wear safety glasses. Battery acid is very corrosive: take care not to
get any on your skin or clothes.
Use a solution of baking soda and water to wipe away corrosion from the
top of the battery and around the posts. Baking soda is a base, so it
will neutralize the acidic deposits that have built up on the outside of
Use a wire-bristle battery brush to clean deposits from the posts. Some
brushes also have an attachment for cleaning inside the opening of the
To help prevent future corrosion, apply petroleum jelly to the inside
of the terminals and the posts before reattaching the cables.
If you are not using the vehicle for a long period of a month or so
then remove the terminals from the battery. This prevents the discharge
and prolongs the life of the battery.