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The battery in your vehicle is critically important to the running of your vehicle since it provides electrical power for all of the electrical systems in your vehicle, such as the starter system and the ignition system.  Fortunately, most batteries donít require much maintenance.  Giving your battery the attention that it needs periodically will go a long way to ensuring that it provides you with the maximum length of reliable service that you need for hassle-free motoring.

If the battery in your vehicle is of a type that requires maintenance, check the electrolyte fluid levels in the cells of the battery every 3 months or 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles), whichever comes first.  (There are normally six cells in a twelve-volt, lead-acid automotive battery, each producing two volts of electricity.)  If the electrolyte level in any cell of the battery looks to be low, use distilled water to top up the electrolyte level to three millimetres (1/8 inch) above the highest metal part inside the cell.

Itís very important not to use tap water to top up the electrolyte level because tap water contains too many impurities like chlorine that will interfere with the chemical processes that take place inside the battery and reduce its service life.  You should be able to find distilled water at your local supermarket or hardware store.

When topping up a battery cell with distilled water, itís important to avoid over-filling the cell.  The water level should only be topped up to three millimetres (1/8 inch) above the highest metal part inside the cell.  Over-filling the cell can lead to the electrolyte spilling up and out of the cell when the vehicle is in use through the tiny ventilation hole in the plastic cell cap.  Because the electrolyte is highly corrosive, it can cause extensive corrosion of the vehicle body surrounding the battery inside the engine bay (including the metal battery tray), especially if the problem isnít detected quickly and rectified.  Prevention is better than cure by taking care not to over-fill any of the battery cells.

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