need to check the water level with this battery?

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20
Location
CA
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This Duralast Gold battery came with a vehicle I purchase a little over a year and a half ago. Date on the battery is 2/2017. When I purchased the car I noted it was an Autozone battery but didn't think much about it. After having to replace a dead battery in my other vehicle I swapped the two batteries and suddenly realized that this battery doesn't have your typical "maintenance free" caps on it but what appear to be screw on caps for maintenance. I find it strange that this battery has these caps, should I have been opening this battery up to check the level inside the cells and add distilled water if need be? I do live in a hot climate (during the summer) so I'm guessing it couldn't hurt to take a look inside. Why would they sell a battery like this for a normal daily driver? I don't ever recall seeing batteries like this being sold at your typical auto parts stores.

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8,440
Location
Virginia
Sure check the battery to see if it needs some distilled water. Just enough to cover the plates. And DO NOT add acid. Adding more water does dilute the battery acid which will have a effect on when the battery is charged. It will not be able to be charged as effectively as it would be with the previous distilled water to acid ratio. But it's better to have the plates covered vs not covered. Exposed plates accelerate further erosion which leads to possible battery shorting or at minimum battery losing capacity and amperage able to be delivered when needed.
 
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12,873
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Yes, certainly check each cell in that battery. I prefer to use distilled water but, I have opened a bottle of drinking water(Aquafina, Poland Springs, Evian. store brand etc.) and poured/drizzled it into the cells. I've also topped up batteries during their whole lifecycle(7-9 yrs) with nothing more that tap water or used my Brita. Now, these are not optimal but they work! The current battery in the Firebird in my signature has a maintainer on it 24/7(unless I'm driving) and this current battery(regular EverStart...not MAXX) is 20 yrs old this year. It has never seen distilled water. Tap water or bottled water is all she gets. Check it often and keep the level above the lead plates but, not up to the top of the caps.
 
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4,823
Location
VA
I think that battery has a really high reserve capacity and pretty high CCA from what I can see. Sure, add distilled water if it needs it.
 
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1,894
Location
missouri
the acid is not consumed, so adding water only restores the proper acid concentration. it is OK to fill to just below the ring. Higher acid concentration is associated with slightly shorter life. Lower acid is lower capacity. Rod
 
Better to stick with distilled water. Using tap water depends totally on the the composition of the minerals in it, which varies greatly between locations. Getting away with it in one location doesn't mean you'll get the same results in a second. smile
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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44,457
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
the acid is not consumed, so adding water only restores the proper acid concentration. it is OK to fill to just below the ring. Higher acid concentration is associated with slightly shorter life. Lower acid is lower capacity. Rod
+1
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,787
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The Motor City
Are you sure acid isn't consumed? There seems to be a lot of horrible corrosion at the battery cables, tray and surrounding area for most cars. This is from acid that can only come from the battery. Plus some batteries are plumbed for venting.
 
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3,899
Location
Canada
Yes, they need to be topped up. Many batteries will have stickers that cover the screw covers on the cells. Recently it was the case that I had to cut the sticker away to access the screw tops for the cells. Once the cells were topped up with water, the battery charged much faster and has been working better ever since.
Originally Posted by Kestas
Are you sure acid isn't consumed? There seems to be a lot of horrible corrosion at the battery cables, tray and surrounding area for most cars. This is from acid that can only come from the battery. Plus some batteries are plumbed for venting.
The acid isn't really consumed. IIRC, the hydrogen gasses escape the battery from heat and discharging cycles (general usage) The only easy way to top that up is with water (H2O) which has hydrogen in it.
 
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7,931
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
#1) The battery section from a "long ago" electric course was quite informative. #2) I serviced the dirty battery in the family's newest car; a 2016 Mazda3 bought new, now with ~30K. No plates were showing but I gasped at how low the acid level was. It took 400 ml (13.5 ounces) of distilled water and I left the usual space beneath cells' tops. NOTE: It's astonishing to see BITOGers admitting to using mineral or tap water in batteries. Shocking! Distilled for coolant and battery maintenance. Use seltzer for batteries in an emergency as club soda has sodium.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,787
Location
The Motor City
Originally Posted by Lolvoguy
Originally Posted by Kestas
Are you sure acid isn't consumed? There seems to be a lot of horrible corrosion at the battery cables, tray and surrounding area for most cars. This is from acid that can only come from the battery. Plus some batteries are plumbed for venting.
The acid isn't really consumed. IIRC, the hydrogen gasses escape the battery from heat and discharging cycles (general usage) The only easy way to top that up is with water (H2O) which has hydrogen in it.
This doesn't explain the corrosivity of gases coming from the battery, just the explosivity.
 
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1,894
Location
missouri
The acid is not consumed. The acid can get forced out the vent if there is a overcharge or inadequate vent baffling. It is also not at all uncommon for the bond of the plastic to the lead terminal to fail. 50 years ago they knew how to do it 100% of the time. I am sure that person got a golden handshake. Many golden handshakes later, the knowledge is mostly lost. Rod
 
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734
Location
Under the hood
Since the battery allows the ability to check the fluid level, take advantage of it, by all means. A lot of them don't, and "maintenance-free" is used in the same sense as "lifetime fill," with all same considerations and expectations.
 
Messages
20
Location
CA
Thread starter
For anyone who is curious I washed the top of the battery off, dried it off and then unscrewed the caps with a large screwdriver. The caps ended up being far longer than what I thought they would be, they are basically tubes going down with an opening at the bottom and then a small whole in the side near the top. They likely help keep water loss to a minimum. They have rubber washers sealing them at the top. All the cells appeared to be well submerged in acid and all appeared clean as well. I didn't bother doing anything else and tightly screwed all the caps back in place.
 
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