How to Maintain a Marine Battery
A major part of taking good care of your boat is maintaining its battery. After all, your boat won’t run unless the battery works right, and this part won’t work right if you don’t keep it clean and properly charged at all times. So if you want boat season to go well for you this year, take a look at how to maintain a marine battery the right way.
Keep the Battery at the Right Temperature
Marine batteries may be pretty durable, but they’re not exactly meant to withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature. Allowing them to get very hot or very cold can damage them over time. When a marine battery gets too hot, it may expand and use up its energy faster than usual as it loses electrolytes too fast. And when the battery gets too cold, it has to work harder than usual just to power the boat. So try to keep your marine battery in a moderate climate, even if that means removing it and storing it somewhere else when your boat is docked during extreme weather. You should especially keep this in mind when it’s time to winterize your boat.
Recharge Your Marine Battery Immediately
You should recharge your battery right after you use it if you want to make it last longer. Allowing a marine battery to sit while not fully charged can result in lead sulfate deposits building up, making it harder for the battery to generate an electrical current. At the same time, quickly charging the battery at high voltage for a short period of time can also increase sulfate deposits, shortening the battery’s life. This is why it’s best to plan to recharge the battery fully after you use it, making sure to follow the instructions that come with it for best results.
Keep the Battery Clean
Another factor in figuring out how to maintain a marine battery is keeping it clean. Allowing battery acid to build up on the terminals, connectors, and other parts of the battery can make it hard for it to start up or charge. You can clean the battery terminals by disconnecting them and then mixing water with baking soda until the mixture becomes a paste. You can then apply it to a toothbrush and clean off any corrosion. Another way to clean the battery terminals and cable clamps is to rub a wire brush against any corrosion or debris you see. Then you can prevent more corrosion by putting petroleum jelly on the battery terminals before you reconnect them.
Fill the Battery with Water
Most marine batteries require you to keep them full of distilled water so they can work properly. If you don’t keep the water at the right level, you risk a reduction in battery life. This is why you need to check the distilled water level periodically, making sure to fill it to the level that is recommended by the battery manufacturer. Luckily, you can buy distilled water at just about any store, so this maintenance task for your boat battery should be easy to perform.
Whether you’re bringing your boat out of storage or getting your fishing boat ready for the season, these tips on how to maintain a marine battery can help ensure your vessel is ready to go. And with proper maintenance, your marine battery can last as long as four or five years, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your boat before you have to replace the battery.