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Battery Charging
Corrosive, causes
severe skin burns,
and can cause
Causes nerve and
kidney damage,
Preventive Maintenance
• When the top of a battery is “dirty or
looks damp.
• Give a battery a general cleaning, use
hot water (130° F to 170° F) with a
neutralizer / detergent solution.
• Clean Battery Terminals.
• Attach clamps to the battery in proper polarity.
• Keep open flames and sparks away from
• Ventilate the battery well while charging.
• The charge a battery receives is equal
to the charge rate in amperes multiplied
by the time in hours.
• Measure the specific gravity of a cell
once per hour during charging to
determine full charge.
• Results in warped or broken plates,
damaged separators, severe shedding
of the active materials pasted to the
plates, and excessive loss of water,
which cause plates to dry out.
Jump Starting
• Be sure to turn off accessories.
• Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the good battery
while the engine is running.
• Connect the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal on the
dead battery.
• Then connect one end of the black cable to the negative terminal on
the good battery.
• Connect the other end of the negative cable to a known good ground
in the vehicle with the dead battery.
• After starting the vehicle with the discharged battery, allow the engine
to return to idle speed.
• Remove the negative jumper cable starting with the end that is
connected to the vehicle ground
• Remove the positive cable.
• When a motor vehicle battery fails, a
jump start often is the best short term
way to get the motor going. Because it
is important that jump starting be done
properly, the National Safety Council
recommends the following procedure:
• Position another vehicle with a healthy battery
and your car so they do not touch each other. Be
sure both batteries are of the same voltage.
• Read the owners' manuals for BOTH vehicles for
any special directions.
• Turn off the ignitions of both vehicles and set the
parking brakes. Place automatic transmissions in
"Park" and standard transmissions in neutral.
• Wear safety glasses and gloves while using
• Unless given different directions in the owner's
manual, use the booster cables in this order:
• Clamp/connect one end of the positive (+)
booster cable to the positive (+) post of the dead
• Connect the other end of the same cable to the
same marked post (+) of the booster battery.
• Connect the second, negative (-) booster cable to
the other post of the booster battery.
• Make the final negative (-) booster cable
connection on the engine block of the stalled
vehicle away from the battery.
• Start the booster vehicle and let it run for
a few minutes. Then, start the disabled
• Remove the cables in the reverse order of
connection, being very careful not to let
the booster cable clamps touch each other
or come in contact with car parts. Also,
avoid the fans of the engines. Electric fans
may run without the engine being on.
• Farm tractors should be equipped with
bypass starter covers.
Many farm tractors do not have bypass
starter covers for preventing jump starting.
Tractor operators may attempt to jump start a
farm tractor if the battery is dead. If the tractor
is in gear, it could lurch forward and run over
operators and innocent bystanders. A bypass
starter cover would save lives.
• If all farm tractors were equipped
with bypass starter covers:
• It would save approximately 350 lives
annually on U.S. farms.
Cell Phone Dangers: An
Explosive Situation?
• You’re at a gas station filling up. So is
the driver at the next pump. Suddenly
you hear his cell phone ring. As
gasoline fumes waft upward from the
nozzle inserted in his vehicle, he
reaches to answer the call. Do you:
a) Ignore it.
b) Be concerned.
c) Dive for cover
• The Web page of the U.S. General
Services Administration (GSA), which
oversees the use of thousands of official
vehicles, tells their operators “DO NOT
(their capitalization) use your cellular
phones when at a gas station. Cellular
use anywhere fuel is stored is
• The impetus behind all this is a spate of
reports (some, but not all, confirmed) that
sparks generated by the circuitry in cell
phone switches and batteries can, in fact,
touch off a fuel explosion. “In one incident, a
driver suffered burns and his car was
severely damaged when … talking on his
mobile phone near a gas pump. Electronic
devices in gas stations are protected with
explosive containment devices,” GSA
declares. “Cell phones are not.”
• Cell phones are not designed for use in
an ignitable fumes atmosphere. In fact,
some owner’s manuals clearly state
• It is possible for a spark powerful enough to create an
explosion to be generated. One way this can happen,
says the Safety Center, is if the phone is dropped, the
battery pops out, and something bridges its terminals,
creating a short. Others have warned of defective
circuitry inside the phone doing the same.
• The chances of all this coming together at the precise
same moment is “distinctly remote.” But even so,
caution while fueling is advisable. Turn off your
engine, don’t re-enter your vehicle (a static spark
might be created), don’t use your phone, and above
• One advantage of a manual transmission is
the ability to start a vehicle with a depleted
battery. If the charging system (alternator and
voltage regulator) are in proper working
condition, simply push-start the car and kick it
over, then drive long enough to let the
charging system do its work. A good half-hour
drive should give it a solid charge.
Here are a few tips to
quickly restore a battery
using this method.
1.Drive at a constant speed (highway driving)
versus stop-and go (city driving). This will
give the alternator an opportunity to charge
more evenly.
2. Turn off all accessories (radio, air conditioner,
3. If possible, drive during the day. Even
headlights use power. Having them off
increases the amount of electricity going to
the battery.
• Remember, this does not replace
charging the battery. A car's alternator is
not designed to fully restore a depleted
battery, but rather to maintain a healthy
one. As soon as possible, put your
battery on a battery charger such as the
Battery Tender, and give it a full charge
for a day or two.
Automatic Transmission
• If you have an automatic transmission, you
can jump-start the car instead. If the charging
system is in proper working condition, it will
recharge quickly. Follow the same steps as
above to ensure that the car won't need
another jump, then, as soon as possible,
have the battery fully charged by a mechanic
or you can do it yourself if you own a highquality battery charger .
• Another tip: If parking a car for long periods of
time (weeks or months), it's best to
disconnect the battery to prevent discharging.
Use a crescent or open-ended wrench to
loosen the strap from the negative terminal
on the battery, then remove the connector.
Make sure the connector is tucked away from
the terminal, where it cannot come into
contact with the post.
Battery Maintenance
Check the water level every couple of
months. It should be just touching the
bottom of the refill hole.
• Refill the battery, when needed, with
distilled water. Don't use tap water, it
produces corrosion on the terminals.
• Don't overfill the cells. Just to the bottom
of the refill hole is perfect.
The following tips apply to all
batteries, including maintenance-free.
To ensure good connectivity, clean the terminals periodically with a wire
When removing a connector from a terminal, twist it from side to side and
pull gently upward. Refrain from excessive tugging or prying.
When reconnecting a connector to a terminal, seat it down firmly on the
post. A few gentle whacks from a rubber mallet will do it. Don't over
tighten and strip the nut.
After securing the connector, coat the whole post with high-temperature
grease. This will reduce corrosion and rust.
If you keep having electrical problems (battery dies, car won't start, power
is intermittent or weak), it's not necessarily the battery. It could be in the
charging system, normally either a bad alternator or voltage regulator. A
mechanic can test the system to isolate the problem.