The promise of spring means that folks in the northern portion of the U.S are pulling their warm-weather tools & toys out of storage, polishing them up and prepping them for use. Proper battery care and maintenance is part of that, and we’re here to help make sure it’s done right. Check out our list of "dos" and "don'ts" to ensure that your summertime toys are ready to go when you are.
Personal Watercraft Battery Care:
Jet Skis, WaveRunners & More
- Keep your battery fully charged between rides. This ensures it will not only be able to crank over your engine, but also that the battery retains its ability to hold a full charge down the road.
- Invest in a quality battery charger. A decent charger won't overcharge or overheat — and in turn damage — your battery. It will also maintain a steady charge without requiring constant supervision.
- Allow corrosion, dirt or moisture to build up on the terminals because they'll drain power. To clean the terminals, remove the battery from the craft, clean with a solution of baking soda and water, and rinse with fresh water. Once dry, apply a light coat of waterproof grease to protect the terminals.
- Jump at the cheap price of the standard “wet” battery. Newer alternatives like AGM batteries may be more expensive up front, but AGM batteries require less maintenance, are often better suited to the harsh demands of personal watercraft thanks to their superior resistance to shock and vibration.
Motorcycle Battery Care
- Store your bike battery in a place that is always warmer than 32 degrees during the winter months.
- Trickle charge your battery at least once a month. A battery that is fully charged will have a longer life and is less likely to freeze during cold winter weather.
- Automatically settle for the lower-cost conventional battery. AGM batteries are more vibration-resistant and have a longer life.
Battery Care for ATVs & Kids’ Ride-On Toys
- Charge the battery for at least 18 hours using the appropriate charger before operating the toy vehicle for the first time.
- Recharge your ride-on toy batteries for at least 14 hours after each use (but no longer than 30 hours), regardless of how long the vehicle is used. The more often the batteries are used, the longer they will last. Using the batteries only once or twice a year will actually shorten the lifespan of the battery.
- Refer to the manufacturer's charging instructions for proper charging times and procedures.
- Run the batteries down completely.
- Store your child's vehicle with discharged batteries – fully charge them before storage and once a month thereafter.
- Charge the battery for longer than 30 hours.
In all of these instances, failure to follow instructions may damage the battery and will void the toy’s warranty.
Battery Care for Cars & Trucks
- Routinely charge car batteries that are only used sporadically – like in a car driven only for short distances. A car's alternator is not designed to fully restore a depleted battery, but rather to maintain a healthy one. Use a battery charger to keep it starting easily.
- Clean corrosion from the top of the battery and around the battery cables.
- Test your battery on a regular basis, including when you have your car serviced, before long trips or after it's been recharged.
- Overcharge the battery. An automatic charger that turns off or on with a timer is your best bet.
Batteries Plus has thousands of batteries available, and expert associates on hand to provide advice and service. We’re your one-stop battery resource, so visit us soon. Find a location near you.