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General Purpose or Deep Cycle: What's the Best SLA Battery for a Riding Toy?

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 9/7/2021

Kid pointing while in a riding toy

From tiny tractors to cute little cars, riding toys provide kids with hours of outdoor entertainment. If you own a children's riding toy, it's important to understand which type of batteries you need to keep it going. Today we'll be discussing the differences between general purpose and deep cycle SLA batteries. We'll also share some signs that your battery needs to be replaced and tell you how to test your battery's charge.

What are SLA Batteries?

At its simplest, a sealed lead acid battery (also known as valve regulated lead acid or VRLA battery) consists of a series of lead plates and a liquid electrolyte housed in a sealed leak-proof battery case. While there are several different types of SLA batteries, the majority of riding toys from Peg Perego, Power Wheels and other manufacturers run on either general purpose or deep cycle SLAs.

What is the Difference Between General Purpose and Deep Cycle batteries?

The primary difference between these two types is how their interior cells are designed. Deep cycle batteries have thicker lead plates, which tends to make them larger and heavier than general purpose batteries. These thicker plates allow the deep cycle battery to discharge down to a much lower charge than general purpose batteries (as low as 20%) and still be able to perform. This makes them a perfect fit for applications that require a constant flow of power for a longer period of time.

By comparison, general purpose SLA batteries are designed to be more versatile, making them a great choice for a wide range of applications. Because they can't deep cycle, however, general purpose batteries aren't as useful for applications that require longer term power.

Which Battery is Best for My Riding Toy?

When it comes to riding toys, deep cycle batteries hold a distinct advantage. Their deep discharge ability allows them to perform longer before they need to be recharged. That translates into longer riding times before your toy runs out of juice.

Deep cycle batteries also hold the advantage in overall lifespan. A battery's cycle count refers to the total number of times it can go from fully charged to 100% drained. In general, a deep cycle battery will offer 40% more cycles than a general purpose option, meaning you'll have to replace a deep cycle battery less often.

Keep in mind, in order to get the full life out of your battery, it's important that you maintain it properly. That means charging your battery regularly. Browse our selection of riding toy chargers online, or read about some of our top charger suggestions in our blog.

When Should You Replace the Battery In a Riding Toy?

Here are a few signs that your battery might be failing.

  • Performance Issues - Failing batteries often have a consistently low voltage or will only be able to operate for short periods before they need to be recharged.
  • Swollen Battery Case - A swollen or deformed battery means that it has crossed its gassing voltage due to being overcharged. This excessive voltage causes the production of excess gas that the battery can't expel in time. If you have a deformed battery, you should replace it immediately.
  • Battery Sweating - Continuous overheating can diminish the electrolyte inside the battery, causing it to overheat and vent excess gas. This gas condenses when it hits the atmosphere, forming droplets on the battery surface. These droplets are acidic and can corrode the battery's terminals.
  • Corroded Terminals - Corrosion appears as a green, blue or white buildup. If you notice corrosion on the terminals, it probably means that the battery has been overcharged. You can clean corrosion off of your terminals using a battery terminal brush or a solution of baking soda and water.

How to Test Your Battery

If you've noticed any of the signs above, try testing your battery using a voltmeter. The resting voltage for a 12V SLA battery should be around 13-volts at a full charge. If your battery is lower than that, that's another sign that the battery needs to be replaced.

If you don't have a voltmeter, you can take note of your battery's typical voltage and run time, then contact your nearest Batteries Plus store. Our experts can compare this information to the performance statistics of a new battery and help you determine if yours is past its prime.

Batteries Plus is Your Riding Toy Battery Headquarters

Looking for the best battery for your child's favorite riding toy? Shop riding car batteries by brand. If you have questions, our experts will be happy to help you out. So, call or stop into your nearest location today.

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