Have you heard about maintenance free car batteries and now wondering what is a maintenance free battery and if a maintenance free battery better than a conventional battery? Whatever the case is, this guide will answer all your questions.
People often consider the engine the main part of any vehicle, yet, have you ever wondered about batteries?
You can’t even ignite the vehicle’s engine without a strong pulse of current, and the battery is reliable for providing that current. And apart from it, all the electrical components of a vehicle, including music players, headlights, or internal lights, get a power supply from the battery.
Thus being the primary electric or power source of a vehicle, the batteries often get dead with continuous usage for a more extended period.
Other factors that cause a dead battery are too old battery, less electrolyte, or over-discharge. No matter what caused the battery to die, it would cause trouble since you can’t ignite the engine without it if you are outside your place.
Even though battery manufacturers were working to enhance the battery performance for a longer run, consequently, now you have the option to choose the latest standard batteries, maintenance free automotive batteries over conventional batteries.
This guide will shed some light on maintenance free batteries and their pros and cons.
What is a Maintenance Free Battery?
A maintenance free battery is a product that is not intended to be opened or refilled again. Whereas, in conventional batteries, the fluid could evaporate, which results in less fluid level and makes it dead. However, to remove this issue, Sealed batteries come with materials to fix the electrolyte setup.
Ordinarily, a maintenance-free battery utilizes a specific material, for example, a glass mat or gel, to assimilate and immobilize the electrolyte, which keeps it from changing into gas and evaporating.
When a maintenance-free battery starts to lose its capacity to hold a charge, it’s better to replace it with a new one. Whereas, in the case of conventional batteries, you can add distilled water to recover electrolytes in plates.
The special calcium alloy of lead is utilized in maintenance-free batteries to sustain the water for an extended period. However, it eventually does not hold the water forever but longer than conventional batteries.
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What is the Difference Between Conventional and Maintenance Free Battery?
The market is divided into two types of batteries that are mainly available to buy for vehicles; conventional lead-acid batteries and sealed lead–acid batteries (maintenance-free car batteries). If you are wondering, is a maintenance free battery better than a conventional battery? Let’s find out with a detailed comparison of maintenance free battery vs conventional battery.
As mentioned earlier, a Maintenance-free automotive battery incorporates the lead-calcium alloy for the grid frame. Therefore, it decreases the water evaporation process when charging water decomposition, and it also diminishes the acid gas release as compared to conventional batteries.
Maintenance free batteries also come with a fixed seal for life from the manufacturing plant, which eliminates the process of maintaining electrolyte levels. The fixed seal also prevents the need for service, other than it is kept clean and completely charged.
The building structure helps to lose electrolytes relatively slower than conventional batteries, and the overall battery life can be anticipated accordingly.
On the contrary, conventional batteries consist of flooded electrolyte and open-cell build structures. Perhaps, conventional batteries are more convenient than maintenance free batteries yet demand more attention.
If you ask what is the difference between conventional and maintenance free battery, the answer would be; the conventional batteries require more attention to refilling distilled water occasionally than maintenance-free batteries. The evaporation of the electrolysis cycle triggers water loss.
Therefore, within a certain period, it needs more distilled water. In case of lower water levels than an average requirement could damage the battery, and plates will be exposed to air, causing lousy battery performance. Thus, maintaining the water level is essential in conventional batteries.
It has removable covers to check the electrolyte level in every cell. Topping up the water if required could enhance the battery’s life expectancy. For conventional batteries, checking the water level once a year is necessary.
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Pros and Cons of Maintenance Free Battery:
Those are gone days when you refill the battery with distilled water or the battery kicked the bucket at an hour of need. With the availability of a maintenance-free car battery, people enjoy numerous advantages that don’t come with conventional batteries. However, on the contrary, maintenance free batteries also come with certain drawbacks.
To get a clear picture, let’s discuss the pros and cons of maintenance free battery;
Pros of Maintenance Free Battery:
No More Spills
A conventional battery must open when you try to refill the water in it. Therefore, you need to manage potential spills. The sulfuric acid in the battery could harm your skin if it gets in contact, even though it can ruin your clothes.
On the contrary, the spill-proof structure of sealed batteries offers a hassle-free process. It doesn’t require refilling electrolytes, which is the most significant advantage of a maintenance-free battery.
Resistance to Corrosion
The overflow of water while refilling causes corrosion on the battery, which could damage it badly. To get rid of corrosion, you have to spend extra time and energy removing it to clean the battery.
Since the maintenance free car battery is sealed and doesn’t require refilling, there’s a very minimalistic leakage and corrosion even though the in-build corrosion resistance grid and the calcium prevent the corrosion.
Overcharging mainly causes overheating, which further damages the car batteries. However, different variables might also lead to overheating in conventional batteries.
Maintenance-free batteries are manufactured carefully to prevent overheating problems. The proper ventilation system prevents excess overheating and circulates outside air while preventing overheating.
The innovative structure is a prime advantage of maintenance free batteries and enhanced performance. The max temperature of maintenance free batteries is within -20 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius.
Since maintenance free car batteries use the oxygen recombination process, which prevents water loss, except for a few tiny holes for air circulation, the batteries are fully sealed for minor water leaks.
Accordingly, it automatically promotes the longer life span of maintenance-free car batteries. Therefore, no battery replacement issue is one of the awesome advantages of maintenance free battery that also saves money.
The overcharging eventually hits the battery performance or even damages it. The reason is simple, overcharging causes the fluids to boil inside, and the battery becomes extremely hot. Thus, melting or swelling could be the issue in such a case.
However, one of the main advantages of a maintenance free battery that you can enjoy is the no overcharging issues as the lead and calcium terminals help to prevent the overcharging problems. Simultaneously, it also permits the process of oxygen recombination.
Quick Car ignition
Cold weather often affects the conventional battery’s performance. Hence, it takes longer to ignite your vehicle. Attempting to start your vehicle appropriately can prompt inconveniences, for example, getting late for work.
On the other hand, utilizing a maintenance free automotive battery gives a quick car ignition experience even in cold weather. These batteries come with a premium and high reserve current limit. Thus, quick car start response.
Cons of Maintenance Free Battery:
Since conventional batteries are repairable, in any case, you get a mechanic, and they can easily open it to replace internal parts such as plates, or electrolytes, which could increase the lifespan further to a few years. However, one of the main disadvantages of maintenance free batteries is getting them repaired by a mechanic.
These batteries are sealed and have no place to add distilled water if the levels drop down. Thus, once you find performance issues or less distilled water, you might have to replace it with a new one.
Maintenance-free batteries are often more expensive than ordinary conventional batteries. The price difference is even relatively high if you buy a new one; therefore, it also raises the question; Is a maintenance free battery better?
The conventional batteries are even available to purchase in second-hand condition too. Yet, in the case of Maintenance batteries, people give up on these batteries only after the batteries are dead.
Therefore, if you think about purchasing a maintenance battery, you have to invest more to buy maintenance free batteries.
Unlike conventional batteries, they don’t require special attention while charging and even tackle the overcharging situation. One of the main disadvantages of a maintenance free battery is that it demands a lot of attention while charging.
Sometimes, you need to give them extra time for a full charge, as slow charging events often reduce the battery’s performance. Moreover, the plates often get heated more in the overcharging situation, impacting battery life.
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How Long Does a Maintenance Free Battery Last?
People often question; what is the lifespan of maintenance free batteries? Well, The everyday life of a battery usually refers to the situation when the battery’s full power can’t even reach the maximum 50% limit.
This state is referred to as the end of battery life. However, the life of a battery mainly depends upon several factors, including the period it’s used. Generally, the lifespan of maintenance free car battery remains approximately 3 to 5 years.
Even though, apart from the usage time, The life of a maintenance free automotive battery also relies upon the conditions like the temperature, charging current, or overcharge situation. It is seen that high temperatures eventually speed up the aging process of the battery and affect performance.
At the same time, overcharging also damages the battery’s liquid, reducing performance. The extremely high or low charging current causes the battery to break air and reduce battery life.
Can I Add Distilled Water to a Maintenance Free Battery?
Have you ever wondered, does maintenance free battery need water? You won’t ever have to add water to the maintenance-free batteries in most cases. Most maintenance free batteries are sealed forever, except for a small vent hole for air circulation.
Thus, these batteries are never required to be topped up with water. However, if the maintenance-free battery has removable covers, there would be no risk of removing covers and adding water if the liquid level is low.
Just make sure to add distilled water to batteries to fill the cells. You can buy distilled water at any mechanic store or car repair shop. Make sure to examine the plates. If the electrolyte level is low and plates are exposed, it is recommended to add enough water to cover the plates.
If you ask, how to add water to a maintenance free battery? Usually, a maintenance free car battery only has one cover to fill the distilled water into the battery. Thus, remove the cover of the battery and fill the water into the maintenance-free battery and make sure to close the cover perfectly to avoid any leakage.
Is a Maintenance Free Battery Better? – Author’s View
A conventional car battery demands essential maintenance depending upon the usage and battery age. Even though people also find it a pretty challenging task to monthly or ounces in every two months to check the conventional battery and add up distilled water. Some unaware car owners end up with battery damage when they use regular tap water instead of distilled water.
On the contrary, the clear answer to the question “Is a maintenance free battery better than a conventional battery?” is that it is crystal clear that maintenance free batteries are free from any kind of maintenance.
Even though most companies suggest that customers don’t need to add distilled water till the entire lifespan of a maintenance free car battery, the elements such as lead and calcium terminals in batteries, along with fixed steel from the factory, make them the actual maintenance free automotive battery.
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