You don't have to wait until you break down to change your battery. Avoid breakdowns by getting your battery tested.
Keep batteries topped up: Maintaining a sufficient electrolyte level ensures the electrolyte is neither too high or to low. Use distilled or deionized water and never over fill. Maintenance free batteries will usually not require topping up. Low maintenance batteries require the addition of water only once or twice per year depending on conditions.
Check electrical connections: Make sure battery terminals and cable connections are clean and tight. The application of a thin layer of petroleum jelly can help reduce corrosion.
Avoid overcharging: Overcharging produces rapid deterioration and corrosion which shortens battery life. A battery needing to be topped up continually with water is a sure sign that the car's electrical system requires careful checking; this may also affect a maintenance free battery
Keep batteries clean and dry: Dirt on a battery's surface leads to discharge and corrosion. Avoid spilling oil or grease onto the top of the battery. To remove dirt or moisture, wash with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water. Rinse afterwards with clear water. Ensure vent plugs are in place at all times.Precautions:
- To avoid shorting, metallic objects should not be placed on top of the battery
- Batteries contain hydrogen gas and air in a volatile mixture which is easily ignited. Keep flames or sparks away from the battery at all times
- Batteries contain sulphuric acid. Never add acid to cells and keep acid away from eyes, skin, clothing or any other material which may become damaged. If contamination occurs, use large amounts of water to neutralize and flush acid away
- Batteries are also heavy - ensure correct lifting procedures are used when moving batteries