Lead Acid AGM batteries, also called “dry cell” and sometimes mistaken for “gel cel”, are maintenance-free. That means you don’t have to open them up every few months and add more water to the cells (even though they are dry batteries, that doesn’t make them thirsty like a wet cell battery). You can also position them on their side without worrying about any leaks.
So, let’s get down to what to do and what not to do for your AGM battery.
DO: Keep the battery as fully charged, as often as possible. No, these batteries do not develop a “memory” like some nickel-cadmium based batteries. Severely discharging and leaving the battery discharged can cause harm and shorten life in AGM batteries. Have you heard about sulfation? It’s not pretty stuff.
Riding your vehicle often, can keep the battery in top condition. If you’re not going to use the battery for a week or more at a time, we highly recommend a charger maintainer (also called a trickle charger) to keep the battery from discharging. Battery Tender Plus is perfect for powersports and small car batteries. If you have a large reserve marine or RV AGM battery, then you’ll need a charger with a higher charge rate to compensate for the higher capacity of the battery.
DON’T: Let your batteries sit unused for the winter months. Even if you start your motor or engine every once in a while, it still doesn’t make up for the time left to drain and sulfate. No, letting your batteries go without a charger for a single winter won’t guarantee a dead battery in the spring, but it will guarantee shortened life span.
DO: Keep the battery in a place of moderate temperature. It’s no surprise, extreme heat and cold can have a negative effect on battery performance. In hot climates, additional causes of failure are positive grid growth, positive grid metal corrosion, negative grid shrinkage, or buckling of plates. These essentially ruin the delicate composition inside the battery that is required to activate the chemical reaction that produces electricity. In short, batteries don’t like getting hot and sweaty just as much as you.
DON’T: Use a starting battery for anything other than, you guessed it, starting a motor. A lot of powersports AGM batteries are nice because they’re small. But they do not make good batteries to take with you camping and powering your radio or small television. It doesn’t take long for a car battery to lose power after leaving your lights on, does it? They are meant to produce a strong burst of current in a short period of time, and then quickly recharge what it just lost. If you need some source of power for an extended period of time, AGM DEEP CYCLE batteries are made just for that purpose.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. For pretty much everything you need to know about batteries, AGM or not, check out our complete battery written tutorial. Batteries are a good investment. Let’s make them last a little longer this time around, okay?