Cable clamps should fit properly without the need to hammer them onto the posts, possibly damaging the battery. Flush mounted cable connections should be tightened with care; tightening too much may result in damage to the battery. Use care in removing cables; too much force can result in battery damage.
Always keep the level of the electrolyte at the proper level. Add distilled water to raise the electrolyte level. Using other water may add undesirable minerals to the electrolyte, reducing the life of the battery. Add water to a discharged battery only when it is about to be recharged.
A frequent need to add water may indicate that the battery is being overcharged, so the vehicle's charging system should be checked. Maintenance free batteries are sealed, resulting in electrolyte levels which can't be adjusted, although there are vents for gases to pass through.
Extreme temperatures are not friendly to storage batteries. Extreme cold will reduce the power available, and will make the battery case brittle and easily broken. Extreme heat will result in electrolyte loss due to evaporation. Batteries should be stored at temperatures between 32 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and recharged monthly to maintain their charge.
Batteries should be kept clean and dry. Moist accumulations of dirt on a battery may cause it to lose its charge due to current flowing through the moist dirt from one post to the other.
A solution of baking soda and water can be used for cleaning the battery. Use one tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water until completely dissolved. It will neutralize and remove accumulations of acid contaminated soil on the battery and also cleanse the exterior. Do not allow the baking soda water to get in the battery; it is for external cleaning only. The baking soda solution should be rinsed away with plenty of clean water and then all surfaces dried.
Battery connections should be put together clean and dry. The connecting surfaces should be clean, shiny, and snug fitting, but not so tight that they must be forced together by hammering or severe twisting. This may damage the battery.
Treated felt washers are available that can be installed over the battery post before the cable is attached. The washer will reduce corrosion in and around the connection. A light coating of petroleum jelly or grease can be applied to the exterior of the connections to prevent additional corrosion.
The battery should be held in place with clamps or other restraints. Vibration or bouncing is hard on cable connections, the battery case and internal parts, and will shorten the life of the battery.