DIY Tech. Tip No.2

Battery Tools HydrometerBattery Tools electrolyte spout









Have you checked the fluid levels in your battery lately? If your battery has an inbuilt hydrometer / indicator (often called a ‘magic eye’ or ‘light’), this will indicate the state of charge and some times it will indicate the fluid level. You should refer to the top label of the battery for the readings. An inbuilt hydrometer usually indicates a maintenance-free battery. So no fluid top-ups here.

If your battery has removable caps on top this means you can check the fluid levels and the state of charge. The fluid (electrolyte) in most batteries is diluted sulfuric acid. Safety must be kept in mind at all times. See here for safety precautions. It is important to maintain correct fluid levels in each cell of your battery so that you get the best performance and service life from your battery. If the levels are low and the plates are dry, this will cause poor performance and if left too low for a long period of time it will cause irreparable damage to the plates of the battery. If the fluid levels are too high, you will end up with acid all over the top of the battery and else where, this will cause corrosion. If you need to top up your batteries fluid levels, you should use distilled water and you should be added just enough to cover the top of the plates inside each cell. A level of 5 to 10mm above the plates is often enough. We stock a handy spout which fits on the average soft-drink bottle, this will help when pouring water into the cells of your battery.

While the caps are off your battery you can check the state of charge of your battery with a Hydrometer like the one pictured above. It measures the specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell to give you a quick indication as to how charged your battery is. The specific gravity of the electrolyte will change depending on the state of charge in the battery. The hydrometer should give you a fairly even set of readings across the cells. If some of the readings are very different, it might be time to bring the battery down to the store and let us have a look. If you would like to know more about how to use a hydrometer, check out our DIY page through this link here. 

If you need help with checking your batteries fluid levels or would like us to do it for you, come and see us at Absolute Batteries Toowoomba.