A lead acid battery typically lasts for five years from single-shift operation. The life of your battery can however be extended through proper care, maintenance, and checks, to a total life span of 10 years. Below is a list of tips to ensure you get the most out of your battery, reduce the risk of downtime, decrease costs, and improve health and safety.

What is a lead acid battery?

A lead acid battery is a secondary cell that is a type of rechargeable battery that is used in forklift trucks. Also known as a wet cell battery, it is the most common used battery in forklifts. A lead acid battery consists of include plates of lead acid, lead oxide and sulfuric acid. The battery creates an electrical current which the forklift uses to power the different components.

A lead acid battery typically lasts for five years from single-shift operation. The life of your battery can however be extended through proper care, maintenance, and checks, to a total life span of 10 years. Below is a list of tips to ensure you get the most out of your battery, reduce the risk of downtime, decrease costs, and improve health and safety.

Safety

  • Always wear the correct protective clothing when you are working on a forklift battery. Ensure you always wear eye protection, toe-cap boots and high-vis.
  • Make sure that you are always working in a well-ventilated area when charging batteries as it gives off harmful gases.
  • Work with caution when you are using metallic tools to prevent short circuits and sparks.
Operator safety

Do's

Don'ts

Check the condition of the battery & charger cables, terminals and plugs regularly and report any damage to a supervisor.

Add acid to the cells. Consult our service department in the event of electrolyte loss.

Avoid corrosion around terminals or metal container by cleaning off and neutralising with a weak solution of ammonia, sodium bicarbonate.

Smoke, allow naked flames, welding or grinding near the battery, especially when charging, or put any metal objects on top of the battery.

Wear the appropriate PPE at all times when topping-up or working on batteries. Battery acid is poisonous and corrosive.

Re-charge the battery for longer periods than necessary to restore capacity used.

Charging

  • It is important that you match the battery with the correct charger to avoid any damage to the battery. You can check with your battery supplier to confirm that you are using the right equipment.
  • Do not leave the battery in a discharged state for more than a day. Get into a routine of charging your battery fully, batteries will perform better if they have been fully charged and are not interrupted during a charging cycle.
  • Check the condition of the plug socket regularly and keep contact surface clean. Ensure that no cables or plugs are worn or frayed and always report it if there are. Inspections should be done little and often to ensure safety.
  • Ensure you don’t leave the battery in a discharge state for more than a day. If the battery is not required to be used keep it on maintenance charge, if the charger has the feature, so it will be ready for use when needed
Fast battery change and charging

Do's

Don'ts

Top-up the battery AFTER it has been fully charged.

Top-up the battery BEFORE charging.

Ensure the top of the battery is clean and dry.

Opportunity charge the battery. It must be left on charge until the battery charger has completed its full cycle.

Assist air-cooling and ventilation by charging with the battery compartment lid open.

Charge the battery with the vent caps open or removed.

Switch off the charger BEFORE disconnecting the battery.

Leave a discharged battery in that state for over 24 hours.

Switch off the charger BEFORE disconnecting the battery.

Leave a discharged battery in that state for over 24 hours.

Battery Maintenance

  • Always top up the battery AFTER a charge and with the correct water Add nothing to the cells other than distilled, deionised or approved water and do this often enough to keep the visible components covered (electrolyte visible). Having water in batteries is fundamental for the transfer of energy, so it is vital that it is topped up with the right water at the right time. Topping up a battery before a charge can result in an electrolyte spillage. Always top up water to the correct level, just above the plates, otherwise electrolyte will overflow during charging.
  • Keep the top of the battery trays and containers dry and clean to prevent electrical leakage between cells. Should there be any corrosion of the metal work, remove the products of corrosion and neutralise any remaining acid with a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate or with acid-proof paint or petroleum jelly.
  • Always dispose of your batteries to an authorised dealer who will recycle your old battery correctly. Failure to dispose of your old battery in the correct way will cause serious harm to the environment and it can be dangerous to persons. Do not attempt to dismantle a battery or cell.
Battery Filling System

Do's

Don'ts

Maintain the correct levels of electrolyte at all times. CHECK WEEKLY.

Overcharge or undercharge the battery. Use an incorrect type and size charger.

Top-up at least once a fortnight using only distilled or de-ionised water. The frequency will depend on operating and charging conditions.

Under fill or over fill when adjusting levels of electrolyte or dispense topping-up water from metal containers.

Repair or re-set the charger. Any setting or necessary repair should be undertaken by qualified personnel, using approved components.

If you ever require any further technical assistance, please get in touch with us and our technical team will be more than happy to help!