A licensed mechanic can handle the periodic servicing of car batteries. However, regular maintenance is required to keep the battery in optimum shape. When servicing the battery, you will need a set of wrenches, a post cleaner, a cable puller and a hydrometer. Follow the steps below when servicing your battery.
Clean the cables
Using a nonmetallic brush, a cup of water and a tablespoon of baking soda, clean the top of the battery and remove any corrosion and rinse with cool water. Next, disconnect the cables, beginning with the negative one. If the cables are stuck, simply use a cable puller. Once the cables are out, clean around the battery using the post cleaner to remove any corrosion.
Examine the level of electrolyte
Remove the covers of the battery cells and check the electrolyte levels. Acceptable levels of the fluid should be half an inch above the plates. In case it needs water, use clean distilled water to refill, taking care not to overfill the cells. Do not use tap water or any other kind of water.
Inspect the condition and the charge of the battery
Inspect to see if there are any cracks on the battery. After checking for cracks, check the charge of the battery. The electrolyte is tested using the hydrometer. You should squeeze the ball in order to draw the solution into the tester. Note down the readings of the tester levels. Squeeze out the solution into the same cell and do the same for each cell. If the readings recorded are low but consistent, then the battery needs to be charged. A fully charged battery has a reading of 1.265 or higher.
Replace the battery
The steps above will determine the need, or lack thereof, to replace the battery. In case of bad corrosion, the battery should be replaced. Replacement should also be done if there is a crack on the battery.
First, remove the old battery using a heavy-duty strap tied to the ears on its side, then gently lift it out. Then clean the tray and place the new battery in place, securing it with the hold-down clamp. Finally connect the cables, with the positive cable first. Smear a little grease to help slow down the corrosion, and then fasten the cable clamps.
If during service there is a need to replace the battery, it should be with one with a higher rating than the original battery.