Automotive

Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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  • Oct 18th, 2019 6:39 pm
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Jul 25, 2015
392 posts
159 upvotes
Burnaby, BC
craftsman wrote:
Dec 28th, 2018 7:11 pm
The difference is that the battery is in Burnaby, BC so it's not subjected to many of the true Canadian Winters. Heck, if the OP lives in a condo tower, they might have a heated garage....

Age does not necessarily kill batteries - if that wasn't true the OP's battery would have been dead and gone 8+ years ago according to some on this forum... poor maintenance and hard conditions do.
Thank you for the response. You are correct, the car is in a insulated but not heated garage. If the temp outside drops to minus, inside the garage its always around 4 degrees above. I'm planning on keeping the car for another year so I was hoping to fill the cells with water. The battery top is super clean and I see the 6 screws. Can I fill them without removing the battery completely? Any brand of distilled water will do or it does it make any difference?


There is only a bit of blue build on the positive side of it, but I can clean that after I fill it. Also removing mazda batteries makes them stall for a week or so till they sync back. I'll post a pic later on.
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Dec 23, 2003
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Piklishi wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2019 1:34 pm
Thank you for the response. You are correct, the car is in a insulated but not heated garage. If the temp outside drops to minus, inside the garage its always around 4 degrees above. I'm planning on keeping the car for another year so I was hoping to fill the cells with water. The battery top is super clean and I see the 6 screws. Can I fill them without removing the battery completely? Any brand of distilled water will do or it does it make any difference?


There is only a bit of blue build on the positive side of it, but I can clean that after I fill it. Also removing mazda batteries makes them stall for a week or so till they sync back. I'll post a pic later on.
I would just clean the buildup first and make sure everything is nice and clean before opening the cells. Any distilled water brand is fine as long as it is distilled and not spring. Once the levels are topped up, you can get a charger to top up the power completely. It would still be a good idea to do a load test of the battery after cleaning, topping off and charging it.
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Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
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Vancouver, BC
Piklishi wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2019 1:34 pm
Thank you for the response. You are correct, the car is in a insulated but not heated garage. If the temp outside drops to minus, inside the garage its always around 4 degrees above. I'm planning on keeping the car for another year so I was hoping to fill the cells with water. The battery top is super clean and I see the 6 screws. Can I fill them without removing the battery completely? Any brand of distilled water will do or it does it make any difference?


There is only a bit of blue build on the positive side of it, but I can clean that after I fill it. Also removing mazda batteries makes them stall for a week or so till they sync back. I'll post a pic later on.
You can fill the battery without removing the battery HOWEVER that makes it hard to see how much fluid is in each cell as you should never overfill the battery especially if you are going to charge it soon afterwards.

I would advise you to remove the battery completely to do a good cleaning... disconnect the terminals of the battery, remove the battery, clean all of the terminals (use a nice mixture of baking soda and water to scrub down those terminals with a brush), clean the other case of the battery and then the spot where you removed the battery from. You might find that there's some blue build-up that dripped down the sides of the battery or into the battery compartment - clean that up with the same baking soda and water mix. Afterwards, rinse the area well with clean water.

Brand of distilled/de-ionized water won't make a difference; however, CT does sell 'battery water' (might be cheaper) now so check out their price as the price of this stuff does vary greatly.

When filling, be careful as the battery acid tends to splash when filled. Since you removed the battery, fill up to the minimum fill line initially, then charge. Once fully charged, fill again but this time so that the fluid level lands in the middle of the two lines, then charge again. Once done, get the battery tested so you know that the battery will last you through the year or not at this point. There's no point in reinstalling the battery if it's about to fail anyway so taking the extra step of testing the battery is always a good idea.

When reinstalling, get some dielectric grease and put a thin coat on the terminals before reconnecting.
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Jul 25, 2015
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Burnaby, BC
Nope, no modifications. That's the way it was wired in the factory. Not sure why the 2 are cables going out but my best guess, it's the alarm system.
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Jan 27, 2006
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Piklishi wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2019 11:10 pm
Nope, no modifications. That's the way it was wired in the factory. Not sure why the 2 are cables going out but my best guess, it's the alarm system.
Actually, that's pretty normal for the negative terminal - the thicker wire typically goes directly to the starter while the thinner one is connected to the chassis.
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Oct 26, 2008
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Piklishi wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2019 1:34 pm

There is only a bit of blue build on the positive side of it, but I can clean that after I fill it. Also removing mazda batteries makes them stall for a week or so till they sync back. I'll post a pic later on.
Maybe I'm confused.

From your picture, that's the negative terminal that has blue sulphate buildup. (Usually it's white buildup on the -ve and blue/green on the +ve - but not always.)

The top of the battery shows a lot of dust on it so be sure to wipe that off before unscrewing the caps.

Not just Mazda that can lose idle speed programming when a battery is removed and replaced. How quickly the re-learning takes place may vary between makes and models.

(I haven't encountered myself the extra ground cable going to the starter motor but can see why that might be a good bit of redundancy.
As ground straps between the engine/transmission and the chassis can degrade with flexing and corrosion yet be good enough for most purposes although not for the demands of the starter.)
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Mar 22, 2004
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What would be a good replacement for 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Battery?
CT reviews are not so positive. How about Costco battery??
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Dec 23, 2003
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romsan04 wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 10:32 pm
What would be a good replacement for 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan Battery?
CT reviews are not so positive. How about Costco battery??
Canadian Tire changed battery manufactures from Exide to East Penn about 2 years ago. That means that most people who have battery issues after 4 years are using the Exide batteries. Those were known for quality control issues. The East Penn ones are quite good. The key to long battery life is maintenance and lack of abuse. Starting batteries don't do well if the battery gets drained because the lights are on overnight and recharged. Have a look at my Car Battery Thread for some suggestions.

If you don't want to deal with Canadian Tire, Walmart is good and my last car battery was from them. I believe your vehicle takes a 94R. Here is the info to the battery:

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/everstart- ... 0195362562

Just make sure the battery is fresh (no more than a month or 2 old) and have them do a free load test on the battery to make sure it is in good shape.
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Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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Mar 22, 2004
3042 posts
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hightech wrote:
Jan 5th, 2019 10:40 pm
Canadian Tire changed battery manufactures from Exide to East Penn about 2 years ago. That means that most people who have battery issues after 4 years are using the Exide batteries. Those were known for quality control issues. The East Penn ones are quite good. The key to long battery life is maintenance and lack of abuse. Starting batteries don't do well if the battery gets drained because the lights are on overnight and recharged. Have a look at my Car Battery Thread for some suggestions.

If you don't want to deal with Canadian Tire, Walmart is good and my last car battery was from them. I believe your vehicle takes a 94R. Here is the info to the battery:

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/everstart- ... 0195362562

Just make sure the battery is fresh (no more than a month or 2 old) and have them do a free load test on the battery to make sure it is in good shape.
Thank you, I did not know that Walmart can do the test on the battery. What about Costco??
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Dec 23, 2003
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romsan04 wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 1:44 pm
Thank you, I did not know that Walmart can do the test on the battery. What about Costco??
Walmart that has an Active Green and Ross can do a test. Another test facility is Mr. Lube and Parts Source. These are the 3 places I know that do free testing. I don't believe Costco can do testing as they don't even install batteries.
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Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
11340 posts
4630 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Remember to do some basic maintenance on the battery before testing (ie clean terminals, check/fill fluid levels, charge battery). Otherwise, the battery may test poorly due to a low charge rather than a battery in poor health.
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Jul 25, 2015
392 posts
159 upvotes
Burnaby, BC
I filled up the battery last night. It was easier than I thought, following your advice. I didnt remove the battery though as there was plenty of space to work from above. Each cell took about 50 to 75ml of distilled water. Some pictures below. Also I cleaned it up a bit. The build up was in the negative side. I mistakenly had mention that its on the positive side.
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