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Fact About Maintenance Free (MF) Battery

Did you know – a ‘maintenance free’ car battery does not last as long as a normal car battery?

The truth:

The term of maintenance-free battery is only half true. Lead-acid batteries usually consume some of the distilled water during a normal charge-discharge cycle. It actually electrolyses into hydrogen and oxygen and escapes as gas. So adding distilled water periodically is necessary to keep the plates flooded.
Cross Section of Car Battery Diagram
Maintenance-free batteries use calcium alloy of lead instead of an antimony alloy which is able to sustain the water longer without refilling, but certainly not forever!
Any abnormal electrical system condition or high ambient temperatures may boil off more than the normal amount of water. However, adding water may extend the service life of these supposedly maintenance-free batteries.

How to Add Distilled Water into Maintenance Free (MF) Car Battery

  1. Locate the Maintenance Free (MF) battery under the car hood.
  2. Locate and unlock the distilled connector cover on the maintenance free battery. For my maintenance free battery cover, I unlock it with 10 sen coin. For maintenance free car battery, usually there is only one cover to pour the distilled water into the battery.
  3. Maintenance Free (MF) Car Battery Cover

    Maintenance Free (MF) Car Battery Cover

  4. Loosen up the maintenance free battery cover.
  5. Maintenance Free (MF) Car Battery Cover

    Maintenance Free (MF) Car Battery Cover

  6. Pour the distilled water into the maintenance free battery.
  7. pour distilled water into maintenance free battery

    Pour distilled water into maintenance free  car battery

  8.  Close and tighten back the cover and you are done. 
Especially in places with consistent or all year round hot climate (tropical weather or desert areas), the ‘maintenance free’ battery will not achieve it’s full life span and will fail prematurely. Adding distilled water is still required for maintenance free battery in order to optimize its life span.
Tip: Though using ‘maintenance free’ batteries maybe convenient, but it’s definitely not as economical as a normal car battery as it tends to fail earlier. So be a little hard-working and use a normal car battery which requires refilling of the water. =)
Test: A simple statistic was calculated to estimate the lifespan of:-
a) Maintenance Free battery (claim – 2years) actual 8 months or 1.5 years
b) Normal battery (claim – 2years) actual – from 2 years to up to 4years with proper on-time maintenance
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8 thoughts on “Fact About Maintenance Free (MF) Battery”

  1. Jamil says:

    Hi Kelvin,
    Just read your article on MF battery. Very informative, but frankly, I’m just too lazy to top it up. Maybe due to my age. When I was younger conventional batteries were the norm.

    1. Kelvin Ang says:

      Hi Jamil,
      nice to see you here again.
      I am the budget saving mode, I will still go for conventional car batteries. After all, we just need top up the distilled water once a year 🙂

  2. amad says:

    as for lifespan of free maintenance battery, i can get 2 years exactly without adding the distilled water as ur suggestion.. using same car as urs vios 2008 n already 3rd time change battery.. so 2 years every battery, 3 times change so already 6 years, same as my car’s age..
    1. toyota brand 2010
    2. toyota brand 2012
    3. century marathoner 2014

    1. Kelvin Ang says:

      Hi Amad,
      thanks for telling us the history of your car batteries.
      Currently I am using back the old, normal distilled battery back to enjoy the longer battery life span from Toyota brand 🙂

  3. moncler vest says:

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  5. admin says:

    No problem, sharing is caring. Do share with the person who required this information 🙂

  6. youtube says:

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