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#1 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 11:18 AM
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Maintenence Free Battery?

I have a 2008 Base Rav4 which I purchased about a year ago. So I don't know if this is the original battery.

I would like to know if this is really a "Maintenance Free Battery"? Why I ask? Because it has indicators showing the state of the battery and one of them is "Add Distilled Water"! I am not worried for now because I am in the OK status.
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 11:33 AM
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It's maintenance-free until it is not. To add water, I think you have to peel off those stickers.

In my battery, I can shine a small bright light into the "eye" in the dark. That lights the electrolyte, and I can see the level more readily through the translucent case.

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#3 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by vanib View Post
I have a 2008 Base Rav4 which I purchased about a year ago. So I don't know if this is the original battery.

I would like to know if this is really a "Maintenance Free Battery"? Why I ask? Because it has indicators showing the state of the battery and one of them is "Add Distilled Water"! I am not worried for now because I am in the OK status.
Yes, that's the original Furukawa battery. They don't last very long in the V6 models, but seem OK on the 4 cylinder. Don't put too much faith in that "magic eye" indicator--it only shows the state of one cell. One of the other cells could be bad and you would never know it.

And no, it's not really a maintenance free battery. If it were, it would be totally sealed without removable caps.

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#4 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 12:03 PM
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...

And no, it's not really a maintenance free battery. If it were, it would be totally sealed without removable caps.
Thanks, this is what I was thinking but I was a little puzzled by the "Maintenance Free" .

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#5 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 12:15 PM
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FWIW

When/if you do add water, use distilled.

"Don't tell me I'm in denial because I'm not!"

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#6 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 12:21 PM
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Also, cleaning battery terminals as part of your maintenance schedule is recommended as well.

Twice a year wouldn't be overkill, but once a year is probably good. Even if the cables look good - it's good to clean them. It's one of these 'ounce of prevention' type of maintenance things.

"Maintenance Free" may be a bit mis-leading for some.
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#7 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 02:04 PM
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"Maintenance Free" may be a bit mis-leading for some.
I think it is correct that maintenance is not required to maintain the warranty or at all for that matter, and the great majority of these batteries are simply replaced when there is any deficiency. It's nice to have the option.

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#8 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 02:09 PM
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Carbon is right......peel off both stickers that say Maintenance Free Battery and unscrew the caps with a large phillips head screwdriver. The electrolyte level will be much lower than you expect. They are easy to overfill so be aware of that. A good flashlight is essential.

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#9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 02:49 PM
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Having been the RMA person and also having worked in QA for a battery manufacturer and seller, if a battery actually is maintenance-free opening it will shorten its life since the designed internal pressure is necessary for elements in the gas and electrolyte which are produced in use to recombine with the elements in the plates. There is an internal valve which is designed to vent excess pressure, which if the battey is correctly designed, will only occur if the battery is abused, usually by sustained or high voltage/amperage overcharging. We have had several maintenance-free batteries in various vehicles which have lasted for years with no maintenance apart from keeping the llids and terminals clean. The exceptions were two Delcos in different cars, one which died prmaturely and the other developed a cracked case and leaked.

Apparently the Furukawa batteries were either badly designed or improperly manufactured since there have been many forum comments about failures and problems such as low electrolyte levels. It will be interesting to see how well and for how long the Johnson Controls batteries as in my '11 RAV function.

Jim
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#10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 03:18 PM
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So if the electrolyte is low, I suppose I would still add distilled water. it's either that or I discard the battery, right?

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