How to Get the Maximum Shelf Life of an SLA Battery

While the manufacturer estimates of shelf life or lifespan of an SLA battery varies significantly, some claiming as much as 12 years, the general rule of thumb is 3-5 years. Several factors can influence those numbers so we’re here to have a look at what those factors are and how you can maximize your battery’s life.

A few things that we know influence the battery life include depth of discharge, temperature, number of discharge cycles, quality of battery, storage location amongst others so let’s have a closer look.

Temperature – do your best to avoid heat especially during storage. Cool, dry space is the best for storage. Some batteries, like for powersports equipment are naturally going to be exposed to more extreme conditions which will impact lifespan, but they are built to accommodate, especially the AJC Pro battery.

Discharge – depth of discharge can be another important factor to influence the battery longevity. Shallow discharges are better, in fact most will suggest not letting the battery discharge below 50% wherever possible.

Overcharging – this can have a big impact on reducing the life of a battery and typically the quality of the charger can be a key factor. Make sure to get a decent quality charger and follow any instructions on charging provided by the manufacturer.

Charge Regularity – even when stored, the battery should not sit discharged for an extended period. A trickle charger can help for long periods of storage or recharge regularly to maximize lifespan and prevent sulfation.

Inspect – we always encourage battery owners to visually inspect their battery regularly. Check for cleanliness and buildup and give it a cleaning if there’s too much debris or build-up. Also check the casing to make sure there is no bulge or buckle which can happen from excessive overcharging.

While these are among the main influences in maximizing the shelf life of an SLA batteries, there are some other factors that may be beyond your control.

Battery Position – SLA batteries are designed to be quite versatile which is great when you need to work around complex structures like engines and frames. Ideally though, batteries like to be upright especially during storage as it may lead to uneven distribution of electrolytes.

Vibration – some SLA batteries are exposed to pretty extreme conditions. Some have to accommodate steady and constant shaking, others have short bursts of bumping and bouncing. Over time, these can add stress to internal components and accelerate plate degradation. Not a whole lot can be done to prevent this, it’s just nature of the products but know that it could be a factor if your SLA battery isn’t lasting as long as you want.

Manufacturing Date – while AJC batteries have a pretty quick turnover, some manufacturers may not. If a battery spends too long on a shelf in storage it may already be compromised and most likely won’t last as long as one that was built more recently and spent less time on a shelf.

Ultimately there are a few key factors that influence the lifespan of an SLA battery though some are less valuable than others and some may be beyond your control. If there is one thing that could help ensure maximum battery life it would be charging. Ensure you have a good quality charger. Make sure to keep the depth of discharge above 50% where possible. Keep charging regularly and don’t overcharge. These are tied to the overall number of usable cycles a battery goes through so make it more of a priority if you don’t already.