How to prevent sulphation on batteries

Sulphation is the number one cause of early failures in lead-acid batteries in vehicles. But there are ways of preventing or slowing down de-sulphation.


Sulphation is the formation or build-up of lead sulphate crystals on the surface and in the pores of the active material of the batteries’ lead plates. It can lead to loss of cranking power, longer charging times, excessive heat build-up of your vehicle’s electrical system, shorter running times between charges, and ultimately shortening the battery’s life.

Batteries naturally self-discharge 1% to 60% per month (depending on the battery type and temperature) while not in use and sulphation will begin occurring when the State-of-Charge (SoC) drops below 100%.



  • Cold will slow the process down and heat will speed it up. Storing batteries under 250 AH on concrete floors will not cause them to naturally self-discharge faster than normal.

  • Physically inspect for leakage or damaged cases, remove any corrosion, clean and dry the tops of the batteries to remove possible discharge paths from dried battery electrolyte, and clean the terminals.

  • If the battery is in a vehicle, remove the negative connection from the battery to eliminate the additional parasitic (key off) discharge. Use a suitable tool such as the Gunson vehicle memory saver (4148) to prevent loss of security and or radio codes.

  • If the battery has filler caps, check the electrolyte (battery acid) level in each cell. If required, add only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to the recommended level, but do not overfill.

  • Fully charge and equalize levels in wet (flooded) batteries, if required, and recheck the electrolyte levels when the battery cools.

  • Store a battery in a cold dry place, but not so that it will freeze, and where it can be easily recharged. The freezing point of a battery is determined by the SoC and the higher it is, the lower the freezing temperature.

  • Do not use a cheap, unregulated “trickle” charger or a manual two stage charger which was not designed for “float” charging or you will overcharge your battery. A less desirable alternative to float charging would be to periodically test the State-of-Charge. When it is 80% or below, recharge. The frequency of testing and recharging will depend on the ambient storage temperature.


De-sulphation will restore the battery to full capacity, thus increasing its performance and durability. In our experience this conditioning process is very successful at extending the life of an automotive battery.

Our battery chargers feature a patented de-sulphation method, which effectively removes sulphur from the lead plates, thus reversing the negative effects that the battery is experiencing. Not only that, the Traction Charger Sulphation Recovery System allows for an automatic progression from de-sulphation to charging, so that the user doesn’t have to remember to switch the battery from de-sulphation state to a charging state. This extra functionality is unique to Traction Charger and present in the MPL50 product.

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