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What is Sulfation?

Sulfation is common in batteries that sit for periods of time between uses, such as in secondary vehicles, pleasure boats, motorcycles, off-road vehicles or personal aircraft. Sulfation is the primary cause for battery failure, and is a result of repeated swings from a discharged state to a charged state, overcharging and hot climates.

Sulfation occurs when sulfuric acid or electrolyte breaks down, causing lead sulfur crystals to coat the lead plates inside the acid battery. This interferes with the battery's ability to convert chemical energy to electricity, weakens the electrolyte solution and lessens the battery's ability to accept a charge. Sufficiently advanced sulfation will render a battery useless, and can happen in as little as six months to a year.