Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Chad asks: What do you think about absorbed glass mat batteries vs. standard lead acide batteries?
My reply: Both types are lead-acid batteries; the difference is the AGM battery hasn’t got its acid sloshing around inside it. Instead, the liquid acid is absorbed on fiberglass matting. The great upside is spill-proofing. Conventional lead-acid batteries often leak acid, which will corrode whatever it comes into contact with.
AGM batteries are especially popular with motorcycle owners for their spill-proofness (bikes lean when they corner and the old liquid-filled batteries would invariably drip/leak acid onto the bike’s frame) and if you dropped the bike or laid it down, it was a sure bet the acid would dump all over everything… but AMG batteries also increasingly with car owners, for that reason and also because they are lighter and hold charge better/longer. They are also less prone to losing their acid through sulfation (see here for more details).
They are more expensive – generally, about 25 percent more than an otherwise equivalent high-quality liquid lead-acid battery. But the cost is going down and even if it stayed the same, I consider it worth the extra expense for all of the reasons detailed above and because you will probably get more life out of the AGM battery. I have AGM batteries in all of my motorcycles and my classic car, which only gets driven once or twice a month. I’ve been using them for years and have found they last years longer than a liquid lead-acid battery, with the caveat that you exercise correct charging procedures for these batteries (see here for info about that).
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