Maintenance free battery oozing?


I wanted a maintenance free battery, when the original Toyota battery in my Sienna was 5 years old. Since I travel a lot in Mexico and a failure can be horribly expensive, I try to anticipate problems such as a failed battery.

So, I bought a maintenance free battery. Now it seems to be permitting liquid to appear on the top of the battery. I washed it with water and baking soda. Is this probably a bad battery seal, or an overactive alternator, or is it normal for a maintenance free battery?


Check the voltage. It should be about 14.4v with the car running. If it’s higher, the voltage regulator is bad or a sense wire has a bad connection. If it’s lower, the battery is bad (shorted cell) and overheating.


If it has those rectangular caps (2) on top of the battery, you might have some fluid on top. Those things pry off with a screwdriver and you will see the usual three holes under each cap. If the top of your battery is completely flat then you shouldn’t see any fluid, ever.


This reply is a test function to see if I can reply to my own posting.


It’s not normal for a maintenance free battery to produce fluid on top or anywhere else. If the battery is new, I suggest you take it back where you bought it. They can test your charging system to determine whether or not the battery is overcharging.


“Maintenance Free” means little. It’s a flooded cell lead-acid battery and “residue” can accumulate on top. A SEALED gel or AGM type will remain clean and dry.


I went out and looked and it’s a Delco Professional. And, it has two rectangular things on top, but they do not look as if they expected to be often taken out, unlike the regular battery is.

Yeah, I think I got gypped. Or, I should say I gypped myself with help. Thanks.

My meters are in Mexico, so I will have to wait until I go back to check voltage unless I get time at Autozone.

I do try to anticipate failures, since it is hard to get stuff in rural Mexico. I imagine a reverse battery (reversed polarity) is not easy to find out there.

Thanks. I posted this as a minor question, helping final test, and did find a booboo which they promptly fixed.


Goner and LTH batteries are available throughout Mexico, even in the boondocks. If you are driving a 50’s British car which uses positive ground, just connect the battery that way. There is no such thing as a “reverse polarity” battery. They all have a positive and a negative post. YOU decide how to connect the cables…


Say what? There is only so much room in a Toyota Sienna battery compartment, and on this model, they specified a battery which is the same as another battery, but the negative and positive posts are reversed. The cables are not long enough to reach clear across the battery Please don’t talk about things you know nothing about.


Can’t you just turn a normal battery around?


I’ve forgotten more about batteries than you will ever know…

Post configuration does not equal “reverse polarity”.
24C or 24F. Same battery, just the posts are on the opposite corners. In Mexico, most electrical parts stores will have 10 different batteries. It’s up to YOU to make one of them work. If you can’t figure it out, ANY Mexican mechanic will have you fixed up in a matter of minutes…


Another of my 14 hits on maintenance free batteries. I was OP on this one. Let me guess, Caddyman, you have never been in Mexico, right? There is a real good chance if a Mexican mechanic worked on my car, no matter what I told him, he’d grab a standard battery, shove it in, and connect it, wondering what that fool North American was babbling about, doing who knows what to my car.

A couple years ago, I had a flat and was trying to get ready to go back to the States, so a cousin volunteered to get it fixed. When it came back, it had hammer marks all over it. Later, driving across Alabama, it started to come apart at 70 mph. I suspect I have forgotten more about Mexico than you will ever know…

I am glad I didn’t see this response last year. Your tone is far beyond offensive and arrogant and served no useful purpose whatsoever except perhaps to make you feel real good about yourself.

My battery is not a 24C nor a 24F. It is a 24R, and I am sure R does not refer to “Post Configuration.”

I just remembered a good friend here. He had an older GM car, which kept overheating as he drove back and forth to the city. The mechanic kept replacing the engine computer at a couple hundred dollars a shot. I finally asked a few questions, and told him his radiator was clogged. In a few minutes in the city, a radiator mechanic fixed his problem by ramming around with a rod and knocking out some trash, though he said the radiator needed to be rebuilt. Yep, great mechanics.

In Mexico, most mechanics are self-taught, in most cases on VW sedans (old Beetles) and old pickups. They can be really good at removing parts and putting new ones on as long as you don’t need any diagnostic skills. In some cases, they can even cut and file and weld and make a mechanical part from one car work long enough to make it back to the border, if the bad part is obvious. The only real good mechanics are those trained by the car companies for their own business purposes. In the US, smart and mechanically inclined middle class kids go to trade schools and learn to be mechanics or a/c/furnace work and make good money. Here, the social-class-snob culture says middle class kids can’t get their hands dirty, and likewise the middle class people expect the working stiffs to work for free, so when they need good tradespeople they routinely hire them from the US or Europe.

I know very well how to use a standard battery in an emergency. Go to the back of the Sienna, dig out my jumper cables, use string; duct tape; old t-shirts; dried coyote skins; and whatever else it takes to keep the connections from shorting all over the place or catching on fire, and drive back to the border, just as the Mexican mechanic would do if he listened and understood the problem – without blowing up all my electronics first. Or, have someone drive me the 5 hour round trip to the Toyota dealer in the city for a new Toyota approved battery.

My personal preference is to try to do whatever PM and ‘replacing parts that haven’t failed, but might fail’, to avoid such problems.


The cables are too short. If that were possible, they would use a standard battery instead of specifying a different layout. Good thought, though. I had it as well, but when I checked, no go. It takes either some very specific parts which are not going to be available in Mexico, OR a cob job as I described below to make it work.

I have taken a ‘replace it before it fails’ approach trying to avoid serious problems. If something bad happens, like the transmission fails, I will just have to throw large amounts of money at it and have parts flown in from the States. If I stayed here all the time, I’d buy an old Ford F-150, but I need something to get me back to the border, then drive to the Midwest or the East Coast to visit family. The Sienna does all this, as long as it keeps running.