Protecting Your Battery: The Lowdown on Battery Boxes
Starting, lighting, and ignition: these are the main functions of your typical car battery. With such an important role to play, your battery needs utmost care and protection-that's where the battery box comes in. Battery boxes protect your batteries from corrosion and vibration. They also help vent naturally-emitted dangerous gases from lead-acid batteries outside of the cabin. From material to price, here are a few points to ponder on when choosing your battery box.
What are your choices?
Battery boxes come in various materials that have their own set of pros and cons. There are three materials that are most commonly used in battery boxes:
- Plastic: Don't be discouraged by the negative rep that plastic auto parts have gotten. Plastic battery boxes that are usually made from polypropylene and polyethylene are designed to withstand battery acid and gasoline. For casual applications, plastic is a good way to go because they're cheap and they do their job well. But if you're going to use the battery box for your relocated battery, a plastic one can be too bulky and unstylish.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel battery boxes are attractive, very durable, and safe from corrosion. A stainless steel battery box is a bit pricier than a plastic one but its biggest downside would have to be its heaviness.
- Aluminum: Aluminum battery boxes give you the best of both worlds: style and lightness. Although this type of battery box comes with a higher price tag, it is a good choice for those who want a polished, sleek protection for their battery. Since aluminum is light, hard-wearing, and offers a nice mirror finish, aluminum battery boxes are very popular among hot rods and race cars.
Other things to consider
All battery boxes offer great protection against corrosion, dust, vibration, and all the other dangerous elements. But when choosing a battery box, application is also an important factor.
Since battery boxes come in sealed and non-sealed options, you have to know what you need the box for. If it's just for added protection, a non-sealed battery box will work just fine. But for racers who have relocated their batteries, a sealed battery box with a venting mechanism is required by NHRA to keep their batteries from being loose inside the cabin.
Take note that batteries come in different sizes too, so make sure that the battery box you're eyeing is made to fit battery. Lastly, some boxes are made with holes for the battery cables and vent tube while other will still require drilling. It's best to go for one that requires easy installation and comes with all the needed hardware such as hold-downs, cable clamps, and grommets.
Protecting Your Relocated Battery with a Battery Box
Whether you moved your battery for more space in the engine bay or to even out your car's weight distribution, your relocated battery will always benefit from the protection of a battery box. Apart from protecting your battery from the elements or from too much vibration, a battery box also helps vent dangerous gases away from your car. And for the racing folks, the NHRA and IHRA require battery boxes on relocated batteries for safety reasons. While it is wise to invest on a high-quality battery box, you can save up on installation costs by doing it yourself.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Power drill
- Battery box with included hardware
Make sure not to damage any vital parts of your vehicle such as the fuel tank or the brake lines when drilling. Move any obstructions beneath the mounting area out of the way if necessary.
Step 1: Position the battery box onto the desired location. Using the hold-down plate as a guide, drill two holes through the base of the box and the car.
Step 2: Put the battery inside the battery box and mark the spots where the battery cable will exit the box.
Step 3: Drill two holes on one side of the box for the cables and another hole on the opposite side for the vent tube. Skip this step for battery boxes that come with pre-drilled holes.
Step 4: Insert a grommet on each of the holes for the cables and secure the vent tube on the opposite side's hole with a locking nut and flat washer.
Step 5: Mount the box into location and keep it firmly in place with the bolts and nuts.
Step 6: Place the battery inside the box and secure it with the hold-down plate.
Step 7: Pass the cables through the grommets and connect them to the battery. Make sure to connect the positive cable first.
Step 8: Secure the lid on the box and close all latches.
Since installing a battery box takes only a few hours and requires no special tools, it is an easy DIY job even for beginners.