It can be frustrating when your car battery does not hold a charge for long.
This can cause problems when starting the car in the morning. Most car batteries consist of lead and acid.
They use chemical reactions between the acid to create a charge. The disadvantage is that over time sulfur accumulates at the terminals, which prevents the battery from functioning safely.
It is recommended to recondition car batteries a maximum of five to six times. Batteries become worn out and must be replaced after a few years.
How to do a Car Battery Reconditioning
1. Check the voltage
The voltage read on your battery determines whether your battery can be reconditioned. Charge your battery with a car battery charger and let it rest for a few days. If it is OK, you should read a voltage of 12-13 volts. However, the easiest way to check the battery is with a car battery tester or car battery load tester.
2. Clean the terminals
As mentioned above, the accumulation of sulfur on the lead plates affects your battery’s ability to deliver charge. Removing this corrosion is the first step in reconditioning. You can make your own cleaning solution by making a mixture of 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Mix the solution into a paste and rub the poles with a toothbrush while pouring the solution onto the poles.
You should do this with gloves, as the acid is still reactive. In situations where you notice excessive corrosion, you can use steel wool or 300-grain sandpaper to remove the sulfur from the poles.
3. Replace the old acid
A good battery should have a value of about 12.6 volts. Values between 10 and 12 volts mean that you can recondition the battery, but below 10 volts you are wasting your time. You need to remove the old acid from the battery and replace it so that you can measure 12.6 volts. Use a slotted screwdriver to remove the battery caps.
Many newer batteries do not have caps to refill! If the acid is too weak, you must replace the battery!
Keep a bucket near you into which you can pour the contents of the battery. Most batteries have between two and six caps. Put the caps in a safe place so that you do not lose any of them. Make sure that the acid does not come into contact with your clothing or hand. If you accidentally spill something, use your baking soda to neutralize the effect.
The crucial step in reconditioning your battery is the use of electrolytes to replenish your empty battery cells. This electrolyte is a combination of distilled water and Epsom salts. Pour the contents onto your battery cells, but do not close them with the lids. This should allow the electrolyte to overflow during charging.
If you use Epsom salt as the electrolyte, you must mix it in a ratio of one part Epsom salt and one part distilled water. Another alternative is copper sulfate.
5. Recharge the battery
This is the last step and the longest. To fully charge the battery, you should expect a charging time of 24 to 36 hours depending on the charging speed of the charger. This depends on battery chargers that work with 2 to 12 amperes. When charging, make sure that the negative terminal is connected to the black wire of the battery charger. You can tell that the battery is fully charged by checking the voltage readings. This should be approximately 12.42 volts depending on the charger.
Tips to keep your battery in good working condition
Always keep your car battery charged. A low voltage battery will damage the car in colder temperatures. Use a maintenance charger once a month to ensure that your car battery is always charged.
You do not need to wait until your car battery is completely discharged to recondition it. As the sulfate crystals form around the battery terminals, this will hinder their ability to operate efficiently. This is because the lead sulfate interferes with the electrical resistance of the battery terminals.
The more you continue to use your battery with this sulfate, the more it deteriorates. A battery regenerator will prevent this. You can also clean the battery terminals with some coke or baking soda solution.
Check the battery water level
If you have an older battery with filler caps, it is advisable to check the water level of the battery every five to six months. For wet cell batteries, the water level in the cells should almost touch the bottom of the refill hole. If the level is low, use a funnel to fill in some distilled water until it is full. Avoid overfilling a cell.
Clean battery terminals every 6 to 8 months
The battery terminals can become poor conductors if they are filled with lead sulfate. To clean them, carefully remove the battery terminals. Mix a solution of distilled water and baking powder. Use a toothbrush to remove any corrosion. Clean the area with some distilled water. After cleaning, coat the poles with some grease to prevent further corrosion or rust.
Check the battery voltage
It is essential that you carry out regular battery voltage tests whenever you service your car. This may also be done earlier if you find that your battery is not as powerful as before. A typical battery should have a voltage between 12.4 and 12.6 volts.
Inspect the insulator
Not all cars have battery isolators. These are there to protect the battery from high temperatures under the bonnet, which can quickly dry out the battery. Check if the insulator is damaged and replace a worn insulator immediately.
Take your battery for regular maintenance
After every 6,000 miles or 6 months, it is important that you take your battery to a certified mechanic for inspection. You can do this at home, but most garages have equipment that is not readily available to normal car owners.
The battery is an important component for the operation of electrical devices in the car. Since most batteries are lead-acid batteries, they lose charge over time. The poles can become poor charging conductors due to sulphate formation. To recondition your battery, you must use a solution of Epsom salts and distilled water to refill your battery cells. The battery terminals can be cleaned with a solution of baking powder and distilled water. Use a toothbrush to clean the poles. Check your battery voltage regularly for signs of malfunction.
Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. I have been working with cars for 10 years, specialized in diagnostics and troubleshooting. I created this blog because I was tired of finding false information on the web while looking for repair information. I hope you enjoy my content!