How to Repair a Car Battery

Learning how to repair a car battery can save you money and time. Most of us have experienced a dead car battery at least once in our lifetime. Trying to figure out the cause can prove to be frustrating. There are a number of scenarios that can contribute to your car battery being drained.

Many situations can cause a car battery to become weak, dead, or bad. You need to know how to tell the difference between a bad battery, and one that can be salvaged.

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Parasitic loads can suck the power out of your battery, without you noticing until it is too late. A parasitic load usually happens because of a shorted-out wire or because a light has been left on, such as your trunk or glove box light. These items continue to take your battery power, even while your car is not in use.

Dirty terminals can prevent your battery from charging properly. This is easy to fix by simply cleaning the terminals off and making sure that they are reattached firmly. Your terminals are the only contact point on your battery.

If these terminals become dirty, your battery will not be able to pick up the charge from your alternator. In newer vehicles, the corrosion can be harder to see.

Another common scenario is when a car has been sitting for a very long time. When a car battery sits for a long time, the water that is inside of it can evaporate. This water is critical for the chemical reactions to take place that gives your battery power. No water equals no power.

A live voltage meter can be helpful here. These meters can be plugged into a cigarette lighter to register the battery voltage in real time. This can help you to see if you have any charge at all. A low charge may indicate you just need to jumpstart. However, no charge usually means you need to try to determine if the battery is permanently disabled.

Car batteries are composed of six cells. It is possible to have one or two cells go bad independently. If this happens, a voltmeter will still show you that you have good voltage.

However, when you try to start the car, the battery will not have the proper cranking amperage to turn the starter. Your starter motor is the strongest electrical motor in your car and it needs the proper amperage to start your car.

In some cases, you can recondition your car battery. If your battery is above 10 volts, you may be able to recondition it. Reconditioning your battery can be a great alternative to purchasing a new one.

Make sure to have safety goggles and gloves whenever you are working with battery acid. You should also have pure baking soda nearby, as it neutralizes the acid. These simple safety precautions must be put into place, prior to working with battery acid.

To recondition your battery, first you pop the caps off the top of the battery. You should check your acid levels to make sure they are holding a charge. If the levels are correct and you are still not holding a charge, you are going to have to remove the acid.

You will need three cups of 150 degrees Fahrenheit distilled water. Add one cup of Epsom salts and stir until the salt is dissolved. Next, you will want to remove the old acid from the battery into a large plastic bin. Holding the battery away from your body, slowly pour the old acid out.

You will need to hold the battery in a way that avoids splashing. Then pour baking soda into the acid so it can be properly disposed of. Replace the caps on the top of the battery.

Once the caps have been reinstalled, shake your battery for a couple of minutes. The next step is to again pop the caps up slightly and place your battery on a 12v 2 amp trickle charger. It is important that you charge your newly reconditioned battery slowly. This can take around 28 hours to fully charge, depending on the size of your battery.

For safety reasons, it is important you always pop your caps. The chemical process, during the charge, creates a gas. Wait twenty-four hours and retest the battery to see if it is holding a charge.

Learning how to repair a car battery is a great skill to possess. It doesn’t take many materials and it is far less expensive than purchasing a new battery. In less than a day, you can rejuvenate your battery and it will be in healthy working order.

Our Top Pick For Battery Reconditioning

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