Car batteries are an expensive part of your car. They will need to be replaced eventually, as they lose their charge and become less efficient over time. So, if you have a dead battery and think that you have to buy a new one, you may be paying a large sum of money in vain. It’s not just the cost, but disposing of batteries before you need to are also detrimental to the environment. There are methods to recondition a battery and have it fully functional again; you need to spend some time and effort learning how to.
Reconditioning a car battery can be done up to three or four times but no more than that. Reconditioning each time can breathe a few years of life back into your battery, saving you the money you would’ve spent on a new one. Reconditioning can revive about 80% of the functionality of the original state of the battery.
How to recondition batteries
Before you start the reconditioning process, please make sure that the battery isn’t leaking, damaged or cracked. At that point, the battery is dangerous to handle and not only is reconditioning not going to work, it is also unsafe.
Also, do not get reconditioning confused with recharging. Reconditioning involves restoring all or most of the functionality of the original state, so it can be used for several more years. Recharging only charges up the battery for a while.
Car batteries are a little easier to recondition because the tools to do so are readily available and the battery is large.
Things you’ll need
• Safety goggles and chemical resistant gloves
• Battery charger
• Lots of distilled water
• Steel wool or a toothbrush
• 1 lb baking soda
• 1 lb Epsom salt
• Plastic funnel
• Container to put the battery acid in (make sure it’s made from a non-reactive material)
Steps to reconditioning batteries
1. Prep the battery
There’s probably a lot of corrosion build-up on the battery posts, and these have to be cleaned before reconditioning.
You can mix distilled water and baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste using a toothbrush or a steel wool sponge to remove corrosion. Wipe down with just water to remove the paste and let the battery dry thoroughly.
2. Find out battery voltage
Check your battery’s voltage by connecting a voltmeter across the terminals. If the reading is below 12.6 V, you’re good to go. If the reading is 0V, it means the battery has been short-circuited and cannot be reconditioned. You will have to buy a new battery in this case.
3. Clear out the battery
Please ensure that you’re wearing safety equipment, goggles, gloves, and a coat to protect from chemical spills.
Take off the caps of the car battery using the screwdriver to push them off from under. Slowly and carefully, pour out the battery acid into a container. Then, pour around half a pound of baking soda into the battery acid to neutralize it.
4. Clean the battery cells
Mix around half a gallon of distilled water and half a pound of baking soda. Using the plastic funnel, pour the mixture into the empty battery cells. Place the caps securely back on, and spend a few minutes shaking the battery to clean the insides.
Once done, empty the baking soda mixture to a container.
5. Refill the cells
Create an electrolyte by mixing half a gallon of boiling water and half a pound of Epsom salt. Stir the Epsom in gradually into the water until it’s clear.
Use a clean funnel to pour the Epsom mixture into the battery cells. Fill it up 100% and replace the caps. Give the battery a little shake, and now it’s ready for charging
6. Charge the battery
Take the caps off again (this makes sure the electrolyte doesn’t overflow while charging). Take the battery charger and connect its positive lead to the positive battery terminal. Repeat for the negative side. Leave the battery charging for a minimum of one and a half days.
7. Test the reconditioned battery
Test the voltage of the reconditioned battery using the voltmeter. If the reading is 12.4 or more, the battery is in excellent condition. If it’s less than that voltage, keep charging the battery for another 12 hours or more. Hopefully, you should see a voltage of slightly more than 12V.