Batteries are essential because they perform specialized functions in vehicles. One central role of batteries in cars is providing the power that is needed to start the vehicle engines. A car cannot start without a battery because a lot of electric energy is required to ignite the engine during starting. Besides providing the power that is needed to start the engine, batteries are also necessary because they support other systems of the car such as the lighting system, the hooting system, the air conditioning system, and the security system. When batteries start leaking, their efficiencies drop significantly, and the amount of energy that can be drawn from them also decreases.
The following reasons explain in details why do batteries leak-
1. When the Cells are Damaged
When batteries are discharging while in operation, the electrolyte in their cells reacts with the elements of the plates to generate the electrical energy that is required to support the load. When the cells are damaged, the chemical reaction is affected, and the electrolyte begins to ooze out of the battery through the cell caps.
2. A Faulty Vehicle Alternator
When the alternator has an electrical problem, it can deliver excess power to the battery. The excess energy is dangerous because it increases the rate at which the chemical reaction takes place between the electrolyte and the lead plates. The excess power causes the electrolyte to start boiling forcing it out of the cell caps.
3. A Broken Battery Casing
When a vehicle is driven for an extended period on a rough and demanding terrain, the excess engine vibrations can result in cracks on the battery compartment. These cracks act as passage points through which the electrolyte oozes from the battery.
4. Improper Battery Storage
It is always advisable that batteries should be stored in a cool and dry place. If a battery is stored in an extremely hot environment, the lead plates will expand causing the electrolyte to expand. Once this happens, the battery compartment bulges outwards resulting in cracks which later cause the electrolyte to leak out of the battery.
5. Extremely Cold Weather
During cold weather, the electrolyte in the battery freezes and expands increasing in volume. The increase in volume exerts an outward pressure on the inner battery compartments leading to cracks on the inner surfaces of the battery. These cracks result in leaks when the electrolyte melts back to its normal state.
6. Excess Electrolyte in the Battery
When refilling the battery with the electrolyte, sometimes the refill is not accurate, and one might end up adding excess distilled water or excess sulphuric acid to the battery. If the solution is overfilled, it will overflow resulting in leakages.
7. Extremely Hot Environments
When the temperatures surrounding the battery are excessively high, the cell plates will expand. The expansion will cause them to increase in volume pushing the electrolyte out of the battery through the cell caps resulting in leakages.
In a nutshell, it is vital to understand why do batteries leak because battery leakages can be very dangerous. Furthermore, leaking acid is hazardous to the environment and should always be handled with a lot of care and caution. A battery that is leaking should always be neutralized using a base compound such as baking soda before touching it. After that, one should wear safety gloves when handling a battery that is leaking.