March 17, 2023

How to Recondition a Car Battery that Won’t Hold Charge

A car battery must be able to hold a charge. Each time you turn your car key in the ignition, the battery creates the necessary spark to start the motor. Once the engine starts running, the alternator recharges the battery. If a battery cannot hold an electrical charge, then you won’t be able to start your car engine because everything starts with the battery.

If you end up turning your car key in the ignition but your car engine does not start, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your battery is dead and unsalvageable. You can try to recondition the battery if it does not hold a charge. Then you won’t need to spend $100+ on a new battery.

6 Steps of How to Recondition a Car Battery

Below are the top 6 steps of how to recondition a car battery. You don’t need to take your vehicle to a mechanic or anything like that. However, you will need to have the right tools in order to complete these steps. Some of which include a battery load tester, screwdriver, voltmeter, battery terminal cleaner, battery hydrometer, plastic funnel and protective eyewear. You should also be doing this in a garage.

1) Clean the Battery

Put on your protective eyewear and clothing as you get ready to prepare the battery for this process. You’d want to proceed by cleaning the terminals of the battery with a battery terminal cleaning solution. You can purchase one of these products at your local auto shop store. Use a toothbrush to scrub the corrosive residue off the terminals and posts until everything is clean.

2) Load Test

Take your battery load tester and connect it to the positive terminal of the battery. This is the larger terminal indicated by a plus “+” sign. Next, connect it to the negative terminal that has the minus “-“sign. Make sure you connect them in this order so that sparking doesn’t take place.

Activate the load tester and watch to find out if the load stays above 12 volts or not. If you see the meter stay over 12 volts, then the battery can be saved. If it drops below 12 volts, then you must replace the battery entirely because it cannot be saved.

3) Take Off the Cell Caps

If you’ve determined the battery can be saved, then you can proceed to recondition it. Put on some chemical resistant gloves first. Now take off the cell caps of the battery. You can do this by prying out each cap with a screwdriver. Stick the tip of the screwdriver into the edges in order to pry them out successfully.

4) Empty the Battery

Place a plastic bucket down. You’ll want to pour out the battery acid from the cells into the bucket. You must gently tip the battery in the opposite direction of your body as you pour the acid out into the bucket. Be very careful not to spill the acid onto your clothes or anywhere else. After the acid is out of the cells, add about 8 ounces of baking soda to the acid in the bucket. This will neutralize it.

5) Clean the Cells

Clean the cells of the battery with a mixture of distilled water and baking soda. Mix 0.5 pounds of baking soda with 0.5 gallons of distilled water first, and then pour the solution into the cells. Reinstall the caps onto the cells. Shake the battery gently for a few minutes to clean the inside of it. The battery will be heavy so you’ll need some upper arm strength. Now take off the caps and gently pour out the cleaning solution from the battery into the bucket.

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6) Refill the Cells

You’re going to refill the cells with an electrolyte solution consisting of Epsom salt and distilled water. This will boost the amps and voltage of the battery for the car. Boil 0.5 gallons of distilled water and put it into another empty bucket. Now add 0.5 pounds of Epsom salt to that bucket. Keep adding more Epsom salt until you have totally clear water.

Use a funnel to add the electrolyte solution to each cell of the battery. Fill the cells entirely with the solution. If you have any solution leftover, you can save it for the future. Reinstall the caps on the cells.

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