Hey Folks, JD here with SurvivalCrackas and today I’m going to tell you how to Restore a Car Battery.
BUT – before I do that, I want to go into some important things first, such as how batteries work, why they fail, etc.
Table of Contents
Basics of Battery Operation
Batteries are vital in our society, an upper level on the scale of ability for humankind. They give us the power to store and manipulate energy. They are everywhere from our watches, cars, computers, pacemakers to the space shuttles and the space station. The more complex a society is, the more omnipresent and the more dependent we are on batteries and other technology.
A big downside is that most batteries have a limited lifespan and although replacing some is relatively inexpensive, replacing others can be a big blow to our economics. Thus anything we can do to reduce that blow is something that deserves our attention. That is the reason for this article. The subject is such that I divided it into several parts.
The first part is dedicated to the lead-acid battery restoration. They are the most broadly used rechargeable batteries today and replacing them has become quite expensive due to the continually rising cost of the lead and lately the sulphuric acid.
We find these types of batteries in:
- Uur cars
- Electric vehicles
- Golf cars
- Solar power systems
- And more
How Does a Battery Work and why do batteries fail?
The simplest batteries, better call cells, are composed of two lead plates, one charged positive (lead oxide), and one charged negative (lead), with a chemical solution between them, generally a watery solution of sulphuric acid. The most complex ones have a larger number of cells, but the basic principle is the same.
Batteries produce a direct current (DC); it always flows in the same direction.
When you use a battery (discharge), the chemical reaction is releasing electric energy through the negative terminal. The reaction of the lead and lead oxide with the sulphuric acid produce lead sulphate, water and releases electric energy (electrons). If you discharge the battery too much, you will have mostly water and lead sulphate that in such conditions tend to crystallize.
When you charge a battery, you put electrons (electric energy) into the battery through the negative terminal, that energy activates the lead sulphate breaking it into lead and lead oxide and sulphuric acid. That causes a chemical reaction which stores electricity.
The electric current is produced by the presence of a surplus of electrons from the negative plate that flows toward the positive plate that has a deficiency of electrons via the sulphuric acid.
In summary, the chemical reaction which stores electricity in the battery involves the transformation of lead sulphate in an aqueous environment into the lead on the negative plate, and the lead oxide on the positive plate, and an aqueous solution of sulphuric acid. Conversely, when the battery is used (discharged), the interaction of the lead and lead oxide with the sulphuric acid produces, lead sulphate, water and electric energy (electrons). These reactions work in both directions.
What can be done about it?
Obviously, mobility is one of the key components of survival. The average human can’t move more than a few miles per day on foot, especially when carrying heavy bags and supplies (which is also why Bug Out Bags are great). The same human can travel 1000 miles per day in a car, provided there is enough fuel AND the car is in decent condition. A vehicle provides a safe environment – it offers protection from the elements and is an excellent place to sleep (much better than sleeping in fields).
Maintaining a car requires specialized knowledge – an unreliable car in a survival scenario is like gambling with your life at the stake. If your car refuses to start while you’re being chased by zombies – it’s game over, man!
To ensure that your car works when you want it to, the batteries need to be firing at full power. If you’re still lost after reading this, check out my blog post for more clarity:
In this article, you’ll learn how to restore a car battery (read – how to not die if the SHTF)
Replacing car batteries with new ones is an expensive affair. You can save money by reconditioning your old car batteries instead. This is not as complicated as it sounds – even if you’re not a very technical person. The instructions provided in this article are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. They’ll help you save time, money and you’ll learn a useful skill – for FREE!
If your car batteries do not have enough grunt to start the automobile, they need replacing or restoration. However, if your battery has undergone physical damage, then it is best not to tamper with it and get a new. Signs of physical damage include melted plastic casing, dents in the body, burnt wires etc. The average life of a car battery is four years. If yours is older the four years – it requires restoration, especially if you have problems starting your car despite charging your batteries frequently. Also, if the battery registers a reading below 12 Volts on a Voltmeter, it has undergone sulfur corrosion and needs to be reconditioned.
Car batteries contain lead plates and acid. Over time, the plates become deposited with sulfur and this causes corrosion. The process is called sulfation. In order to restore your car battery, you’ll need: Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), a funnel and storage container (both should be non-metallic), baking soda (not baking powder – ask for sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3), distilled water, wrench and replacement plugs (plastic). You also need a three stage battery charger – make sure that it is a charger for lead acid batteries.
How to Restore a Car Battery
- Turn off your car and allow the battery to cool for about an hour.
- After that, lift up the hood and detach the battery – use a wrench to disconnect the negative cable first, followed by the positive cable.
- Make sure that your wrench is not touching any other metal parts or you might experience a small jolt of electricity.
- Once the cables have been disconnected remove the battery carefully (It is a tad heavy).
- Now, remove the plastic caps on the top of the battery cells. Underneath, you will find marks where the cells have been sealed.
- Use a power drill to make a hole in these marks (cover your eyes with safety glasses).
For this next bit, wear some gloves to protect your hands and empty the contents of the cell by turning the battery upside down over a storage container (non-metallic).
- Gradually add small quantities of baking soda to the container. This neutralizes the liquid.
- Repeat this procedure for all cells.
- Cover the storage container tightly and keep it aside – you’ll need to take it to a facility where hazardous waste is disposed.
- Now, mix one part Epsom salt into three parts of warm, distilled water.
- You should have a quart of this solution for one cell.
- Pour the solution into the cells, shake it around for a bit and let it sit.
Here’s how you complete the job:
- Connect the three phase charger to the battery.
- Make sure that it is off – connect the positive cable first and then the negative cable.
- Set the charger to 12 Volts and switch it on. Let charge for 12 hours.
- Cover the drilled holes with replacement plugs and place the battery back into the hood and connect it to the cables (positive first).
Congratulations, You have now successfully restored your battery!
Repeat the above mentioned procedure every week for four weeks. This will get rid of all the sulfur deposits.
Understand that restoration is possible only if sulfution has not caused irreparable damage to the lead plates.
In some cases, there is simply too much corrosion and hence there is no point in attempting restoration. Still, it is quite common for old car batteries to be restored using the above mentioned method. So give it a try.
Here is a video to help you understand the process better:
Want to read more on this topic? We’ve got some more amazing blog posts you’ll enjoy, check them out below:
- How to Fix a Dead Cell in a Car Battery
- What Is Battery Reconditioning?
- EZ Battery Reconditioning Review
For more Videos, Tutorials and More – Check out EZ Battery Reconditioning.
I’ve also got a full Review of EZ Battery Reconditioning here.