If you own a car, it is common knowledge that new batteries can be quite expensive. People frequently think they must discard a dead battery and shell out a lot of money for a new one. However, what if we tell you that we know a way that you can rebuild your dead car battery?
When your car battery dies, you can rebuild it using two straightforward procedures: reconditioning and refurbishing. Battery rebuilding is an alternative to replacing your battery with a new one every time it dies. Rebuilding batteries is a typical practice to extend battery life.
This article is an excellent starting point if you want a DIY guide for rebuilding a car battery. Here, we’ll address your questions about rebuilding car batteries and walk you through the necessary procedures and tools.
Table of Contents
- What Does Rebuilding a Car Battery Mean?
- What’s the Difference Between Reconditioning and Refurbishing When Rebuilding a Car Battery?
- Step-By-Step Guide on Rebuilding a Car Battery from Start to Finish
- Why Should I Rebuild My Car Battery?
- Signs to Look Out for When Rebuilding a Car Battery
- Final Thoughts
What Does Rebuilding a Car Battery Mean?
Car lead-acid batteries go through a process called sulfation due to continuous use. This means that when your battery charges and discharges, it releases sulfate residues on the lead plates. When this happens, the efficiency of your lead acid battery will experience a steady decline as the sulfate deposits accumulate on the lead plates.
When rebuilding a car battery, its internal components, such as the electrolyte and lead plates, are changed or repaired so that it can once again store charge and function properly. Whether the rebuilding procedure is performed by an expert or you choose to do it on your own, Having the right knowledge and tools is essential.
Similarly, if you plan to restore this essential component, it’s critical to understand whether your battery needs refurbishing or reconditioning. You can prevent additional damage that would result from a wrong diagnosis by being aware of what your battery needs.
What’s the Difference Between Reconditioning and Refurbishing When Rebuilding a Car Battery?
Both “reconditioning” and “refurbishing” are interchangeable terms when discussing how to improve a car battery’s capacity to retain charge and function as intended. However, there is a slight difference between them.
The key distinction is that while battery reconditioning involves improving a battery’s functionality by recharging and discharging, refurbishing involves enhancing battery performance through cleaning, testing, and changing some internal components.
Step-By-Step Guide on Rebuilding a Car Battery from Start to Finish
When rebuilding a car battery, the tools you need depend on the battery type and the required work. However, a few standard tools include:
- Battery charger
- Battery tester
- Battery Terminal cleaner
- Battery separator
- Rubber gloves
- Face mask
- Safety goggles
- Distilled water
- Steel wool or Toothbrush
- Flathead screwdriver
- Epsom salt
- Baking soda
It’s crucial to keep in mind that some of these tools might not be conveniently available in a typical toolbox. Therefore, we advise you to hire an expert or purchase the necessary equipment if you decide to carry out the operation on your own.
Consider these 10 simple DIY steps when rebuilding your car battery at home
Step 1: Make a Cleaning Solution
Make a thick paste from a mixture of baking soda and water in a 2-to-1 ratio. You can use this concoction to clean batteries and cover-up acid spills.
Step 2: Completely Clean the Battery
Once the cleaning solution is ready, apply the cleaning paste to the posts and use a toothbrush to scrub away the buildup if the cell terminals are rusty. You’ll be able to tell if the solution is effective if it produces foam. To clean off severe corrosion from batteries, use steel wool. The terminals must be thoroughly cleaned, wiped down, and dried.
Step 3: Conduct a Battery Test
After cleaning, testing your battery to ensure that it will react adequately to the rebuilding procedure is necessary. The battery’s reading must measure a minimum of 12 volts. However, if your reading indicates between 10 and 12 volts, you can recondition the device to get it functioning back to normal again.
N.B: If you’ve recently recharged the battery, there’s no reason to test it once it drops below 10 volts. It’s advisable to get a replacement instead. Also, using a battery tester to check the car battery will yield more precise results.
Step 4: Get the Electrolyte Solution Ready
It is necessary to change out the battery’s electrolyte solution when rebuilding a car’s battery.. Ensure you have the solution ready before commencing this step so that you may use it immediately. First, heat up two cups of distilled water to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, then add 170 grams of Epsom salt.
Step 5: Remove the Cell Caps
For easy battery access, remove the battery cell caps. Be sure you put on protective clothing so as not to expose yourself to battery acid. If you’re working on a sealed battery type, you must look for the shadow plugs and carefully bore through these to access the battery cell holes because they are covered.
Step 6: Drain the Battery Cells
If you haven’t already taken the car’s battery out, you ought to at this point. Get a container as well as baking soda handy. First, remove the battery cover and detach the cell covers using a flathead screwdriver.
Next, fill a container with the contents of each cell one at a time. Baking soda can be added either as you go or when all the cells are empty. The baking soda will neutralize the acid, making it safe for disposal.
Step 7: Clean the Battery Cells
Fill each cell with the cleaning agent using a funnel. Put the battery cover and cell caps back on safely. Next, shake the battery vigorously for at least one minute. Remove the seal, then pour the solution into the acid waste container.
Step 8: Fill Cells With Battery Solution
Mix 4 cups of distilled water with 110 grams of Epsom salt. Stir until you get clear water. Hot water helps speed up the process, but you can also use cold water. Next, refill the cells with the new electrolyte using a funnel. Cover the cells and shake the battery to distribute the salt.
Step 9: Recharge Your Battery
You should carry out this step carefully. Begin by choosing a secure location to set up. Removing the battery caps once more is a good idea since the electrolyte solution may heat up and spill during charge. Use a slow charger for your battery with a speed of 12 volts and 2 amps. Your battery will need to charge for about 24 to 36 hours before you can test it.
Step 10: Test Your Battery
When examining the battery’s condition, first unplug the charger and check the reading. Then, charge it once more for another twelve hours if the charge is less than the standard reading of 12.4 volts. After reinstalling the battery, switch on your car with the headlights in full beam and then carry out a load test.
Conduct another load test and check your battery’s voltage on a voltmeter. A 9.6 volts reading means the rebuilding procedure is successful.
Why Should I Rebuild My Car Battery?
Your car battery may need rebuilding for a number of reasons:
1. To Restore its Functionality
Over time, the battery’s lead plates may corrode or sustain damage, which lowers the battery’s capacity to keep a charge. However, one can rebuild the old battery to regain its proper operation.
2. To Enhance the Battery’s Performance
Rebuilding your battery can boost performance if it isn’t retaining a charge or working as well as it once did.
3. To Save the Cost
If the battery is still functionally sound, rebuilding it is definitely a less expensive alternative than purchasing a new one.
4. To Reduce Waste
Rebuilding a battery rather than purchasing a new one can be an excellent approach to cutting down on waste and benefiting the environment.
Signs to Look Out for When Rebuilding a Car Battery
Visually inspect the battery before attempting to rebuild one for a car. You can start by answering these questions:
- Is the battery cracked?
- Is the battery swollen in any way?
- Are the terminals defective?
- Is acid dripping from the battery?
- Is there any coloration anywhere?
You should not rebuild this battery if you answered “yes” to any of these questions since they indicate irreparable damage. Instead, either get a replacement or buy a new battery.
However, if you do not see any indication of irreparable problems after a physical examination, you can safely repair the battery. To ensure a seamless process when rebuilding a car battery, there are a few factors to bear in mind:
- Safety measures: When working on the battery, ensure you put on a face mask, gloves, and safety glasses to guard against acid spills, fumes, and lead particles.
- Battery type: Ensure you use the right battery type for your car and that the replacement parts are compatible with the battery.
- Tidy space: Ensure the work environment is neat and clutter-free in order to avoid contaminating the battery.
- Tight connections: Verify that all connections are secure and the terminals are spotless and corrosion-free.
You must be relieved now that you know how to rebuild a car battery and won’t have to spend money on a new one. However, it’s crucial to remember that repairing a car battery involves considerable technical know-how and some special tools.
Therefore, we recommend you obtain expert advice for rebuilding to prevent potential risks and guarantee the battery’s functioning.