How to Restore a Car Battery: Simple Steps

I know how frustrating it can be to replace a battery in good condition. Fortunately, there is a way to restore an old car battery and give it a new lease on life.

First, you’ll need to gather some materials, such as distilled water, baking soda, and a battery charger. Then, you’ll need to check the battery’s voltage and clean the battery before replacing the battery cell solution.

In this article, I will walk you through restoring your car battery and give you tips on maintaining it so it lasts for years.

With this guide, you can save money on buying a new battery and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Tools and Materials Required

car shop full of tools

Tools Required

Restoring a car battery is not difficult, but you will need some basic tools to get the job done. Here are the tools you will need:

  • Manual battery charger
  • Multimeter or voltmeter
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool or toothbrush
  • Battery terminal cleaner
  • Funnel

These tools are essential for restoring your car battery and can be found at your local auto parts store or online.

Materials Required

In addition to the tools, you will also need some materials:

  • Distilled water
  • Epsom salt
  • Baking soda
  • Safety goggles and gloves

Distilled water is used to refill the battery cells, while Epsom salt is used to create a solution that helps remove the buildup on the battery plates.

Baking soda neutralizes any acid that may have spilled during the restoration process. Safety goggles and gloves protect your eyes and skin from harmful chemicals.

Restoring a Car Battery

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Wear protective gear like gloves and goggles to avoid harmful contact with the battery acid.

orange eye safety glasses

Remove metal jewelry, such as rings or bracelets, to prevent electrical shock. Also, ensure that the area you are working in is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling any harmful fumes.

Step 2: Testing the Battery Voltage

Before continuing, it is important to test the battery voltage to determine if it is still viable.

Using a voltmeter, test the battery voltage by connecting the positive and negative leads of the voltmeter to the corresponding battery terminals.

The battery must be restored if the voltage is below 12 volts.

Step 3: Remove the Battery

The next step in restoring your car battery is to remove it from the vehicle.

Use the appropriate tools to loosen and remove the battery cables from the terminals. Once the cables are removed, carefully lift the battery from the vehicle and place it on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area.

Step 4: Clean the Battery Terminals

Using a wire brush or battery cleaning tool, clean the battery terminals and cable connectors to remove any corrosion or buildup.

Step 5: Emptying and Cleaning the Battery Cells

Next, you will need to empty and clean the battery cells.

Remove the battery caps and pour out the old battery solution. Rinse the battery cells with water and dry them with a clean cloth.

Next, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water in a plastic container. Stir the mixture until the baking soda is completely dissolved.

Then, dispense the cleaning solution into each cell using a funnel and let it rest for four hours.

Afterward, empty the cells from the cleaning solution and clean them with distilled water.

Step 6: Replacing Battery Cell Solution

Now, it’s time to replace the battery cell solution. Mix a new battery solution by combining distilled water and Epsom salt.

The ratio should be one part Epsom salt to three parts distilled water. Fill each battery cell with the new solution.

Step 7: Recharging the Battery

After replacing the battery cell solution, it’s time to recharge the battery.

Connect the battery to a charger and let it charge for several hours. Monitor the battery while charging to ensure it doesn’t overcharge.

Step 8: Testing the Battery

After recharging the battery, test the voltage again using a voltmeter. If the voltage is now above 12 volts, your battery has been successfully restored.

By following these simple steps, you can restore your car battery to its former glory and save yourself the cost of purchasing a new battery.

It’s important to remember to take good care of your battery to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Now that you’ve restored your car battery, it’s important to take preventive measures to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips to keep your battery in top shape:

Regular Inspection

Regular inspections are key to preventing battery failure. I recommend checking your battery every 3-4 months for signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks, leaks, or corrosion on the battery terminals.

man checking car engine for maintenance

If you notice any damage, it’s important to replace the battery immediately to prevent further damage to your vehicle.

Proper Charging

Proper charging is essential for maintaining your battery’s health. Overcharging can damage your battery, while undercharging can cause it to lose its charge more quickly.

I recommend using a smart charger that automatically shuts off when the battery is fully charged. Avoid using a fast charger, as it can cause the battery to overheat and shorten its lifespan.

Avoiding Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures can cause your battery to fail prematurely. I recommend storing your vehicle in a garage or covered area during extreme heat or cold.

red car at the shop

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, consider installing a battery insulation kit to protect your battery.

Using a Battery Tender

A battery tender is a great way to keep your battery charged and healthy during inactivity. I recommend using a battery tender if you plan on storing your vehicle for an extended period.

A battery tender will keep your battery charged without overcharging it, ensuring it’s ready to go when needed.

Wrapping Up

Restoring a car battery can be a simple and cost-effective way to extend the life of your vehicle’s battery. With the right tools and techniques, you can revive an old battery and get it working again.

Remember always to take safety precautions when working with car batteries. Wear gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

These tips and techniques can restore your car battery and get back on the road confidently.

However, it’s also worth noting that not all batteries can be restored. If your battery has physical damage or is too old, it may be time to replace it.


Video Reference

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About Alex Robertson

c3c9d43f1f0d14c4b73cb686f2c81c4e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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