A battery is one of the most vital elements of your car, and it is critical to understand how it works.
Understanding the automobile battery will help you avoid any unexpected failures.
All automobiles, whether internal combustion engines, hybrids, or electrics, require a battery.
Some automobiles include a backup battery and may have a battery bank that connects many batteries.
Vehicles like RVs, trucks, tractors, power equipment, motorbikes, Powersports machines, snowmobiles, four-wheelers, and solar power backup systems, to mention a few, use similar batteries.
Regardless of the vehicle, the fitness of your battery is critical, so make sure you check on it frequently.
And in case, your car shows the signs of a dead battery, there are a few methods you can try to restore it.
Recovering a Dead Car Battery
When embarking on a long journey, make sure your battery is in good condition or, better yet, bring a backup battery or a battery bank with you.
However, if your car odometers show thousands of miles or even if you have not yet pulled out of a garage, and your car battery becomes ‘dead,’ you may attempt various repairs to assist you to revive it.
The following are 7 DIY ways you can revive your dead car battery:
1. Add Distilled Water
When the electrolyte level is low, you can add distilled water to check if it works.
It may be enough to fully immerse the plates in water and allow for a bit of additional boost. Which would be more than enough for the engine a few more rotations.
Keep in mind that your car battery is responsible for starting up the car through electricity.
Most car batteries run by way of a chemical reaction that generates power.
This reaction can make water evaporate from the battery itself, and when there is too little water in the battery, more will need to be added to make up for it.
This is normal especially for older car batteries, as they will usually need to be topped up every couple of months.
This can be done by removing the cap from the battery and filling each of the cells of the battery one by one.
2. Make use of Epsom Salt Solution
If the cause of the problem is low electrolyte levels, making an electrolyte solution with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) will also sometimes help restore the car’s battery.
Epsom salts are stronger acids that contain a series of hydrates that help to imbalance the chemicals and provide enough charge to start the engine.
Dissolve 1 part of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in 3 parts of warm distilled water to make a solution of distilled water and Epsom salt.
Add electrolytes to each cell until the plate is covered with 14-12 electrolytes.
3. Hand Cranking Procedure
To make this happen you will need tools like ropes, wedges, safety rubber gloves, and a toolbox.
This is a pretty mechanical way, as the name implies, and it is difficult if you are alone or do not know anything about automobiles.
The procedure also necessitates the use of tools; as is customary, always keep your toolbox handy.
Hand cranking is a very ancient mechanical technique that necessitates the use of accessories such as an axle stand to offer additional support.
Before you start hand-cranking, jack up your rear wheel and make sure the front wheels are clean for greater traction. Do this while the engine is running.
Cover a rope around the driving wheel and spin the wheel in the typical direction. Then, with a strong tug, flip the engine over and start the engine.
4. Apply the Chainsaw Method
For this, you will need safety rubber gloves and a chainsaw.
This approach necessitates some knowledge of automobiles and engines. But if anyone can pull it off, it’s you. Keep in mind that this is a potentially dangerous practice.
You should begin by removing the blade and the chain from your chainsaw.
Then it’s time for the pulleys to be removed so that it resembles a wheel with spokes protruding from one side.
Next, attach both ends of the alternator belt to either end of the sprocket using two distinct holes on each sprocket.
You can use zip ties to tighten it if necessary.
And now, you’re on a level to start charging your battery. But ensure there are no gaps between since air entering these places may generate electric sparks.
5. Using Aspirin or Acetylsalicylic acid
Consider yourself in a truck in the middle of nowhere, on a distant camping trip, with just a few bottles of water and aspirin at your disposal.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid or C9H8O4), believe it or not, may be used to chemically modify the electrolyte balance.
Crush 12 400 or 500 mg aspirin pills and dissolve the powdered aspirin in roughly 6 oz of warm, pure water to form an aspirin and distilled water solution. Then, in each cell, add an equal quantity.
For the plates to be covered, it may require more water.
6. The 18-Volt Drill Battery Technique
You will need an 18-volt drill battery and jump leads to apply this technique.
The only difference between this procedure and the common jumpstart method is that you are not utilizing the battery of other cars to jumpstart yours.
This requires a fully charged 18-volt drill battery and a jump start cable that may be purchased from car stores.
You must build a temporary connection between the dead battery of your car and the 18-volt drill battery using jump leads or other modifications.
This permits the drill battery to connect to the dead battery in the same way as a typical jump-start technique would.
7. Using Hot Ash
The hot ash approach should only be used as a “last resort”, that is after all other options have been exhausted.
To begin, start a fire and keep it burning until it turns into ash. Then take the dead battery’s filler caps and lay them on the hot ash.
Ensure that it doesn’t catch fire by doing this cautiously.
After the battery has gotten warm enough, put it back in the car and start the engine. Keep an eye on it and ensure it doesn’t catch fire.
Does Baking Soda Revive Car Batteries?
Yes, you can fix your dead car battery with the help of baking soda.
In many cases, it works and for many, it doesn’t, but you can at least give it a try.
- Mix a pound of baking soda in a gallon of distilled water
- Pour this baking soda water solution into the battery of your vehicle making sure it does not overfill
- Next, shake the battery for about a minute. This will allow the solution to get distributed throughout the battery
The reaction between the baking soda water mixture and the acidic corrosion present on the battery terminals will neutralize the acid, which can most probably fix the dead car battery temporarily.
Can You Rejuvenate a Car Battery with Vinegar?
Vinegar is a naturally low acidic liquid that may be used to revitalize a car battery from interior to exterior.
Whether you’re attempting to produce a spark to turn the battery over or cleaning terminals for a more suitable connection, pure white vinegar can assist.
But, how does this acid work in reviving an old battery?
To comprehend this, you must first grasp what a car battery is constructed of.
In automobiles, lead-acid batteries are used. The battery, which goes by the term lead-acid, is made up of lead and acid.
The lead plates are used as electrodes, and they are submerged in an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water.
In layman’s terms, electrons are liberated and current is created as a result of the plates and acid contained inside.
Because the battery is made of sulfuric acid, the idea of utilizing vinegar within the battery arises, as vinegar is also an acid.
Follow the given steps to rejuvenate the car battery with vinegar:
Step 1: Remove the lid from your distilled white vinegar container.
Then pour the vinegar liberally over the positive and negative battery connections.
Step 2: Allow 20 to 25 minutes before wiping down the terminals.
The vinegar may froth and bubble white during this time; this is normal.
It’s eliminating the rust that was preventing the battery from producing a strong spark.
Step 3: Using the grease rag, clean the terminals.
Be careful to remove all of the frothy white and crusty material from the terminals.
This will improve the fit of the positive and negative wires on your battery, allowing it to charge more efficiently.
It’s fine if you have to get the oil rag wet.
Step 4: Remove the battery’s cap. Not all batteries have openable tops.
Because they require “no maintenance,” newer batteries feature sealed lids.
Step 5: Get the distilled white vinegar into the turkey baster.
Squeeze the baster bulb to allow the vinegar to enter the open cap region.
Step 6: Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the vinegar’s PH balance to reach the battery.
This causes a chemical reaction, allowing the battery to charge sufficiently to turn over.
Step 7: Start the engine.
Give it a little gas when you want to turn it on to assist ignite the connection better. Your car should start.
Then run the car for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the alternator to fully charge the battery.
And this is how you revive and charge your old car battery by using vinegar.
A Few Additional Tips for Preventing Car Battery Damage
To keep your battery in good shape, do the following:
- Change your batteries every few years. It has a lifespan, so ensure you are aware of it so that you do not exceed the specified number of years.
- Check the acid level of the battery every six months or as advised by your mechanic.
- Last but not least, avoid overcharging your battery.
What Kind of Water Should You Use to Fill Your Battery?
Many individuals just want to run to the nearest faucet and fill up water for the battery there because it is convenient and readily available.
Unfortunately, car batteries can be sensitive to any old tap water. This is because tap water has certain minerals and other natural materials that could cause the battery to corrode.
These impurities can build up on the battery cell’s plates and ultimately reduce its capacity, therefore bringing down its useful life.
For this reason, it’s good to use bottled water instead of tap water to fill your car battery.
If you ask me – the best options for filling your car battery are deionized or distilled water.
These types of water don’t have the same minerals that you’ll find in tap water.
Before using, take a look at the label and make sure that it is either one of these types of water before using it.
The car battery has ionized electrolytes that have to be diluted with water.
By using deionized water, you can be sure that the water will dilute and not add to the charge of the battery.
Distilled water has no mineral deposits like calcium which are commonly found in water springs. The neutrality of this water makes it better for filling a battery.
When filling your car battery with water, be sure you don’t pour in too much.
Too much water can damage the battery and either break it or significantly lessen its lifespan.
When the car battery is being used or even just charging, the battery’s electrolyte levels increase.
Overfilling the battery can make the electrolytes overflow from the cell.
Electrolytes are corrosive, which means they can damage the battery and the area around it as well.
Beyond that, putting in too much water can make the electrolyte solution too diluted, which could result in an underperforming battery.
How Often Should You Refill Your Car’s Battery with Water?
While there is no set rule on how often you should do this, there are a few things you should pay attention to and consider when deciding when to check your battery:
- Consider the age of the battery, as older batteries need attention more often.
- Consider the quality of the battery, as better quality batteries will lose water at a slower pace.
- Consider the air temperature–the hotter it is outside, the faster a battery will need to be refilled.
- Consider the usage, as most of the water loss will occur when the battery is being charged.
Checking your car’s battery can be done in one of two ways.
You can look at the external level indicator that is usually printed on the outside of some batteries.
If your battery doesn’t have that, you will need to visually inspect each of the cells to ensure that the water level is where it needs to be.
Ensure that the water is completely covering the plates inside of the cells.
Getting a new car battery is an expensive event that may cost you hundreds of dollars.
If you are short on funds or have outstanding expenses to pay, you may want to save those hundreds of dollars for other necessities rather than blowing it on a car battery.
In such circumstances, you should consider reconditioning and revitalizing your old batteries.
Yes, battery rejuvenation works, and in some situations, you may restore the old battery to its full fitness and charging capability.
Take care of it so that it can look after you. Make sure you have the equipment you need to repair your battery in case it dies.
Based in Orem (Utah) John Paterson graduated from Utah Valley University and has begun writing in 2009. He has a large wealth of experience in writing articles related to cars, automotive repair, wheels, cleaning/maintenance, and much more. He has also written instructional articles in a similar niche for a few online publications as well. Currently, he works as a mechanic in his personal garage shop where he loves serving his countrymen from his heart.