How To Refurbish Car Batteries

Ideally, a used car battery should be replaced with a brand new one once its’ useful life is almost over. However, a new car battery is not exactly cheap. If you want to save money, refurbish your car battery.

Most car batteries have a solution of sulfuric acid and water making them “lead acid” batteries. As sulfur forms on the battery’s lead plates, the battery’s performance goes down. By using magnesium sulfate in the form of Epsom salt plus distilled water, you can remove any sulfur that forms on the plates. Doing this can improve your battery’s performance thereby extending its life.

  • Prepare your materials and tools. You need the following items:
    • 3 tablespoons baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon warm water
    • ½ gallon of distilled water
    • ½ pound Epsom salt
    • Small bowl
    • Old toothbrush
    • Old newspapers
    • Rubber gloves
    • Safety goggles
    • Battery charger
    • Funnel
    • Crescent wrench
    • Drill
    • Plastic plugs (depending on battery type)
    • Rags

      You need to use distilled water because regular tap water has chemicals that may cause damage to the car battery.

  • Remove the battery. Lay out several layers of old newspapers on the floor or on a worktable. Wear your rubber gloves and safety goggles. Get your crescent wrench and begin loosening the cables of the car battery. Remove the cables from the battery then take out the whole battery.
  • Clean the battery terminals. In a bowl, mix the baking soda and warm water until the mixture turns into paste. Apply this to the battery terminals. Use an old toothbrush in cleaning the battery terminals. You need to clean the terminals so that the contact points connect well once the battery is back in the car.
  • Prepare the Epsom salt solution. Place the Epsom salt in the distilled water. Mix the solution well until all the salt is dissolved.
  • Take out the battery cell caps. Slowly remove each battery cell cap one at a time. Drain the water found inside the car battery. In case you have a sealed type battery, look for the shadow plugs on top of your battery. You will need to drill a hole through the plugs before you can drain water from the car battery.
  • Fill the cells with the solution. Get your funnel and place it in the first cell. Fill the cell with the mixture of distilled water and Epsom salt. Move on to the next cell and fill it until you have filled all the cells. You may need to shake the car battery slightly to make sure that the solution is distributed well within each cell.
  • Charge the battery. Using your battery charger (which is set to slow) charge the battery for 24 hours.
  • Reinstall the battery. Take out the battery from your charger. Close the caps. In case you have a sealed type battery, make sure you have new plastic plugs and insert these into the holes you drilled earlier. Reinstall your car battery. Check the cables if they are fastened properly. Test your car battery.
  • Repeat the whole process. To complete the whole refurbishing process, you will need to repeat the charging procedure above at least 2 to 3 more times during the following week.

Refurbishing your car battery can be done at home. You can use a solution of Epsom salt and distilled water to improve your car battery’s performance. If you are unsure about what you are doing or your battery’s performance has not improved even after refurbishing, consider replacing your used battery with a new one.


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