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Frequently Asked Questions About Battery Reconditioning
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Gaston Plante invented the lead-acid battery in 1859. Early batteries were placed in glass jars and stored in wooden boxes. Batteries now are much safer, more efficient and are much more user friendly.
What is a battery?
A battery is a small chemical plant, which stores energy in the plates. Lead acid batteries are chemically charged with pure sulfuric acid and pure distilled water. This solution is called “Electrolyte.” The sulfuric acid enters the clean pores of the plates causing a normal chemical action.
When a battery is discharged the lead active material of the positive plates combines with the sulphate of the sulfuric acid forming lead sulphate (crystallized state). When the battery is charged the sulphate returns into the electrolyte (liquid state) and the cycle continues until a problem begins to evolve.
Why do Batteries Die Prematurely?
In the United States battery replacement is a 17 billion dollar market. Around 75% of these “starting”, “power”, “stand-by”, “industrial”, “marine” and all types of lead-acid batteries have stopped working prematurely, due to the accumulation of lead sulphate crystals on the plates, while the remaining 25% is due to mechanical failures.
The number one cause of mechanically sound battery failures occurs when Lead Sulphate crystals turn abnormally hard and clog the plates. Sulfuric acid cannot enter the pores and the battery starves to death. Sulphation occurs naturally in a lead-acid battery, however during the charge phase some crystals remain, accumulate and harden between plates to the point that normal charging will not break them down. The other 25% of batteries fail prematurely due to mechanical failures.
What is the difference between reconditioning and everything else?
You might have heard that putting an aspirin in a battery would make it go longer. You heard that adding water will cure it all. You may have also heard that heavily charging the battery will give it more power.
There are a lot of myths about batteries. In fact battery technology has evolved slowly over the past 50 years. Sure there are gains but the process has remained the same.
So what is the difference between reconditioning, rebuilding, juicing and spiking? Rebuilding a battery is an old method of taking the battery apart, draining the acid, replacing the plates and completely rebuilding the unit. Juicing the battery, also known as super charging, is the process of taking a weak battery and charging it beyond its normal needs with the hopes it will have enough “juice” to live a little longer. Spiking a battery is a process of placing foreign substances or products that will shock the plates or the electrolytes.
None of these methods will extend the life of the battery for over three months other than reconditioning. Reconditioning is a process of adding the appropriate chemical to the battery and properly charging the battery to its desired needs.
How do I maintain my batteries?
1) Maintain Water Level. If your battery has removable vent caps, you should regularly check the water level and add water when it is low. Do not add acid as it may alter the chemical composition and cause the battery to fail more quickly. You should add water when the lead plates of the battery are exposed. To avoid damage, maintain the electrolyte level slightly above the plates.
2) Keep Terminals Clean. Visually inspect the terminals and cables at least once a year, especially in hot temperatures, for signs of corrosion. If dirty or corroded, clean the connections with a scraper and wire brush. This will ensure a good connection and proper starting.
3) Keep Case Clean. Keep the top of the battery clean of heavy dirt and oil with a cloth dampened by ammonia or a 50/50 solution of baking soda and water. Then rinse with clear water and allow to thoroughly dry.
4) Keep Battery Charged. If your vehicle is not driven weekly, it may be necessary to charge your battery before use. Lack of use is hard on a battery, especially an automotive battery that is designed to be charged regularly by an alternator. Any unused battery, regardless of its chemistry, will self-discharge over time and, if allowed to remain discharged, will undergo severe positive grid corrosion and battery failure. The rate of discharge depends on the type of battery and the storage temperature. So, it's important to keep your battery charged. Have BatteryFixers.com test your battery.
5) Keep the rest of your vehicle or machine’s components properly operating. A well-run machine will increase the longevity of each component.
Before storing your battery, you should:
1. Clean the battery case and terminals with baking soda and water.
2. Check the water level and add water if needed.
3. Test your battery with a hydrometer and/or a voltmeter to ensure the battery is fully charged.
4. If needed, charge your battery. Batteries stored in a discharged state are susceptible to freezing, sulfation and an increased rate of discharge. A fully charged battery will not freeze unless the temperature reaches approximately 80°F below zero. But if discharged, it can freeze at 32°F.
5. Simply starting your car and letting it idle does NOT sufficiently charge the battery. To fully recharge a battery with your alternator, the vehicle must be driven. Highway driving provides the best charge. However, we recommend that you use a battery charger, instead of relying on your car's alternator, to fully charge a discharged battery.
Store your battery in a dry, cool, well-ventilated area—the cooler the better without going below 32°F—and out of the reach of children and pets. Check the water level and state of charge every 45-60 days. If needed, add distilled water and charge.
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