How To Recondition A Car Battery That Won’t Hold Charge

It can be frustrating to deal with batteries, especially in everyday transportation. There are many reasons a battery won’t hold a charge, which most likely is due to the accumulation of lead sulfate crystals on the plates inside the battery. 

However, you can recondition your car battery at home easily with a few easy steps that help clean off the sulfates, replenish the electrolyte solution, and allow your battery to be refurbished and function well again.

Find out if your battery needs reconditioning

Before battery reconditioning can occur, it is essential to determine the condition of the battery and the car to know the most effective way to do it. Also, this can be an indicator to determine if a new battery is needed. Several tests can be conducted to confirm what is wrong with the battery. Among these are the following:

  • The physical condition of the battery

The battery’s condition may be why it’s not holding charge anymore. Check for any damages, leaks, bulges, or cracks. Any sign of this means the battery needs to be changed and not reconditioned. Sometimes, age too can affect the battery’s ability to hold a charge, which also calls for a change.

  • Turn on Headlight

Depending on the brightness of the headlight, you can determine if the battery is the problem. If the brightness is full, the battery is okay, and the problem is something else; however, a dimmer light means the battery needs to be reconditioned.

  • Test battery Voltage

A way to test for battery voltage is using a voltmeter. It has two lead connectors, red and black. The red connects to the positive side of the battery and the black to the other side. The voltmeter will display the battery voltage reading. If the reading is 12.6V or higher, then it means that it is good and doesn’t need battery reconditioning. However, a lower reading that falls between 10V and 12.6V calls for battery reconditioning. Any lower than these values mean swapping the battery with a new one.

  • Check for Corrosion

The battery terminals are made of metals that can be corroded over time. Any rust on the terminals can be cleaned with baking soda and distilled water. Use a toothbrush to rub the paste to the terminals to clean it. Wipe the terminal with a clean cloth. Additionally, sandpaper or steel wool can be used for more severe rust.


Get items needed for battery reconditioning

Based on the method of car battery reconditioning chosen, some items have to be in place to get the expected result. Here is a list of all the things needed for reconditioning of a battery by the ways stated below:

  • Protective gear
  • A battery charger
  • Voltmeter
  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic funnel
  • Distilled water
  • Epsom salt
  • Baking soda
  • Steel wool
  • Toothbrush
  • Buckets 
  • Specialized battery reconditioning chargers
  • Aspirin

Different ways to recondition a car battery

There are different ways to recondition a car battery after you may have carried out the necessary test to determine whether the car battery can be refurbished or not. Some of the ways are listed below:

Epsom Salt solution

Epsom Salt solution serves as an electrolyte that helps balance the chemicals in the car battery and deliver enough charge to power the car engine. The ways to use the Epsom Salt solution is highlighted below:

  • Getting the battery ready: Wear your protective gear and remove the battery from the car. With the screwdriver, pry open the caps of the battery’s cell and set them aside.
  • Empty the battery cell: Pour out the content of the battery into a bucket to avoid contact with the body as the content is acidic and can cause burns. Add about 10 ounces of baking soda to the content poured out of the battery to neutralize the acidity. Dispose of the content appropriately. 
  • Clean the battery cell: Then, mix baking soda with distilled water in another bucket and pour the content into the battery with a funnel; cap the battery and shake. Open the cap again and pour out the content from the battery. This helps neutralize the remaining acidic content inside the battery.
  • Replace battery cell solution: Take about 7 to 8 ounces of Epsom salt, add it to a half quart of heated distilled water at 1500F and leave to dissolve and mix the solution thoroughly. Use the funnel to pour the Epsom salt solution into the battery and shake to distribute the solution evenly. Seal the battery with its cap back.
  • Recharge the battery: Charge the battery using a trickle charger, connecting the positive cable to the positive terminal and the negative line to the negative terminal. Charge according to the charger user manual.
  • Test the battery: After the battery has charged for 24-48 hours, Test the battery with a voltmeter; if it has a reading of 12,4V or higher, it is set. Reading of a lower charge will require additional charging.

Use of smart Charger 

This method uses intelligent chargers that can be bought in stores to restore battery charges. The charger comes with two cables, red and black, to connect to the battery’s terminals. Below are the steps to use a smart charger to restore your battery:

  • Understand the charger manual: each battery charger is different with their settings. Read the user manual well and understand what settings are needed to help recondition your battery.
  • Connect the terminals:  connect the red cable from the charger to the battery’s positive terminal and the black line to the negative terminal.
  • Set the amperage: some batteries automatically are set to work on the lowest amp, but others have to be set. Set the charger to the lowest amp before charging your battery to get a good result from the reconditioning. 
  • Test the battery: After about 24 -48 hours, disconnect the charger and test the battery. The battery will likely already be charged, and reconditioning will be complete.

Use of a 200Amps charger

This process uses a powerful charger to produce up to 200A of power to the car battery. This is the most dangerous reconditioning technique as it produces a lot of energy and has risks such as a battery explosion. The steps to take are stated below:

  • Connect the terminals: The red and black cables are equally connected to the positive and negative terminals with the smart charger.
  • Charge the battery: Set the amperage to 200A and charge the battery for about 15 minutes. Then disconnect the charger and let the battery rest for about 45minutes.
  • Check the voltage: Use the voltmeter to check the volt of the battery. If it is up to 12.6V, the battery is charged; otherwise, repeat the process 4 or 5 times. After that, you must wait till the next day to try again.

Use of Aspirin Solution

Using Aspirin solution is not common but can be a way to alter the electrolyte mix of the car battery. This method can fix when stuck on the road with little resources. The way to use Aspirin solution is listed below:

  • Get the battery ready: Disconnect the battery from the car and remove the cap with a screwdriver.
  • Prepare the Aspirin Solution: in about 6 ounces of water, mix 500mg of powered Aspirin tablet and mix thoroughly.
  • Recondition the battery: Add an equal amount of the Aspirin solution to each car battery cell and cap the battery back. Give it about an hour, and the battery should be reconditioned to get you to your destination.

Necessary cautions to take when reconditioning a battery

Some precautions can be taken to minimize the risk of injury when reconditioning a car battery. They are

  • Choose a well-ventilated area: Make use of an open space that is not humid or damp and gives you the freedom to move about during reconditioning.
  • Wear protective gear: Your protective equipment includes eye goggles, hand gloves, flip flops, and aprons. This helps protect you from any spill or splatter that may occur during reconditioning.


Reconditioning of a car battery is easy to do; although it can take a lot of time can be a way to save time and money. However, before you recondition a car battery, make sure you have all the necessary items and take all the required precautions. I hope this article has helped you learn some vital details about car battery reconditioning and can choose the way best suited to you for reconditioning.

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