How should I service my car battery?

battery Battery Service When it comes to your vehicle the battery is one of the most important items.  It not only starts your vehicle but without it the vehicle will not run. Overtime batteries release chemicals and the terminals corrode and can cause a poor connection resulting in a vehicle that will not start or resembles a vehicle with a poor battery.  It is simple to clean the posts on a battery.  I will describe how to properly clean the posts and maintain your battery to insure that it has the longest life possible.     The Procedure

  1. First you will need to park your vehicle and pop the hood.
  2. Locate the battery posts and the clamps connected to them.
  3. WEAR RUBBER GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION WHILE WORKING ON BATTERIES.  If you come into contact with battery acid immediately rinse with water for 15 minutes.
  4. Loosen the nut or bolt holding both clamps on.  Take care not to arc your wrench across the battery terminals or against the metal of the vehicle.
  5. With both clamps loosened remove the negative - battery cable first.
  6. Once that is removed you can set it aside and then remove the positive or + battery cable and set that aside.
  7. With the cables removed it is time to inspect the battery posts and connectors.  Likely they are white and look all corroded.  This is due to the corrosion and the chemicals released from the battery.
  8. To start the cleaning process, take baking soda and sprinkle onto the posts and battery clamps.
  9. Then take a mister and mist water onto both the post and clamps.  You want the baking soda to be wet.
  10. Take a wire brush, such as this ATD8239 Wire Brush, and rub it onto the posts with baking soda and clean them off.  Continue onto the next post and then the clamps.
  11. After you have finished cleaning the posts and the clamps wipe them off with a rag.  If they are still corroded repeat the baking soda wire brush process again until they are clean.
  12. With the clamps completely clean it is a good idea to check your battery to determine if it is in good condition, and needs to be replaced or not.
  13. The first thing to look at is the date stamped on the battery.  If there is a date stamped, check this date.  It will tell you how old the battery is.  If the battery is more than 4 years old, depending on the conditions that it has been used in may need replacement.
  14. After you have checked the date you can then go ahead and check the battery’s specific gravity of the cells.  To do so you will need a specific gravity tester such as this THX117 Battery Tester.  You will then use this to check each cell of the battery and record the readings.  Check them in accordance with the chart on the tool.  This should be right around 1.2 per cell.
  15. Now that you have tested the specific gravity of the battery you can go ahead and test the voltage across the terminals of the battery.  To do so you will have to make sure your battery has been disconnected from the vehicle for a couple hours to remove the surface charge.  If you don’t do that step then your readings will be higher making it look like you have a fully functioning battery.
  16. To do the test simply take a multimeter such as this ATD5519 Multimeter.  Test across the battery.  If the voltage is lower than 11.9 volts then the battery is in a discharged state.  You can try step number 17 to bring the battery back to charged state.
  17. Before reinstalling your battery clamps it is a good idea to place a slow trickle charge on your battery.  This will help it to recover if it is in a deep state of discharge  If you don’t have a trickle charger this Solar Battery Charger will work well.  It will allow you to charge the battery at a rate of 2 amps per hour which is good for a deeply discharged battery and will automatically shut off once the battery is charged.
  18. After placing the battery on a trickle charger and insuring that it is fully charged you are ready to move onto reinstalling the battery clamps.  Before installation place some petroleum jelly on the battery posts.  This will help slow the corrosion process.
  19. Reinstall the positive + battery cable first and snug it up.
  20. Then reinstall the negative -  battery cable last.
  21. Then reinstall the cover on the + battery cable to insure that nothing is shorted to the battery.

You just fully serviced your battery yourself and hopefully fixed any starting problems that you may have encountered. Written by: Cody Mammenga an NDSCS Student

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,