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If you have a lead-acid car battery that is not working properly and you do not want to spend on a new one, then you must consider reconditioning it instead. These batteries decline in their performance when sulfur accumulates on the battery’s lead plates, which lead to corrosion and the blocking of electric current. Fortunately, there is an easy and affordable way to recondition your car batteries. If you carefully apply Epsom Salt, otherwise known as magnesium sulfate, you can remove the accumulated sulfur and restore your car battery to its normal operating condition.

All About Lead Acid Batteries

Batteries found in cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors are lead acid batteries and they are the most economical battery being used. Compared to a lithium ion battery, the construction of a lead acid battery is simple; however a lead acid battery differs greatly in weight which is one disadvantage. Another disadvantage of this battery is the fact that they can be useless after being left dead for a short period of time. As such, this particular type of battery works best, if they are left with a full charge.

Lead acid batteries are unable to hold a charge for several months. If you jump start these batteries you will notice that your battery will not operate the same way it used to. The main reason to this is that the battery’s lead has been exposed to uncharged raw acid when the battery discharges slowly over time. This then results to the battery rusting, that prevents the flow of electricity and ability to charge properly again.

Reconditioning Your Battery

Magnesium Sulfate or Epsom Salt can be easily found in department stores, pharmacies and other health and beauty stores. Epsom Salt is affordable and you can purchase it in different quantities.

You will need to warm up a quart of distilled or rain water to about 150 degrees, but make sure that it does not boil. Then mix in 10 table spoons of Epsom Salt into the water and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Once the salt has dissolved, you can then pour the warm solution into your battery where you usually put water to maintain the acid levels. Remember that you must not put the Epsom Salt directly into your battery as it will not dissolve in the acid alone. As the battery will be low on fluid at this point, the solution will not cause the battery to overflow. If you have an average sized battery then you must only add about ½ quart of the Epsom Salt solution into the battery.  Once you have been able to add the solution, do not forget to place the caps back on and shake the battery gently to combine all the chemicals.

This process of reconditioning batteries can be done three to five times before the cells wear out. It will work most of the time, but the circumstances vary. Thus, if the cells are severely decayed, then you will not be able to recondition it.

Reconditioning Low Maintenance Batteries

Low maintenance batteries will require more work to recondition, while some batteries will have caps that can be removed at the top to easily maintain the acid levels. The reason low maintenance batteries have sealed tops is to prevent evaporation, however it also prevents reconditioning. Such batteries may have shadow marking on the top plastic that shows the holes into the battery cells. You will need to drill holes into this plastic to be able to pour the warm Epsom solution. Then have the holes plugged in with plastic hole-caps.

If you decide to purchase a new battery then you must consider purchasing batteries that can be easily maintained. You can also invest in a charger to keep your unused batteries charged to prevent such a problem from occurring in the future.

Valerie Allaine is a freelance writer specializing in natural car maintenance. She regularly contributes articles to