How to Restore Old Car Batteries


A dead battery is the most common reason a car won’t start. With time, a number of issues can affect the normal functioning of a battery, such as faulty wiring or dried-up battery cells. However, restoring an old, dead battery and bringing it back to life is an easy project.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • Jumper cables
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 12-volt battery charger
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Open the car hood by pulling the knob beneath the steering wheel. Keep the hood open with the propping mechanism if it doesn’t stay open on its own.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the lid from the battery cells. If the battery cells are dried up, fill them up about 1/2 inch from top using distilled water only. Replace the lids on the battery cells.

  • Remove the wiring from both terminals of the car battery using pliers or a wrench. Clean the battery terminals using a wire brush. Use the brush to clean the inner wiring hole, too. Apply a mixture of 2 tsps. baking soda in 1 cup of water on the wiring connectors as well as the battery terminals. Reconnect the wiring cables to the battery.

  • Connect the old battery with a standard 12-volt AC car battery charger. Plug the charger into a standard 110V outlet. Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal and the black clamp to the negative terminal of the car battery. Keep charging until the meter indicates that the battery is fully charged. Remove the battery charger and close the car hood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Read the charger’s manual before using the battery charger.
  • Make sure you do not spill tap water inside the cells.
  • Don’t let the red and black connectors of the charger touch each other.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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