Guide to check water level in car battery

Guide to check water level in car battery

After a period of use, the electrolytic water in the car battery will be somewhat reduced. So how to check and replace battery water is an important part of battery maintenance that you should know.

1. Clean the battery

– Identify battery location: In most cases, you just need to open the cap and you can operate the battery.

  • Some batteries are located lower in the engine compartment, behind the guard bar and in front of the front wheel of the vehicle. Sometimes the battery is accessed from below and needs to be removed for inspection and maintenance.
  • Most of the batteries from BMW, Mercedes Benz and a few others are in the trunk, in a separate compartment.
  • The battery can also sit under the back seat, as is the case with some Cadillacs.

– Cleaning the battery: Before proceeding to test battery water level, it is necessary to clean the top of the battery and around the terminals. This is very important to prevent foreign objects from falling into the compartments when opening the jar. And at the same time, the clean surface helps to reduce or prevent corrosion in nearby metal structures.

  • To remove common dirt and minor rust, use a little ammonia-based glass door cleaner. Spray the rag with water – do not spray directly to the battery, and wipe off any dirt. Paper towels can also be used, as long as they are replaced as soon as they begin to disintegrate.
  • Heavy stains can be removed with a mixture of water and baking soda. Likewise, wet the rag and wipe, do not pour it directly onto the jar. Sometimes, you will need to blot the rag and wipe it over and over. Finally, use glass cleaner to wipe off this baking soda solution. Leaving baking soda on the outside of the battery will increase the rate of corrosion on nearby poles and metal structures in the future.
  • Don’t neglect: always make sure the lid of the jar is tightly closed while cleaning. Do not allow small cleaning solution or run into the flask.
  • Note: If you want, you can remove the battery from the vehicle before cleaning, maintaining and reinstalling it later. As a result, things can be safer, especially when the battery is not in a convenient position for manipulation. However, at that time, you will need to restart some or all of your vehicle’s electronics (clocks, radio channel settings, etc.). At the same time, often when there is no need to remove the battery, you will save a considerable amount of time.
  • We can also completely remove the terminals from the battery and immerse in a cup of very hot water. Hot water can dissolve rust and clean the surface of the poles. Make sure they are completely dry when reinstalled.

– Open the battery cover: On the top of the battery there are usually two rectangular covers used to seal the mouth of the compartment, which can be opened with a small plastic knife or screwdriver. If the lid does not loosen immediately, slowly pry open a few places around it.

  • Some batteries have six separate round caps instead of the one above and can be opened by turning counter-clockwise and then pulling out.
  • If it says “maintenance free” on the lid, the jar is not designed for opening. Manufacturers recommend that water cannot be added to these bottles, they simply need to be replaced when they are no longer in good working order.

– Continue cleaning if necessary: Opening the lid can help detect additional stains on the top of the jar. Continue cleaning with a rag soaked with water to clean the glass.

  • At this point, don’t use baking soda. Use a small amount of glass cleaner and be very careful that nothing (wash water, dirt, paper towels, etc.) can get into the mouth of the jar.
  • Don’t be rushed to skip this step – maintaining a clean top of the battery will reduce further rust. This is an important operation in battery maintenance that maintains a complete connection between components.

2. Check the water level in the battery

– Compare the water levels between the compartments of the tank: By looking down at each compartment through the mouth of the bottle, you can see the level of electrolyte in it. Usually the amount of solution is the same between the compartments.

  • In the opposite case, it may be because before that, a compartment was accidentally over-inserted. This can be easily corrected by wiping at the point that the level of solution in that compartment has been reduced and back to normal.
  • If there is a big difference between the compartments, there may also be a leak in the battery or a slightly cracked battery cover. In this case, you need to replace it with a new one. If you can’t find a leak, add water to the highest degree of safety: just use distilled water and check again a few weeks later to see if the water levels are evenly matched between compartments.

– Recognize whether the electrolyte is low or not: The water levels are considered too low if they do not fully cover the metal plates. When the plate is not completely submerged in electrolytic water, the battery will not be able to operate at full capacity.

  • When exposed to air, it is only a matter of time before the plate is destroyed.
  • If the electrolytic water level is only about 1cm lower than the top part of the plate, adding enough water to fully cover the plate may help the battery work again although the efficiency will be slightly reduced. If that still doesn’t work, you should consider replacing the bottle.
  • The low electrolyte water level could be due to the overcharged charging source. So if this is the case, you should consider having your car’s generator checked again.

– Know what is the normal electrolytic water level: Typically, the electrolyte water is about 3mm lower than the bottom of the wedge (extending from the mouth of the flask) or about 1 cm higher than the upper part of the pole. In this case, it may not be necessary to immediately wedge. Just close the cap and check again in three months.

– Identify if the electrolyte water is at maximum level: The highest threshold in the safe range is to touch the lower part of the shim.

  • Most wedge tubes have two small flaps on the side, near the lower part. These two lines have the effect of making the water surface slightly cambered so that the naked eye can easily recognize when the water level hits the lower edge of the tube. On the contrary, when the water is lower, this meniscus will not appear.
  • The mechanism that creates the meniscus of the liquid is designed to stop the wedge of water. You may need a flashlight to see the water level and detect the meniscus more clearly.

– Note that this is the water level only for lead acid batteries in cars: Always follow the instructions of the battery supplier or manufacturer if they conflict with the information in this article.

3. Adjust the electrolyte water level

– Only use distilled water to fill the cells of the battery: Distilled water can be purchased at grocery stores. If the electrolyte water level is low (expose the plate), fill each compartment with water, just enough to flood the plates. Then, use the charger to fully charge the battery or just run the car for a few days, the battery will automatically be charged with current from the car. Only add water as much as possible within the safe range, ie just touch the tip under the wedge, if the battery is fully charged.

  • To ensure the exact amount of water added last, use a clean funnel, sports water bottle, pump hose, etc. Be very careful not to let any dirt or cleaning solution get in. tank compartment.
  • Using tap water, filtered water or any other type of water instead of distilled water will cause mineral salts and chemicals (such as chlorine in municipal water systems) as well as other residue to penetrate and reduce age. life of the battery.

– If the battery is nearly out of power or dead, avoid filling the tank with water: If more water is to be added, it is best to just wedge enough to cover the poles (or without wedge if it is already at normal level).

  • When recharging a battery that is almost dead or dead, the electrolytic water level will rise and so a sufficient amount of space should be left (no need if the battery is fully charged before filling).
  • The electrolyte water level can also rise when the battery heats up.

– Wipe off any water spills or spills and close the lid of the jar: Make sure everything has been cleaned and put the clean lid on the jar.

  • If you accidentally over-poured the steam but still hasn’t reached the point of spilling it, it’s best to simply stop adding water and close the bottle. If spilled onto the battery surface, do not forget this is acid: avoid contact with skin or clothing.
  • Clean by wiping the water with a rag or paper towel. Avoid getting the rag or paper too wet and wire it to other vehicle parts or any objects. Crumple a rag and tissue in a bucket of water. Remember to wear gloves, do not let this water get on your hands.
  • When done, throw the clean rag or paper towels in the trash. Fill the sewer drain with water, taking care not to let the water run off all over the floor. This will prevent the acid from sticking to other things. Finally, clean all that has been in contact with the electrolytic water with a glass washcloth.
  • If you overdo it, check with your eyes weekly for a month for spills and wipe off as directed above.
  • The amount of sulfuric acid lost from the battery by accidental overflow may be small and will not significantly affect the operation of the battery. It is best not to try adding acid to compensate (excess acid will shorten battery life faster than lack of acid).

4. Safety measures when checking battery water level

– Eye protection with safety glasses: The electrolytic water in the battery is a solution of sulfuric acid: it is extremely important not to get water into your eyes as it can cause serious damage, even blindness.

  • Contact lenses do not protect eyes and can be annoying in the event of an accident. Conventional eyeglasses are also insufficient to protect eyes due to lack of side shields.
  • Therefore, wearing safety glasses is essential. They can be purchased at parts and accessories stores.

Hand protection with disposable gloves: Choose gloves that are resistant to sulfuric acid for at least a few minutes. This glove can be found at parts and accessories stores.

  • Raw rubber (latex) or vinyl gloves will not be acid resistant for long. If using them, replace them as soon as it detects that electrolytic water is attached. If left on for a long time, the electrolytic water can get into the glove and burn your hands.
  • Neoprene gloves can protect your hands for an hour or more but are difficult to get from regular parts stores. Nitrile is different from neoprene. Nitrile is less resistant to sulfuric acid than natural rubber (latex) and should not be used.

– Protect the skin: Wear old clothes with long sleeves, pants and closed shoes for as much protection as possible. If the electrolytic water falls on the clothes, the fibers will rot in a week or two, leaving a hole. Wear old clothes so you can throw them away without wasting them.

– Need to know what to do when electrolytic water gets into the skin: If electrolytic water gets on your skin, wash with running water and soap immediately.

  • If there is a burning or itching sensation, it is possible that electrolytic water has entered your skin. Just one drop can cause burns.
  • You may not see any redness or wounds at first, and when you do, it’s too late. Therefore, if you suspect that the electrolytic water gets on your skin, do not hesitate to stop work and rinse immediately.
  • Throw away all used gloves and rags when done. Letting them come into contact with other materials may result in damage or damage.

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