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

The car battery is one of the most neglected components. Owners don’t take care of it as they should- most to the point where they need to get a new battery installed.

But did you know that you can recondition a battery that is giving you problems?

By reconditioning it, you are essentially giving it new life by cleaning it of sulfates and replenishing it with electrolytes. We have 3 easy ways that will help you recondition your car battery.

3 easy ways to save your dead battery
3 different ways to easily recondition your car battery at home.

Determine If Your Car Battery Needs To Be Reconditioned

You can test the battery to determine if it needs to be reconditioned. The voltage it produces would tell you that. So for this, you will need a voltmeter.

  • Start by checking if there is any corrosion on the terminals of the battery. If there is, you will have to clean that first. 
  • Make sure the car is turned off.
  • Make a cleaning paste mixing baking soda and water, keeping the ratio of 2:1.
  • Dip a toothbrush in the mixture and rub it on the terminal; this will remove the corrosion.
  • If this doesn’t work, you can also use sandpaper or steel wool to remove what is left over.
  • Wipe the terminal down with a dry cloth.
  • Grab the voltmeter. Take the red wire and connect it to the battery’s positive terminal, while the black one should be connected to the negative.
  • Check the reading, and if it is 12.6V or higher, the battery doesn’t need to be reconditioned. It is in good condition. If it falls between 10V to 12.6V, it can be reconditioned. Any reading below that means the battery needs to be replaced.

Find purchasing options for a pack of Baking soda online:

Arm & Hammer baking soda 4 LB

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Bob's Red Mill baking soda 1 LB

Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda

Safety Precautions You Need to Consider

Before dealing with a car battery, you need to make sure you take the following precautions:

  • Make sure you are in an open or well-ventilated area when you recondition the battery.
  • Wear gloves to avoid getting any substance from the battery onto your skin. This can lead to irritation and potential burn.
  • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and Japanese safety flip-flops.
  • To protect your clothes, you can wear an apron. There may be splatter from the battery.

3 Different Ways You Can Recondition Your Car Battery

Now that you have an idea of when to recondition your battery let’s get into its process. Take a look at the below infographic to see how to have a first look at methods you can apply:

Infographic about 3 methods to revive a dead car battery.

Method 1: Using Epsom salt, distilled water to recondition your car battery

For this process, you need: 9 tablespoons of Epsom salts, distilled water, and a trickle charger.

  • Start by pouring the battery acid out of the six cells of the battery.
  • Mix about 10 ounces (283 grams) of baking soda with a gallon of distilled water. You can do this in small amounts. Pour about two cups of the water into a bowl and mix a couple of spoons until the baking soda is completely dissolved.
  • Fill each cell with the mixture you created. Put the cell cap on and shake the battery, so the mixture moves and rinses it.
  • Once again, open the cell cap and pour the mixture out.
  • Now, pour the Epsom salts into a bowl and mix just enough distilled water that the solution becomes a liquid. Heat the water to about 150ºF before you add the salt. This will help it dissolve quicker.
  • Mix it.
  • Take one tablespoon of the mixture and pour it into each cell of the battery. Make sure you don’t overfill it. Use the battery’s full line as a guide to where you need to fill it up to.  
  • Then attach the trickle charger to the battery at its lowest setting for about 24 to 48 hours. The battery should be as good as new.

The science behind this method is that the mixture of Epsom salts and distilled water dissolve any sulfate buildup in the battery. This allows the battery to function as well as it did before.

Some mechanics say that this method can add a couple of extra years to a battery about to die. So it is a must-try method.

See Epsom Salt for sale here:

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Epsoak Epsom Salt

SaltWorks Epsom Premium Salt 2 lb

SaltWorks Epsom Salt

Solimo Epsom Salt Soak 8 lb

Solimo Epsom Salt

Method 2: Using a smart charger to recondition the car battery

There are battery chargers specifically designed to recondition the battery. For the process, all you need is to buy the smart charger.

  • The charger comes with black and red clamps, which need to be connected to the battery terminal.
  • Before you connect the clips, make sure you set the charger to its recondition mode. You will have to buy a charger that comes with a recondition mode like the CTEK charger. Read the instructions to understand how to change the settings on the charger.
  • Attach the red clamp to the positive terminal and the black to the negative.
  • In some batteries, it will start to work automatically once you plug it in after connecting. In contrast, others will have you set the amperage. Ensure you set it at a low amp and leave the charger on for 24 to 48 hours for the reconditioning process. The higher amps are there if you need to urgently charge your car so you can go out, not recondition the battery.
  • Disconnect the charger from the battery once it is fully charged.

Buy CTEK Battery Charger with a recondition mode online:

Ctek 7002 4.3 Amp Battery Charger

CTEK 7002 Battery Charger

Ctek 5.0 4.3 Amp Battery Charger

CTEK 5.0 Battery Charger

Method 3: Use a 200A charger to revive a dead battery

This process can be dangerous, so be sure to take all safety precautions. Two hundred amps is a lot of power and can result in the battery potentially exploding, so perform it carefully and in an open area.

For this process, you need a powerful charger with capabilities to provide 200 amp of power.

  • The procedure is the same as with a smart and trickle charger. You need to connect the red clip to the positive terminal and the black to the negative.
  • Turn the charger on and let it work its magic for about 15 minutes.
  • Let the battery sit for about 45 minutes, and then check the voltage with a voltmeter.
  • If it isn’t above 12.6V, you can go through the process again.
  • With dead batteries, you may need to run the process 4 to 5 times. But if you do, be sure to let the battery settle down for about a day before you test it again.

Not sure which powerful charger to get? You can try either the Associated Equipment US20 6/12 Volt or the Schumacher SC 1285. Both manufacturers are well-known and produce reliable and powerful battery chargers.

Buy High Amp Battery Charger online:

Associated Equipment US20 6/12V 200A Battery Charger

Associated Equipment US20
200A Battery Charger

Schumacher SC1281 6/12 Volt 100 Amp charger

Schumacher SC1285
100A Battery Charger


With that, we conclude our guide to recondition your car battery. There are various ways to go about the process. Pick one you feel most comfortable trying. Just be sure to take all the safety measures mentioned when attempting them.

RELATED: OPTIMATE 6 vs CTEK 5.0 vs NOCO GENIUS5: Which most home mechanics are using for reconditioning their batteries?

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