Driving a car is one of the most popular kinds of activity in the world. It’s obvious, because using this kind of transport we can save a lot of time on getting somewhere. People may drive for different reasons, such as a hobby, traveling, business, etc.
In spite of the fact that the car is quite useful and convenient kind of transport, its owners have to take care of their vehicle and monitor the condition of different parts of it. There is the great variety of different problems and difficulties that driver may face during the usage of the car.
One of the most common issues that drivers often face is the battery of their car, to be more accurate: battery acid and how to deal with it. Many beginners and even experienced motorists quite often ask such questions: what is battery acid? Where to buy battery acid? How to clean battery acid? How to remove battery acid? In this article, we will answer these and many other questions.
General description of battery acid
There is liquid inside the sealed lead acid battery. Some people think it is water, some of them think it is sulfuric acid. But neither of them is right because this liquid includes both water (50-70%) and acid (30-50%). This liquor is called “electrolyte”. On an average a mole fraction of Acid is 29-32% of sulfuric acid, density is 1.25-1.28 kg/L and concentration of 4.2-5 mol/L, a Ph of battery acid is about 0.8.
In what types of batteries is used
The electrolyte is usually used in the sealed lead acid battery. But there is one more type, in which the sulfuric acid is normally used. It is a gel battery.
The operating principle of this battery is similar to the simple acid one. The only difference is that the gel battery is filled not only with the sulfuric acid but also with silicon substance. This substance is made from silica.
Where is used despite from the batteries
Sulfuric acid is used in different branches of national economy. For example, it helps to clean metal surface before coating and used as a component in a process of producing synthetic dyes. Moreover, sulfuric acid is also needed in following spheres: fertilizer production, explosive, pharmacological industry, oil refining, etc.
More details about the battery acid
Sulfur battery acid has various chemical characteristics and can be quite dangerous. If you add something to it or it has got on skin or clothes, the consequences can be unpredictable and even dangerous.
Possible consequences of getting the acid on the skin and clothes
If the electrolyte has got on the skin it is not so dangerous as it seems to be. The concentration of the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte isn’t enough to be fatal. The maximum impact that the liquid can make is a burn. Much worse when concentrated sulfuric acid gets on the skin. This substance is quite thick and it’s important to know how to clean battery acid from skin properly.
If dangerous substance had got on your clothes nothing will help you to remove the spots. In these areas, the clothes are damaged with acid and everything you can do is try to paint it.
How to deal with the acid correctly
Dealing with such a dangerous chemical it is necessary to act attentively and as careful as it possible. To avoid problems while dealing with the acid it is better to know how to protect yourself from unfortunate moments and effects. Make sure that you use appropriate chemicals. Provide enough light and fresh air into the room.
It is recommended to use rubber gloves, to protect clothes and footwear it is better to take on specialized protective suit galoshes and a rubber apron.
To protect your eyes, it is necessary to deal with the acid using specialized protective glasses (goggles).
How to check the level of electrolyte in the sealed lead acid battery?
To check the level of electrolyte in the sealed lead acid battery you need a measuring tube with divisions or something that looks similar to this tool. It can be a transparent pen or juice straw. The normal level of electrolyte is 10-12mm above plates. So before checking measure this distance and make a mark. Put the tube inside and pinch the other end of the tube with your finger. Then take it out and check, whether electrolyte level is under or over the mark. If you see that liquid doesn’t reach the mark, add some distilled water or acid. If there is more liquid then it is needed, you have to pump it out until the mark is reached.
Reasons for low electrolyte level
Constant evaporation and boiling-off of the electrolyte may be caused by the following reasons:
- increased generator voltage (more than 14.4V);
- the electrolyte level is too high;
- body-damage, an appearance of cracks;
- the electrolyte is boiling-off, as a sequence of short-circuiting of one of the battery plates.
How to deal with low electrolyte level
If you see, that electrolyte in the battery is not enough, to find out whether acid or water to add you have to identify the density of liquid inside. To do this you need a tool called “aerometer”. Put the device inside and gain the liquid inside the flask. Density will be shown on the scale. Measure it in every section of the battery and then count the arithmetical mean. It must be about 0,05 lb/ln3 (1,29 g/sm3).
In case if the level of liquid is law, but the density is above the allowed index just add some distilled water. If there is a normal level, but density is too high, you have to take out some electrolyte from each section of your battery and add some water. Continue doing this until the index is normal but don’t forget to follow the level of electrolyte between 10-12mm.
Where to buy battery acid
As concentrated sulfuric acid is quite a dangerous chemical, which is generally used for producing drugs and in the manufacturing sphere it is quite difficult to buy, especially in great amount. It is possible to purchase sulfuric acid via the Internet, but you never know, whether suppliers have appropriate licenses that allow them trading chemicals. Nevertheless, it is possible to do, but it is quite difficult to find a legal supplier which does according to the law and is able to prove it with documentary pieces of evidence.
How to buy battery acid?
There is much more easy and safe way to buy battery acid. You can purchase already prepared mixture made of sulfuric acid and distilled water. It is absolutely legal, so you can visit corresponding shops and buy there the liquid. Just tell the staff what do you need and a consultant will help you to choose the most suitable electrolyte according to your sealed lead acid battery type and model
Also, you can buy electrolyte via the Internet. There are a plenty of different websites that can supply you the liquid of different brand, quality levels and for different prices. Just find suitable goods, choose the quantity and make an order.
To prevent acid from pouring out and entering the skin it is needed to keep liquid in glass or polyethylene can, jar, bottle, canister, in which it has been bought and transported. A neck must be covered with a tight-fitting lid. For better protection. it is better to cover the neck and the lid with cloth or polyethylene membrane.
Bottles must be put in willow baskets, wooden or polyethylene crates, reaching the neck of the bottle. Bottom and sides of the bottle are carefully covered with straw or soft-wood shavings.
Precautionary measures while keeping
Cans with acid are not allowed to keep with other materials and chemicals in particular alkali, glycerin, ammonia, etc. Sulfuric acid has no shelf life.
Concentrated sulfuric acid, electrolyte or distilled water must be kept with the temperature equal to 15Co.
How to clean battery acid?
When the acid spilled out of the sealed lead acid battery or a bottle while cleaning it, it’s important to be attentive and careful. Especially dealing with concentrated sulfuric acid but not electrolyte, because it is much more toxic. Cleaning the spilled substance is not difficult, but it is needed to know some measures that can protect health from the dangerous influence of this liquid. The knowledge of how to remove battery acid will cause timely, proper reaction and may prevent the battery from appearing corrosion on it.
Preparations for acid cleaning
Before cleaning with acid, it is necessary to check special equipment if it is in normal condition or not. If it doesn’t have any damaged area that may let the electrolyte reach clothes or skin, it is allowed to take it on.
What to do if the dangerous substance has got on skin or clothes
As we have already said earlier electrolyte is not so dangerous for skin in case of getting on in contrast to the concentrated sulfuric acid, which causes chemical burns. When electrolyte has got on your clothes to avoid corrosion you have to wash the clothes in soda water, after that wash it in pure water.
In case of getting the acid on skin, firstly, it’s needed to know how to clean battery acid. Rinse the affected area of skin with plenty of water during 10-15 minutes. Water pressure mustn’t be strong. You may not see the burn at once. It may appear in some minutes after getting on skin. In this case, it is better to clean for 30-40 minutes. Wiping out the acid with a wet cloth or cotton swab is not allowed, it will only rub the acid into the skin.
After that, you have to neutralize battery acid using soapy water or 2% soda solution (1 teaspoon if soda added into 2,5 glasses of water). Finally, put a dry bandage on the affected area of skin and call the ambulance.
If acid has got on clothes and reached the skin, you need free the burned place. If taking off is uncomfortable, carefully cut a piece of cloth around the burn. But don’t try to tear it off in case of sticking.
Preparation for cleaning battery acid from other surfaces
Sometimes electrolyte may pour out of battery or acid may be spilled accidentally, while dealing with it. One of the most important things, in this case, is to know how to remove battery acid properly. The faster you are the less damage will the acid do. At first, dealing with this problem you have to provide safety for your skin and clothes. So, what do you need to neutralize and clean battery acid you need: rubber gloves, goggles, baking soda, water, sponge.
How to clean battery acid step by step?
1. Neutralize battery acid with baking soda. The more soda you put everywhere you see spilled liquid the better it is.
2. Make sure that you didn’t miss any place.
3. After the acid is neutralized take wet a sponge and wipe that places where the acid has spilled.
4. Repeat this procedure until you are sure that acid was neutralized and after putting soda there is no chemical reaction.
5. If you deal with the car battery, after cleaning it out of the electrolyte let it dry.
Be attentive when you are screwing covers of each section after charging the battery. If the covers aren’t screwed enough, it will cause the leak of the electrolyte. One more thing: when the battery has a low level of charge density in it is lower than if the battery is charged. The lower density the faster water turns into ice. If you overdone with water, while freezing it expands and makes cracks in a body of the battery. As the result poured out electrolyte. So, be attentive while adding water and take care of your batteries charge level. But, as you can see it is possible only in winter.
How to clean the battery terminals?
The most common problem that drivers quite often face is how to clean corroded battery terminals? Everything you need to do this is a toothbrush and some baking soda.
At first, make sure that the car isn’t running. Then you start can to clean battery terminals. Disconnect all the wires out of both of terminals (negative and positive) with a wrench. Check the body of the battery for cracks or other signs of damage. If there are any, using this battery is not allowed. The same do with wires and cables and if everything is OK to let’s move to the next step.
Now put some soda in water. You may use as much soda and water as you wish. As for me, I usually use a tablespoon (about 30g.) of soda and a glass of water. This will be pretty enough to clean car battery terminals. Put the toothbrush into the gotten liquid and rub the corroded surface. If it doesn’t work use sandpaper or something like a metal brush. Put cable ends into the substance to remove scurf. Don’t forget about putting the toothbrush into soda from time to time.
After the corrosion was removed, clean the battery with cold water until you see that the terminals are pure. Wipe the wet area with a rag or sponge and let the battery dry. Then put some vaseline on the surface of the terminals and wires. Finally, connect the cables back to the terminals.
There are lots of different ways of dealing with corrosion, but cleaning battery terminals with baking is one of the simplest and workable options.
The causes of corrosion
Corrosion appears because of that the electrolyte gets out and dries on the terminals’ surface. It becomes like some kind of a barrier that doesn’t allow electricity to get the wires and move through them. Usually, it calls difficulties with starting the engine. As we have already found out, the electrolyte can be spilled because of not so tightly closed covers, pouring out while filling the battery with electrolyte or cracks as a result of damage.
What to do if the battery doesn’t hold the charge
If the car battery is not holding a charge, in most cases that means you have to buy a new one, but everything might be not so bad as it would seem. There are many reasons, because of which car battery won’t hold the charge:
- Every battery has its term of usage. At once the fatal date comes and the only thing you can do is purchase a new one.
- Constant full discharge and constant undercharge or if the accumulator was out of charge for more than 24 hours. It is necessary to set on the charge with low voltage until the battery will be full of charge. It is better to use the charger with a regulating system to be able to control the voltage by yourself.
- There wasn’t enough water inside the battery for a long time. Add some distilled water and set the battery on charge. Using the aerometer check the density of electrolyte. If it’s OK continue charging, if not bring it into normal. If during charging or at the end of this process electrolyte is cloudy – buy new a battery.
- Corrosion. What to do in such a case we have written above.
- Too much electrolyte. Recommended to pump out a part of the liquid and pour in some distilled water. Make density in every section on the same level.
- Tap water has been poured in. Getting inside impurities destroy the mechanism and bring the battery into an unworkable condition.
- Manufacturing defect. It could have accidentally defected while producing.
So, now you know everything about the electrolyte for the Sealed lead acid battery. Following all the rules and advises that you have just read will help you to deal with any problem connected with this battery type. Also, it may help you to avoid many regret mistakes and do every procedure properly and what is more important safely for your health.