Nothing ruins your day like having to deal with a dead car battery. While this may be annoying during normal days, when you are in a hurry, the situation can escalate and you will lose valuable time. There are a few tricks to revive a dead car battery that you can use during desperate times.
Some of these tricks are not new and people have been using them when no other options were available. These are emergency solutions and they will come in handy during a crisis. As with everything related to emergency preparedness, you have to rely on your wits to get out of a difficult situation. It may seem weird to use aspirin or Epsom salt on your battery, but I guarantee it really works. Once your car battery tester tells you for certain that there’s no more you can do with your dead battery, try the following.
How to revive a dead car battery with aspirin
For this to work, you will need aspirin tablets, rubber gloves, water and a screwdriver. You should already have all these items in your home as they are common household items. Every first aid kit has aspirin so there shouldn’t be any problem using a few tablets.
Follow these steps:
To revive a dead car battery you will need to pry the cell cover of the battery with a screwdriver. This may become a problem for certain battery types since some lids are sealed permanently shut. Wear gloves while opening the lids and pay attention no to get battery acid on yourself.
Crush two or three aspirin tablets for each cell of the battery and carefully put the powder in the battery. Now add water to fill the battery to the proper level. Carefully reseal the cell cover.
Let the battery sit for almost one hour before you start the engine. Once the engine starts, drive to your local service station to replace the battery.
Why did it worked?
This is actually an old trick to revive a dead car battery and service mechanics are using it on a regular basis. If you are wondering why this is working and how the aspirin is helping your battery, the answer is quite simple. The acetylsalicylic acid in the aspirin combines with the sulfuric acid in the battery. This creates a chemical reaction and allows one more charge. This is enough to start the car and drive to a service station. The water is also needed because it helps restore the electrolyte in the battery.
What you need to know:
- This is temporary solution. While it will give your car battery a boost, it will shorten the overall lifespan of your battery.
- It is a recommended solution to revive a dead car battery when you get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Since every car should have a first aid kit, you should have no problem finding aspirin.
- Typical car batteries contain six cells and each cell generates roughly 2 volts for a total of 12 volts. As a general rule to start your engine, the battery must discharge approximately 12 volts at 200 amps.
Related reading: Bugging out by car when it hits the fan
How to revive a dead car battery with Epsom salt
For this method to work you will need Epsom salt (at least 4 tablespoons) and distilled water. Additionally, you should have rubber gloves and a screwdriver, but also a measuring spoon to make sure you get the salt quantity right. This method takes more time compared to the firs one and you will need a battery charger.
Follow these steps:
Just like I said before, you should first check the battery lid is not sealed permanently shut. If that’s not the case use a screwdriver to carefully remove the cap from the cells of the battery. Wear safety gloves and glasses to avoid getting battery acid on yourself.
Measure four tablespoons of Epsom salt and dissolve it in just enough distilled water. Mix until you create a liquid that can be poured in the battery cells.
Pour one tablespoon of the solution into each of the six cells of the battery. Once you are done, carefully seal the caps firmly.
Recharge the battery on slow charge for 24 hours and the battery should be like new.
Why did it worked?
When a battery loses its state of charge it has become more of a base than an acid, so the electrical power it generates through the chemical reaction of the magnesium sulfate and the lead plates inside the battery has been reduced. The plates of the lead acid battery are often affected by lead sulfate buildup. To reduce the buildup and improve the overall battery performance Epsom salt is added to the electrolyte of the acid battery.
What you need to know:
- Operating on a car battery without safety equipment is not recommended. The batteries contain sulfuric acid which is highly caustic. If you get it on your skin you should flush with water immediately to avoid skin burns.
- Epsom salt is basically pure magnesium sulfate in powder form.
- This can be done 2 to 3 times before the battery is no longer able to be resurrected. Is it worth it if you think about is since the cost of materials needed is only a few dollars.
Recommended reading: Scavenging abandoned cars for survival items
Additional tricks to save your battery using household items
You can also revive a dead battery you can also use additional household items. The items needed for these methods are cheap and can be found in every house. Items such as baking soda, petroleum jelly and soda are often used to revive a dead car battery.
Baking soda is often used to revive a dead car battery, but you should never pour it inside the battery cells. It is only used to eliminate the corrosive buildup on the car’s battery terminals. All you need to do is mix 3 tablespoons baking soda with 1 tablespoon warm water. Now use an old toothbrush and scrub the terminals with the mixture.
After a few minutes of scrubbing, use a wet towel to wipe the car’s battery terminals. Use a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture. Let the terminals completely dry and apply a bit of petroleum jelly around each terminal. This prevents future corrosive build up.
Since we mentioned petroleum jelly, here is a trick that can save your battery during the coldest winter days. I bet that your battery died more than once during the winter season due to low temperatures. It is known that during cold weather the battery works harder due to increased electrical resistance and thicken engine oil.
Before winter starts, make sure you clear the car’s battery terminals with a wire brush. Once they are clean, reconnect and then smear with petroleum jelly. This will prevent corrosion and your battery will crank all winter long.
Using soda such as Coca-Cola will help eliminate the corrosion from your car battery. Almost all carbonated soft drinks will in fact work for this operation. The carbonic acid content in these drinks helps to remove stains and dissolve rust deposits.
Disconnect the battery cables if they are not held together by corrosion. If that’s the case, pour a small amount of soda around the terminals and wait until it stops fizzing. You should be able to remove the cable afterwards. Pour soda over the white powder on the terminals and use a toothbrush to scrub any remaining corrosion. Dry the cables and terminals with a paper towel and that’s pretty much it. Reconnect the cables and smear some petroleum jelly.
These are useful tricks to revive a dead car battery, but you should keep in mind that you can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. If no other options are available, you can try them to start your car and drive to the nearest service station.
Other Useful Resources: