How to Restore Old Car Batteries

by Joanne Cichetti

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.


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.


  • check Read the charger’s manual before using the battery charger.


  • close Make sure you do not spill tap water inside the cells.
  • close Don’t let the red and black connectors of the charger touch each other.

Items you will need

About the Author

Joanne Cichetti has written articles and Web content professionally since 2009, focusing primarily on health and lifestyle. In order to further pursue her writing career professionally, Cichetti inducted herself in the Long Ridge Writers Group, and she looks forward to having a novel published under their guidance.

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