4 Ways How Lead Acid Batteries Are Damaged

4 Ways How Lead Acid Batteries Are Damaged

#1 Leaving A 12v Battery To Discharge Below 10.5V

Auto start batteries are not made to be discharge below 10.5 volts. If this happens the lead sulfateformed on discharge will expand across the plates and separators and short the battery. The voltage across the terminals will measure 10.5 volts. This battery is dead and is not restorable.

The solution is simple, if you are not planning to drive your vehicle for a couple of days or weeks, make sure you charge the battery with an external charger regularly. This will dissolve the formation of sulfate as usable active material. Studies have shown however that cars are parked 95% of the time, the sulfation that is formed will crystalize and cannot be dissolved even with charging unless you use a desulfator.

SOLUTION: Charge often and use a desulfator that can potentially double battery lifespan

#2 Shocks Or Dropping The Battery

Shocks and dropping of the battery will result in active material being shedded from the plates. This leads to reduced capacity and the loose deposits can lead to a short if lodged across the plates, or if a connection across the plates is created at the bottom of the battery. These batteries are not considered for restoration.

SOLUTION: Handle batteries with care.

#3 The Forming Of Air Pockets Between Lead Plates

Air pockets form between the plates and if not dislodge that part of the plates is effectively rendered useless. Nothing can be done about this except to say that good grid design and quality separators will prevent this from happening. This is why cheap batteries don’t last, in addition to shedding of active material above.

SOLUTION: We all know the idiom – “Penny wise and pound foolish”. Sometimes investing a little more in quality goes a very long way in savings.

#4 Electrolyte Falling Below The Permitted Threshold

If the electrolyte level falls too low the lead plates will oxidise with the air. This is lead oxide and not lead dioxide. The battery loses capacity. Always keep the battery top up with distilled water. Do not add acid or tap water. The fluoride and other chemicals reacts with the spongy lead and renders it useless. Shorting a battery can lead to a gas explosion in the battery. 

SOLUTION: For wet cell batteries, always keep the electrolyte topped up with battery water.

Banner image by Eltpics

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