How To Recondition Batteries?

All electronic devices we use today have some sort of battery to store and supply an electric charge as required. While swapping batteries for smaller devices is relatively convenient, more sizable components in cars and inverters require more time and planning. There is a massive margin between what kind of ore is produced and what we need in batteries.

According to Statista, iron ore production globally was around 1.6 billion metric tons in 2022. Lithium production was a paltry 130,000 metric tons for the same time frame. Thus, we need to preserve and recycle the batteries we have today if we have to fulfill the renewable energy dream for every citizen.

One of the proven methods that everyone can adopt is to recondition the batteries instead of recycling them. Throughout this guide, you’ll learn how to recondition batteries for various applications and why the process can prove beneficial in the long term.

What Is Battery Reconditioning?

Unlike battery recycling, battery reconditioning doesn’t involve breaking or melting all the battery components. Reconditioning entails taking apart all the degraded components to clean or replace them as needed, making it much safer to use the battery again. It makes the battery almost as good as new without requiring substantial investment or expensive safety equipment.

Still, the process differs with the type of battery. You can learn about the specific processes for each of them in the following sections.

How To Recondition a Car Battery?

How To Recondition a Car Battery?
How To Recondition a Car Battery

Car battery replacements can set you back hundreds of dollars for replacements while keeping your vehicle immobile. That’s why reconditioning them might be an excellent idea to obtain most of their lifespan with at least 70% of the original capacity. You will need the below-mentioned items before you start reconditioning a car battery.

  • Distilled water
  • Multimeter
  • Battery charger
  • Syringe
  • Insulated gloves
  • Container vessel
  1. Remove your car’s battery and open the insulation caps. The electrolyte can spill, so wear a pair of insulated gloves. You may also need to remove the seals on the terminals.
  2. Drain the electrolyte in a clean vessel. Disposing of it can harm the environment, so recycling it for other uses is best.
  3. Fill the battery with distilled water and connect it to a charger. Turn it on and let the battery recharge for about one hour. Now, you may observe bubbles forming at the surface of the water. It’s best to let the water evaporate by keeping all the caps and seals open. Measure the volume of water as it will prove valuable later on.

In case no bubbles appear, reverse the negative and positive wires and wait for a few minutes. The bubbles shall start forming now. You can reverse the wires and start charging the battery generally for about 30 minutes.

  1. Finally, you need to add concentrated sulfuric acid to the distilled water. Remember that you have to maintain a water-to-acid ratio of 65:35. Therefore, it’s best to add the acid through a syringe. That way, you have less risk of the acid spilling out or reacting with the electrodes too quickly.
  2. When you obtain the desired concentration, close the caps and seal the terminals. The battery is now good to go for its intended purpose.

See full this video: Reconditioning a 12 Volt Car Battery: 100% Success

How To Recondition a Laptop Battery?

How To Recondition a Laptop Battery?

While most people buy a new laptop battery once the old one gives in, it’s far more convenient and cost-effective to recondition old batteries yourself. Depending on the specific manufacturer, you can apply several methods to recondition your laptop battery. However, the following methods work well for all variants.

Freeze the Battery

Keeping a low temperature can deceive the battery into thinking it’s not fully charged. That way, you can extend the life cycle of the battery without any interference to its circuit. This solution is pretty straightforward. Put the battery in a plastic bag and keep it in a freezer for about 12 hours. You may let it thaw completely and recharge it to use it on your laptop again.

Keep in mind that you must observe whether there is an electrolyte leakage after freezing. You can spot it as a few yellow or orange spots on the plastic bag. That denotes that the battery is no longer viable for regular use, as the leak can damage other sensitive components, like the CPU or the graphics card. In that case, it’s best to use a brand-new battery compatible with your laptop.

Recalibrate the Charging Cycles

Some laptop batteries have the ability to reset once you make them used to specific charging cycles. A proven way to do that is to charge and discharge the battery close to its limits. That resets the battery’s memory and lets you use it to the total capacity.

In order to recalibrate the battery’s charging, you need to charge it to 100% without using the laptop. Then, use it until it almost entirely discharges, around 5%. Then, charge it to 100% again. After a while, the battery will reset its life cycle, and you can use it even with partial recharging.

Use a Cooling Pad

Reducing the temperature of your laptop has a positive effect on the battery life. All you need to do is to buy the cooler and place a laptop on it. It will reduce the temperature of the battery and the laptop so that the battery will last longer. It is a must when you use your laptop for gaming or during the hot summer months.

See full this video: How to Revive a Dead Laptop Battery 2020

How To Recondition Lead Acid batteries?

How To Recondition Lead Acid batteries?

Similar to car batteries, you may use lead-acid batteries in RVs or an inverter system in your home. Reconditioning them allows you to make the most of the lifespan and save hundreds of dollars in replacements. The steps detailed below help you do just that.

  1. Disconnect the battery from the circuit and check the voltage across the terminals using a multimeter. Reconditioning a battery is only safe when it has a high discharge level. For example, a 12V battery is suitable for reconditioning if the voltage reads 8 Volts or lower.
  2. Once you’ve determined that the battery is viable for reconditioning, you can remove the caps and open up the terminals. Ensure all cells are exposed and carefully drain the electrolyte into a vessel.
  3. Clean any signs of corrosion from the terminals using an anti-corrosion solution. For the electrodes, you can use an Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) solution to clear any spots of sulfation.
  4. When you’ve cleaned the electrodes, you can add distilled water into the cells and slow charge the battery using a trickle charger. If you have the option to regulate the current supply, it’s best to set it at 300 mA for a 12V lead acid battery.
  5. You may observe the formation of bubbles in the water after some time. That means that the electrodes are working fine. You can now turn off the charger and add in the adequate volume of sulfuric acid. Make sure to use a syringe and maintain a 65:35 ratio of water to acid. Additionally, you can use a hydrometer to ensure the appropriate concentration.
  6. Finally, you can put the seals back together and charge the battery to 100% using the same charger. It’s now ready for regular usage.

Remember that sulfuric acid is highly corrosive, so it isn’t a safe procedure. Yet, you can manage decent levels of protection if you wear goggles and gloves. You also must add the acid slowly, so it doesn’t spill over and damage other battery components.

In some cases, the cells can be too damaged to let you obtain complete efficiency with the battery. Even if you go through the entire process flawlessly, you can expect the battery to work at 70% of its original capacity.

See full this video: How To Recondition Lead Acid batteries by Walt Barrett

How To Recondition Lithium Ion Batteries?

How To Recondition Lithium Ion Batteries?

Most lithium-ion batteries use lithium-iron-phosphate as the electrolyte. Since the ions remain within the battery, you can reactivate them for reconditioning and make it good as new. You need a recovery charger to carry out this process. Buying one is only about a quarter of a new battery’s price, and you can use it for multiple variants.

First, ensure that your lithium-ion battery is completely discharged by checking the terminals with a multimeter. If it’s close to 0% of its total capacity, it will likely enter sleep mode. You can revive it by connecting a recovery charger and turning it on. Depending on its capacity, it might take between 4 to 12 hours before your Li-ion battery can be used again.

Once the charger indicates it’s ready, you can turn it off and reconnect the battery to its intended circuit. It should work at around 80% of its rated capacity.

See full this video: How to revive a dead 18650 (or any) Li-ion battery cell

What’s The Difference Between Reconditioning And Recharging?

Although they might sound similar, there are various differences between reconditioning and recharging a battery. A few notable ones include the following.

Effect on Battery Life

When recharging a battery, especially with a fast charger, you reduce its overall life cycle. A few ions don’t make it back within the electrolyte once the battery discharges. On the other hand, reconditioning helps you extend the life cycle of the battery. You can reuse it even as it remains far lower than its rated capacity.

Time Duration

With a regular charger, you can get your battery up and running within 2 hours, depending upon the precise capacity. Going through a reconditioning process might take between 3 to 12 hours, subject to the size and type of battery.

Risk of Damage

When recharging a battery, you often risk overheating or damaging the battery if you’re not careful. However, reconditioning helps you minimize the damage to the battery and repairs most of the damage to the cells.


You can buy a regular battery charger for quite a low price. A few manufacturers even ship one with their batteries for a small surcharge. For a reconditioning version, you may have to buy specialized equipment that can increase your budget by a considerable margin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Would I Want To Recondition My Lead Acid Battery?

Reconditioning a car battery lets you make the most of its life span and saves you on the cost of a new battery. You can also spot and repair any issues with the battery that may make it unsafe for further use.

When Shouldn’t I Recondition A Battery?

Sometimes, your battery may get too damaged or corroded to remain functional. In that case, it’s not ideal for reconditioning. You are better off with a new specimen.

How Long Do Reconditioned Batteries Last?

Reconditioned batteries typically add one-third more to the lifespan of a battery. You can gain 50% more usage in the case of Li-ion batteries.

When Should I Recondition a Car Battery?

A car battery requires reconditioning close to its rated life cycle or if there is excessive sulfation in the electrodes.

Does Car Battery Recondition Really Work?

Reconditioning a car battery can let you use it past its rated life cycle. However, if the battery is too damaged or corroded, you are better off with a new one.

Will Recondition a Battery Fix a Dead Cell?

Dead cells pose a severe hazard to any nearby bystanders. They can react violently with the acid, so experts recommend swapping them entirely when reconditioning a battery.

Can a Dead Laptop Battery Work Again?

It depends upon whether the battery is in sleep mode or damaged. The former can work again with reconditioning, whereas the latter is best redirected to a recycling plant.

Can Lead Acid Batteries Be Restored?

Yes. If you renew the electrolyte and repair all the electrodes, you can restore a lead acid battery back to 70% of its original capacity.

Is It Possible To Recondition a Lithium-Ion Battery?

Yes. Lithium-ion batteries can be reconditioned by using a suitable recovery charger or freezing them to low temperatures.

Should You Charge a Battery Before Reconditioning?

No. The reconditioning process usually requires a battery to remain discharged entirely.


And that wraps up our guide on how to recondition batteries. We hope you found it helpful and can save plenty of funds by not swapping batteries regularly. Nevertheless, it helps to understand that the processes often involve complicated and sometimes hazardous materials. So, if you’re not sure that you can recondition a battery, don’t refrain from seeking professional assistance.


  1. Production volume of battery minerals worldwide in 2022
  2. Reconditioning a 12 Volt Car Battery: 100% Success




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