What Happens If A Battery Runs Out Of Water?

The worst nightmare of any car owner is when their vehicle suddenly won’t startup. This probably has something to do with the car batteries. 

If your battery is dead, in most cases you can easily replace it on your own without any professional assistance from a mechanic. Sometimes, instead of replacing it, you can save the battery without spending much money.

For this, you’ll have to check if your vehicle’s battery has enough water in it. If not, refill them with the right quantity of water to get your engine running in no time.

Is a low water level an indication of a major defect or a regular maintenance issue? Though most battery failures happen due to low battery water levels, not many are aware of what battery water is and how to use it? To get a better understanding of what can possibly happen when your car battery gets drained out of the water, stay tuned!

Car battery Water: An Overview

To begin with, all car batteries do not need water for their function. It is the commonly used lead-acid batteries that are water-dependent. These batteries are the preferred choice by car drivers since they are easier to manage, cost-effective, and last much longer. 

These lead batteries have a fluid electrolyte solution in them used for charging the batteries. However, this electrolyte solution which is a mixture of water and sulfuric acid is not the same as battery water.

Turns out, battery water is nothing but clean water that is used for refilling the electrolyte solution when the levels go down. In most cases, deionized or distilled water is used for refilling these batteries. Avoid refilling your vehicle’s battery with tap water as it contains lots of impurities and dirt.

What Happens If The Battery Water Runs Low?

Leaving an old car battery around for quite a long time without refilling it with enough battery water will cause the lead plates to start corroding.  Eventually, these plates will get completely dissolved and the acid inside the battery turns into harmful gases. 

These gases gradually build up within the battery and start spilling out after some time. This is the reason why car batteries that are left without battery water for a long time end up exploding when you try to start them.

In fact, batteries that are unproductive for a couple of months and do not have any electrolyte fluid and water in them must be replaced with a new battery soon to avoid a total breakdown. 

What Can You Do?

If you notice low water levels inside the car battery, it means the proportion of water in the electrolyte has completely dissolved. This results in a higher concentration of electrolyte fluid inside the battery. In such cases, you can solve the issue by refilling it with distilled water to get the volume back. 

On the other hand, if the battery has been low on water for quite a long time, there’s not much chance of reviving it as it can impact the overall performance of your vehicle. If it keeps running low on water, it’ll start self-discharging and lead to premature aging. 

Gradually, within a couple of months, the battery will come to a halt. This is why you need to take proper care and maintenance of your vehicle’s battery to extend its lifespan. 

How To Check Your Battery’s Water Level?

To check the water and the electrolyte level inside the battery, open the battery cap and look carefully at each lead plate in the cell. Usually, car batteries have three markings to indicate the level of the fluids inside the battery. These include:

  • Maximum point – At this point, the car battery fluid has reached up to the filler tube and is nearly touching the bottom of the tubes. Avoid filling beyond this level as it can impact the concentration of the fluid mix. 
  • Normal level – At this level, the fluid mixture is around 1 cm above the lead plates. On reaching the normal level, do not add more water beyond this point as it can affect the performance of the battery.
  • Low level – At this minimal point, the level of the electrolyte fluid is very low. If the lead plates are not fully immersed in the liquid, they can start corroding over time. This is why you need to add more battery water to the electrolyte solution and increase the fluid levels.

How Much Water Should You Add?

The quantity of water your battery needs depends on the amount of water your car battery consumes. It is advisable to add only sufficient battery water up to the indicated water level lines in the battery. 

Adding excess water can cause a shift in the concentration of the battery fluid’s acidic mixture, which in turn affects the overall performance of your vehicle. Make sure to use deionized or distilled water when the lead plates are barely immersed in the fluid inside the battery.

When the weather conditions become more humid outside, you need to keep checking the fluid levels of your car battery periodically. The best time to check your battery’s fluid level is to do so after you charge the car battery.

How Often Should You Add Water?

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific answer to this question. It mostly depends on the usage of the battery. If you are a car owner who drives around quite often, you’ll have to refill the battery water more often than someone who doesn’t drive that much. The other factors are:

  • High temperatures outside.
  • The amount of current used for the charging process.
  • Charging quickly.
  • Age of the battery.

Final Thoughts

Battery damages are quite inevitable and it’s sure to happen as it gets worn out with the passage of time. However, issues caused by low water levels can be easily avoided with regular checkups and maintenance.

Usually, it is advisable to check your battery’s water level every six months to avoid any hiccups. In this way, you can relax knowing that your batteries are running in good condition.

If you notice the car battery’s water levels running low, you can either refill it with distilled water or take it to your local mechanic to get it checked. They will be able to balance the fluid out with the right precision.

Failure to do so will decrease the durability and performance of your vehicle, leading to unfortunate situations.

Liam

Hi, I'm the initiator and writer of this blog. Cars were and will be my first love, and my favorite hobby, that's why I decided to start this blog and write about my discoveries and techniques to improve my cars or repair them.