New car battery short of electrolyte?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by #12, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    I just had to buy a new battery for my car. When I saw the label that says, "DO NOT OPEN BATTERY!" I just had to look. The electrolyte was barely covering the plates, a bit more than an inch down from the "full" indicator.

    I the seller cheaping out on electrolyte or is this how new car batteries are supposed to be made?

    Well...I don't have a bottle of sulphuric acid, but I do have distilled water, so I filled it up. It took 22 ounces to bring all 6 cells up to the full mark. I'm betting that the supplier put that label on to make sure I don't put water in that battery so it will fail quickly.

    Anybody here know how new car batteries are supposed to be filled before they are handed to the customer?
  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    #12 likes this.
  3. #12

    Thread Starter Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    I already topped it off with distilled water and topped up the charge, and it works like brand new. It even started bubbling at the proper amp draw for that particular charger. I can find no symptoms that anything is wrong with it. Just wondering if the vendor is pulling a fast one on his customers, wondering if it would be better to go buy some electrolyte to top up new batteries or just add water. Twenty-two ounces seems like quite a lot to add to a new battery!

    I just realized what an SG meter is...specific gravity. Don't have one. page. I can measure a cell voltage and calculate SG!

    SG turns out to be 1.283
    Seems entirely proper.
    Does that mean that adding water was the right thing to do?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  4. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    Lead acid batteries usually come with the correct amount of acid even if some of the water evaporates. Adding distilled water was the right thing to do.
    #12 likes this.
  5. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    If the SG is correct, then adding water was the proper thing to do.
    #12 likes this.