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mikthe20

Liquid Under Car Battery - Just Water?

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Haven't used my car for a few weeks so wasn't surprised when it wouldn't start. There's a little bit of charge left so battery not completely dead but engine won't turn over. Was trying to remove battery so that I can put it on an indoor charger I have. However, I noticed that there's a shallow pool of clear liquid that the battery is sitting in (it's in a shallow plastic compartment). I presume this is either water that has leaked from the battery or (unlikely) rain water, but not acid?

Should I just remove battery, clear the liquid and top up the water or is it best to replace the battery? Or if it's acid is it best left to a garage. Anyone have any thoughts?

(PS: car has hardly any petrol so don't want to jump start as I would then have to drive to garage immediately to fill up and turn off engine with probability it won't start again).

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I think you should replace the battery! I have no connection with the "Battery Society". Only shares! :blink:

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Very unlikely that the battery has leaked so it's almost certaily water. The battery will probably recharge (if you have a charger) but unless it's almost new it will be pretty knacked so best to replace.

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Are the cells sealed? If not buy a bottle of ionised water (distilled) and top up to just above the lead plates.

It is possible the casing has become cracked and it has leaked. Likely though depending on the age of the battery that leakage would not be clear although it may be weak enough to seem like water.

Get a 5 litre plastic container and fill at a garage and place in tank as a stopgap. If it runs out on the way to the garage it is an extra headache particulary if it is a diesel as it may need to be bled through.

Batteries don't last forever and should be part of routine maintenance, expect to replace every 5 years or so...

Finally make sure the charging circuit on the car is working ok. This should be done at a garage but a rudimentary check is to turn the headlight on parked close to a wall and rev the engine up. If the lights get brighter then the battery is charging from the alternator.

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Try charging the battery, it's probably still fine. It's normal for a battery to lose charge over time.

If you don't use the car much then you could try leaving a solar charger connected. They're only a few quid and will keep the battery topped up indefinitely.

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Thanks chaps - very informative. I'll remove the battery and check if it can be topped up. I've had the car over 3 years and it's a 10 year old car so not sure when the battery was previously replaced - didn't actually take it out to see if it was original OEM or a replacement as I was worried it might be sitting in acid rather than water.

Am sure it's drained due to lack of use as car hasn't been touched in about 3-4 weeks. Will investigate further over the weekend. Would rather not buy a new battery seeing as they seem to be about £60.

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Was discussion on solar charger recently - I got one a few weeks ago. 6w and pretty large - as apparently the smaller ones are pretty useless in the UK in winter.

So far its looking like it is maintaining - or even adding a little charge to my battery when sitting there for a few days.

Only issue is if some scum plans to smash my window and steal it.

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Haven't used my car for a few weeks so wasn't surprised when it wouldn't start. There's a little bit of charge left so battery not completely dead but engine won't turn over. Was trying to remove battery so that I can put it on an indoor charger I have. However, I noticed that there's a shallow pool of clear liquid that the battery is sitting in (it's in a shallow plastic compartment). I presume this is either water that has leaked from the battery or (unlikely) rain water, but not acid?

Should I just remove battery, clear the liquid and top up the water or is it best to replace the battery? Or if it's acid is it best left to a garage. Anyone have any thoughts?

(PS: car has hardly any petrol so don't want to jump start as I would then have to drive to garage immediately to fill up and turn off engine with probability it won't start again).

It'll almost certainly be water. Just take it in and charge it up. If it discharges that much over 3 weeks then it will be a bit old, but probably good enough - just make sure you give it a bit of a run once a fortnight or so, and assume that if you've not started it for 3 weeks then you might well need to give it a bit of a boost inside.

Now, if the battery is a bit on the edge then note that you've probably only got a few more flat batteries before it really becomes knackered - if you don't want to have to shell out the £60 then try to keep on top of it. The solar charger thing would be okay but you've really chosen the worst time of year to try it out! - I'd put the money to one side to contribute to the new battery.

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It'll almost certainly be water. Just take it in and charge it up. If it discharges that much over 3 weeks then it will be a bit old, but probably good enough - just make sure you give it a bit of a run once a fortnight or so, and assume that if you've not started it for 3 weeks then you might well need to give it a bit of a boost inside.

Now, if the battery is a bit on the edge then note that you've probably only got a few more flat batteries before it really becomes knackered - if you don't want to have to shell out the £60 then try to keep on top of it. The solar charger thing would be okay but you've really chosen the worst time of year to try it out! - I'd put the money to one side to contribute to the new battery.

Cheers. I normally do give it a run every fortnight but just forgot this time. Do already have a solar charger and dug it out but glass is smashed - will get another. Will definitely try to charge it and take it from there.

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Was discussion on solar charger recently - I got one a few weeks ago. 6w and pretty large - as apparently the smaller ones are pretty useless in the UK in winter.

So far its looking like it is maintaining - or even adding a little charge to my battery when sitting there for a few days.

Only issue is if some scum plans to smash my window and steal it.

It's not valuable Mr CCC. They are £20 from Maplin! I've used them and they are very handy for keeping the battery topped up if you go away. Still you are in Scotland, so no sunlight util April then.

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