What Is Car Battery Acid Stratification And How Does It Cause Premature Battery Failure?

All motorists with lead acid automotive batteries should be wary of the possibilities of stratification, which is a phenomenon that can cause batteries to fail. But what is car battery acid stratification? We will go through the basics of it to hopefully help you be better equipped to prevent it.

While there have been regular advancements in the performance of vehicle batteries, their general components have been basically the same since the 1880’s. A standard lead acid battery contains a liquid mix of sulfuric acid and water. This mixture is called the electrolyte.

Electrolyte should be evenly distributed between the top and bottom of a battery. An even concentration within the  liquid is vital for optimum performance of batteries. If the acid concentration settles on the bottom of the battery, this is called car battery acid stratification. This causes sulfation in the plates located in the bottom half, which will greatly reduce a battery’s lifespan due to accelerated corrosion.

Which drivers are more prone to experience this battery condition?

Basically, anyone that does short distance driving on a daily basis, does not use their car regularly enough or has a faulty under-charging alternator. This is a common problem with city dwellers who live in close proximity to their amenities, with the end result being, the alternator is not allowed to give sufficient daily charge to the battery.

How Do You Prevent Car Battery Acid Stratification From Forming?

Equalization charge

Stratification can occur if a battery is undercharged. You must make sure that the charger voltage is high enough to charge the battery properly and to spread evenly the electrolyte solution. To prevent stratification, you can perform an equalization charge, which balances the voltage and specific gravity of the electrolyte in your vehicle’s battery. Specific gravity refers to the ratio of weight of the liquid solution to the weight of water at a specific temperature. Equalization also prevents the build-up of sulfate crystals.

Key note:

If you are a driver who does short trips on a daily basis, or doesn’t use their car often enough, get your battery checked regularly. Keeping your battery at optimum charge at all times, to get its maximum starting and auxiliary life-cycles.


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