The Dead Car Battery Cell – Causes And Solutions

A car battery plays an important role in a car’s proper operation, each containing a defined number of cells.

Yet what happens, given the dead car battery cell? What are the causes behind this issue? How to solve it effectively?

Suppose you are curious about this topic; our article will be a perfect site for you to land on and look for necessary information. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

What Happens If A Battery Cell Is Dead?

dead car battery cell

A typical automobile’s battery includes six cells, and they are all responsible for its proper operation.

If they are prone to damage, your car battery is unable to generate enough current to activate the engine.

As a result, several problems may follow, including sudden stalling. And you may find it difficult to start your car.

Once activated, the vehicle cannot hold a charge for a period, causing the taillights and headlights to flicker.

What Causes A Dead Car Battery Cell?

The culprits behind a malfunctioning battery cell include age, sulfation, corrosion, erratic temperatures, damaged metals (or chemicals), a weak battery, parasitic electricity drains, and a broken charging system.

The Age Of A Battery

A battery’s age is an important indicator of its health.

If you have used it for a while without regularly maintaining or changing, its cells will be more susceptible to damage. In the long run, death is the worst scenario looming ahead.

Sulfation In Battery

When the suffocation problem arises, your lead-acid battery is not charged fully. If left unchecked, more sulfate will develop inside the battery, wreaking havoc on its cells’ conditions.

A Corroded Battery 

Corrosion seems unavoidable due to the constant exposure to the air and lack of routine maintenance.

This is one of the leading causes of the cells’ improper working and even kills the battery.

Extremely Cold Or Hot Temperatures

A typical battery works efficiently under 30 to 40 degrees Celsius.

Extreme temperatures can place much pressure on it, and if the level surpasses a standard threshold, cells could explode unexpectedly, rendering the battery’s fault.

The Damaged Metal Or Chemical In A Cell

A lead-acid battery usually contains the components as follows: two lead plates, lead oxide, and a chemical solution.

If the lead gets rusted or chemicals go dry over time, its cells no longer ensure efficient operation.

A Weak Battery

A weak battery, mostly induced by a bad alternator, cannot supply sufficient power for other motor parts to operate well.

In other words, it stops generating enough amperage for the car due to the dried liquid chemical.

And when the amount drops too low, the battery’s cells are incapable of running correctly.

Parasitic Electricity Drains

Sometimes, your battery also encounters the problem of continuous electricity draining.

This can be attributed to the loose wiring network, causing the cells to fail to cope with increased power requirements.

A Faulty Charging System

The battery, particularly cells, can work effectively thanks to a reliable charging system. If it goes wrong, the cells no longer receive enough power to run.

And if you let this problem persist, consequences will become very serious.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Dead Battery Cell In Car?

symptoms of a dead cell in a car battery

Below are some common dead cell in car battery symptoms.

Car Engine Cranking Slowly

Due to failed cells, your car battery cannot provide enough electricity for the crankshaft to rotate. Due to insufficient power, engines crank slowly, and you may feel a delay in their activation.

Check Engine Light Flashing

The check engine light will be triggered if something is abnormal with your vehicle’s parts.

If the battery goes bad without proper maintenance, the check engine light will likely switch on, notifying drivers of the potential problem.

Dim Headlight

There are numerous culprits behind a dim headlight, such as a failing alternator, ground wire corrosion, worn-out alternator belt, etc. And bad battery cells are one of these causes.

Clicking Sound

When you switch the key and activate the ignition, it is possible to hear some clicking noises. The issue can lie in a dead cell in battery.

If you face the same situation, check your car battery immediately.

Need To Push The Accelerator

This symptom is related to the engine’s slow cranking. When motor parts take too much time to start, you might need to engage the accelerator with the purpose of forcing them.

Car Stalling

Your vehicle may sometimes stall along the way. This is normally boiled down to the dead battery, which cannot generate enough power and no longer ensure the engines’ continuous operation.

I was in this case once and thought that it was the lack of fuel that triggered the problem. But my car kept stalling even after getting gas, so I brought it to a mechanic for a checkup.

It turned out that the drained battery cell was to blame.

How To Solve The Problem Of Bad Cell In Car Battery?

Following are specific prerequisites and instructions on fixing a bad battery cell.

Basic Requirements

  • It would be best to prepare the necessary tools and equipment, such as a screwdriver, a punch of Epsom salt, a drill, etc.
  • Always wear protective garments, like eyeglasses and gloves, to secure your safety.

The Step-By-Step Process

  • Step 1: You need to heat a cup of distilled water until it boils. Then, pour a half punch of Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate according to the chemical name) and stir the mixture evenly.
  • Step 2: Cleaning your car battery is compulsory at this step. 

You are advised to use baking soda and mix it with clean water to scrub the battery’s surface. In this way, the battery acid is neutralized more quickly.

  • Step 3: Take out the battery’s top cover with the help of a screwdriver. Clean the surrounding areas of the cover and pour the salt-to-water solution into the battery.
  • Step 4: Tighten its cap carefully. If you see that the plastic plugs are loose, it’s time to replace them.
  • Step 5: Charge the battery by connecting it to one of the ends of a battery terminal. This process can take about 24 hours to complete.

How To Refurbish And Recondition Bad Battery Cell Car?

battery dead cell

Here is an all-inclusive guide for you to consider.

  • Step 1: Remember to wear protective clothing, like eyeglasses and gloves, to avert unexpected injuries.
  • Step 2: Reach a well-ventilated area to refurbish your car’s dead battery cells. Please stay away from fire or some flammable items because they can jeopardize your health greatly.
  • Step 3: Take a visual inspection of the battery and take some cleaning measures to remove dirt and debris. Try to scrub the corrosion off, which is usually on the terminals.
  • Step 4: Use a flathead screwdriver to pop the cell caps off before completely prying the top cover.
  • Step 5: Lift the battery and switch its position upside-down to drain the battery acid. Place an empty plastic bucket below to contain the liquid.
  • Step 6: Clean the battery’s cells carefully with a solution made of baking soda and water. Pour the solution into your battery using a funnel before shaking it strongly for about 2 minutes.
  • Step 7: Repeat the actions a couple of times until the water seems transparent without dirt. Then, make a mixture of distilled water and salt, as mentioned earlier, and pour it into the battery until the lead plates are immersed.
  • Step 8: Tighten the cover with force. If it gets loose, much acid will leak out.
  • Step 9: Charge it by connecting it to the battery charger’s terminal.
  • Step 10: Test your battery by setting the digital multimeter to volts and connecting the device to the negative terminal. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Charge A Battery With A Dead Cell?


Batteries with dead cells cannot be jump-started or charged as they cannot hold a charge.

In other words, without prompt measures, your battery is useless and no longer provides power for the engines.

Can You Drive With A Car Battery Dead Cell?


As presented above, a battery with dead cells cannot generate enough power necessary for the engine’s operation. So, you might not start your car and disengage the clutch in this situation.

The Bottom Line

This article has clearly explained the common causes behind a dead car battery cell, coupled with the solving method consisting of five steps in total.

Besides, if you want to recondition your battery cells, we also introduce a simple approach for you, hoping to help you in some emergencies.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for my next sharing!

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