Three other battery conditions which could occur are frozen, bulging, and exploded batteries. These conditions are not as common but do occasionally occur. The first condition, frozen battery, would very rarely, if ever, occur here in Phoenix, AZ., because temperatures in the Valley of the Sun seldom drop to a freezing 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the vehicle were used for a winter vacation or a weekend ski trip to ski resorts in Arizona such as Arizona Snowbowl, Sunrise Park Resort, Elk Ridge, Flagstaff Nordic Center, or Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, and if the battery becomes discharged during freezing temperatures, then the battery could become frozen. A good battery that has become discharged and then frozen could be brought back to a serviceable condition. The battery would have to be thawed and then charged to full capacity. Some batteries that have been frozen may have bulging sides. This is because the electrolyte inside the battery freezes solid and causes the walls of the battery to bulge. If the walls of the battery are bulging then the integrity of the battery has been compromised and should be replaced. A frozen battery could also have cracked walls or the seal of the battery cover could be leaking allowing electrolyte to escape from the battery and contaminating the engine compartment. In this case the battery must be replaced.
A battery can also explode. Battery explosions are a result of a condition called gassing. Gassing is a result of the battery being charged or more likely overcharged. When the electrolyte in the battery is being stimulated by charging some of the liquid electrolyte turns to a vapor or gas, hence the term gassing. The vapor escapes through vents on the top of the battery. As the vapor cools it collects as a liquid on top of the battery. This vapor is highly explosive and if subjected to sparks will ignite. When a battery explodes the battery case or housing will be destroyed, requiring replacement. Some batteries can explode internally due to loose, arching battery cell plates because of excessive movement of a battery not properly secured. Internal explosions could cause battery case bulging or destruction. When servicing or jump starting a battery that has gassed safety precautions must be performed so that sparks are not created. When a battery has gassed the electrolyte level has decreased and will need to be returned to the proper level by adding distilled water to the cells if the battery is serviceable. If the battery is maintenance free or non serviceable, then the serviceability of the battery could be compromised. In this case the battery may need to be replaced.
How and what kind of battery to buy will be discussed next time.