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What Does Battery Sulfation Mean?

You try to turn on your vehicle and you heard the dreaded click, click, click sound of a dead battery. A  build-up of sulfation has killed your battery, but what is sulfation?

Batteries are like living creatures, they need exercise and maintenance to keep them from “dying.”

Most vehicles use lead-acid batteries. Invented in 1859, lead-acid batteries are one of the earliest types of rechargeable batteries. They are the most widely used rechargeable battery. 

A lead-acid battery has a high power density, which means it is able to release large amounts of power quickly. The battery’s larger power-to-weight ratio makes it ideal for automotive use because of the high current required by a vehicle’s starter motor.

Lead-acid batteries consist of a number of cells. Each cell has positive and negative plates, separators and electrolyte, all contained in a battery container. Cells are densely packed with alternating lead and lead oxide sheets. 

Using an electrochemical reaction, a lead-acid battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy.

When a battery is used, sulfuric acid in the electrolyte is being depleted. As a result, the electrolyte closely resembles water. As that is happening, sulfate from the acid is coating the plates, which reduces the surface area over which a chemical reaction can occur.

When a battery is charged, the process is reversed, driving sulfate back into the acid.

The most common cause of battery failure is sulfation, a buildup of lead sulfate crystals. This occurs when a battery is deprived of a full charge (also called “killing the battery” or “draining the battery”). Sulfate materials crystallize on the discharged portions of the battery plates, damaging the battery.

All lead-acid batteries accumulate sulfation over the course of their lifetime, as a part of the natural chemical process. The problems occur when sulfation builds up.

Allowing a battery to go dead for long periods of time will cause sulfation. 

So how do you prevent a battery from going dead? CTEK’s line of battery chargers are the answer.

CTEK Chargers maximize the life of your battery through the application of a series of 4 to 8 patented charging and maintenance stages using unique microprocessor-controlled charging processes. 

When required, they will automatically take appropriate action based on your battery’s needs: reviving, charging, conditioning, desulfation, and maintaining your battery. 

CTEK chargers will constantly monitor the condition of your battery and act as needed to keep it at peak capacity. CTEK Chargers regulate the charge voltage to protect sensitive and expensive vehicle electronics. 

Certain CTEK chargers have a special reconditioning or RECOND mode that helps to revive batteries that have been sitting unattended for long periods and are deeply discharged. 

Others even have a power supply mode, so you can change out your vehicle’s batteries without losing any computer program settings and/or to provide clean and constant power in support of any professional shop flash reprogramming service needs. 

Once the charger is connected, you can forget about how long the battery needs to be charged or whether it is sulfated or not. Our chargers take care of everything automatically so that you can enjoy the work or pleasure that your battery was destined to provide. We call it ”Connect and Forget.”

Check out CTEK's smarter battery chargers.

“Having owned several of another ‘popular’ brand of charger, the CTEK is far and above superior in every possible category. WELL worth the miniscule additional cost. ”