myth? or truth


Old 11-05-06, 12:30 PM
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myth? or truth

I have always been taught that a car battery should never be set on cement It is supposed to drain it real fast.
What do others think on this? Also some scientific explantion would help.
I think it is a myth but do not do it just in case it is true.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:51 PM
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Q: Is it true that concrete will drain batteries left sitting on it?

A: No. This myth had validity back when batteries used glass separators between the lead plates. Then, if you dropped the battery on a concrete floor, the glass separators cracked or broke, thus violating the solid barrier between the plates. That allowed the positively (+) and negatively (-) charged lead plates to touch and the charge leaked off through the connection.

Therefore, people thought that "concrete caused the battery to discharge when, in fact, it had nothing to do with it," says EverStart Batteries of Wal-Mart Stores.

Today’s batteries use paper (instead of glass) envelope separators to keep the (+) and (-) plates from touching. The paper separators are highly unlikely to tear even if you drop the battery on concrete.

Batteries. [NOAA]

Most lead acid batteries need charging every two to three months when not in regular use. Perhaps, neglecting this precaution helps perpetuate the myth.
Old 11-05-06, 05:36 PM
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Interesting, I, like Michael, always thought that the concrete somehow drained a battery, so I always made sure to set the battery on wood if placing it on the floor.
Old 11-05-06, 08:16 PM
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I found info that actually did link a discharge to setting them on concrete but it is no longer applicable due to the plastic that the cases is made of now opposed to the rubber previoulsy used.

another problem is that if the battery (even current batteries) are set on concrete and they are wet or have enough dirt on them to retain moisture, there may be a small continuity established that can drain a battery.

This myth does have some historical basis. Many years ago, wooden battery cases encased a glass jar with the battery in it. Any moisture on the floor could cause the wood to swell and possibly fracture the glass, causing it to leak. Later came the introduction of the "hard rubber" cases, which were somewhat porous. A current could be conducted through this container, which had a high carbon content, if the moist concrete floor permitted the current to find an electrical ground. The wise advise of the old days to "not store batteries on concrete" has apparently been passed down to us today, but it no longer applies.
Old 11-05-06, 09:03 PM
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Modern lead acid battery cases are better sealed, so external leakage causing discharge is no longer a problem. [Temperature stratification within large batteries can accelerate the internal "leakage" or self discharge if the battery is sitting on an extremely cold floor in a warm room or installed in a submarine.]
Old 11-06-06, 05:06 AM
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OK from all the feedback I see this myth is busted because of the newer plastic and insulator plates they use these days in modren battries.
My father inlaw that is in his 70s wanted to know so I told him I would find out. He has no idea on how things have changed from the 40s and 50s and refuses to accept change.
He is stuck in a time warp.
Old 11-06-06, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by michael van
He is stuck in a time warp.

I think we all are to some extent. What will the young kids say about us as we age
Old 11-06-06, 09:04 AM
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You take a step to the right?
Old 11-07-06, 09:30 PM
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I think Michael and I have the same father in law..... I just heard the same thing from mine last night...he's in his 70's too.......funny!
Old 11-08-06, 12:55 AM
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For the seasoned citizens amoung us - and God bless them all - sometimes seeing is believing.

Take a modern car battery in good condition, take a voltage reading, and leave it on your garage floor for a week. Take another reading and the truth will be known.

BTW - my grandfather and dad taught me the same thing regarding car batteries. Although technology has made this a moot issue, they also taught me many other things about DIY and life in general that I'm proud to say are still very much relevant.

Best wishes everyone!
Old 11-08-06, 07:58 PM
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Great topic !

I'm in my 40's and I learned this from my high school shop teacher in the late 1970's This guy was the best!

I still think it's a good pratice but for different reasons.
Have you seen what a battery does to a conrete garage floor ?
It pits the floor.
Even a battery in good condition can leak acid if left long enough on concrete.
So I'll stay in my time warp and put my batteries on a piece of wood.
Old 11-10-06, 12:29 PM
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I don't think it leaks acid on the garage floor so much as that the acid that is present before the battery is laid down. If the battery is sufficiently wiped down before placing on the floor, there will be no damage from acid. I believe the acid is a problem during charging, when bubbling within the battery can expel acid.

This myth is perpetuated even by the newspaper automotive journalists, who are no smarter than the people on this board. Not too long ago I read an article that instructed people not to store batteries on garage floors, but instead to put it in your freezer!! I simply couldn't understand how that is different from leaving it in the garage during the winter!!
Old 11-10-06, 02:16 PM
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I dont think I want a car battery anywere near my freezer the link for intersate batteries is pretty good so from what i read a dead battry will freeze and destroy itself.
I always remove the thing and sprinkle baking soda all over it and all over anything even close to the battery in the car it has worked for many many years.
I have also found out that many so called maintenance free battries you can pop off the caps and look at the water level.

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