What causes a car battery to corrode?
Corrosion of the car battery’s terminals happens during the charging process when the battery’s acid fumes and the condensate that forms as a result reacts with the battery terminals to create the white powdery substance on the battery terminals.
Corrosion may result from:
- overcharging of the battery
- crack in the battery case that leaks acid.
Effects of corrosion of car batteries
When the battery terminals are corroded, you may experience any of the following:
- The car may fail to start, either because the powdery substance that forms is a poor conductor of current or part of the battery terminal has been eaten away. Either of these conditions results in a high resistance between the battery terminal(s) and connecting wire(s) which starves the engine starter from the current needed to start.
- The car battery fail to charge fully because of the high resistance between the battery terminal(s) and connecting wire(s) which restricts current flow from the alternator to the battery.
- A damaged battery. Severe corrosion eats away at the battery terminals affecting its ability to safely store energy in effect killing the battery. When this happens, the battery needs to be replaced.
- Damaged wires connecting to the battery
How do you clean corrosion off car battery terminals?
First, disconnect the connecting wires from the battery terminals. For more information on which battery terminal to remove first,
To clean corrosion off battery terminals, mix baking soda with warm water or any another good quality battery cleaning solution then pour over the battery terminals. Using a wire brush, old toothbrush or scourging pad scrape off the powdery residue until the battery terminals are free of the powdery substance.
Make sure to clean the powdery residue off the connecting wires by pouring baking soda mixture over the terminals and brushing it off.
Finally apply dielectric grease or vaseline on the clean battery terminals to protect the metal from the fumes. before reconnecting the wires back to the battery terminals.
For more information on which battery terminal to connect first,
To keep car battery terminals from corroding, periodically inspect the battery terminals for any corrosion and repeat the cleaning process above if you see any signs of corrosion.
Is it OK to put Vaseline on battery terminals?
Some people have reported using vaseline to prevent build up of corrosion successfully. I would recommended a professional autocare battery terminal corrosion inhibitor or terminal grease.