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How To Clean Car Battery Corrosion Quickly And Easily

As your vehicle gets older, it’s only natural to expect a bit of battery corrosion to build up over time. Nobody can avoid it, as it is just a symptom of flooded battery ownership. But if you want to know how to clean it easily, this guide will help you through that. 

The simplest way to clean your car battery is through a mixture of water and baking soda. Mix the two in a half-and-half solution and remove the dirty surface with a stiff brush. After enough time, you will see that your battery is clean.

There are many more forms that you can use to clean your battery. Below, we will get into different ways you can do so and many corrosion types. Be sure that you wear safety glasses if you make any sort of battery-related checks to your car. 

What Is Car Battery Corrosion?

Car battery corrosion is the white, ashy substance that you see on the surface of your car’s battery. Sulfuric acid inside of your battery is heated and cooled as a result of its usage. As the process continues, the battery produces hydrogen gas, which comes in contact with a different external environment. 

The external environment creates a corrosive experience that affects the battery terminal, coating the substance’s surface. 

Are There Other Corrosion Forms?

If your battery gets wet, you are more likely to see a green coating on your battery terminal. This happens in reaction to the hydrogen gas and copper (which creates copper sulfate). If you have aluminum terminals, you will have a white substance. 

Can Battery Fluid Leakage Cause Corrosion?

The least common kind of corrosion comes from an unused or damaged battery. If you hit a hefty bump on the road and your battery happens to be in the wrong spot, the sulfuric acid can leak onto the surface of the battery. 

The Simple Step-By-Step Guide On Cleaning Your Car Battery Terminals

  1. Turn off your vehicle to prevent giving yourself an electric shock. 
  2. Remove your cables from your battery terminals, starting with the negative terminal.
  3. Look at your battery to see if you see any damage. Suppose you see a crack or a leak; it’s time to replace your battery.
  4. You should see a white substance on the surface of your battery; this is the battery acid you need to clean off.
  5. Mix a baking soda water solution into a container. Dip a small wire brush (or you can use an old toothbrush) into the container. Use the soaked brush to clean off the white substance from your battery posts.
  6. Use a clean cloth to remove the battery cleaning agent. 
  7. Add petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion of your battery surface. 
  8. Make sure it is dry and reconnect the battery terminals, starting with the positive one.

What If The Acid Is Tough To Get Off?

In this case, you can remove the car battery corrosion by allowing the mixture to sit there for some time. Giving it time will allow the acid to be eaten by the combination. 

What Causes Battery Corrosion? 

If you are wondering what reason your battery is corroding, check out these standard options below:

Undercharging or Overcharging 

If your negative battery terminal has a buildup of white substance on it, these are signs you need to drive your car more. This is what happens when your vehicle is undercharged.

If your positive battery terminal has a buildup, that is a sign that your battery is overcharged. Overcharging your battery can sometimes push the acid from your vehicle. 

Too Much Battery Water

If you have a battery that involves you filling it up, too much battery water can cause common leaks. With enough leaks, the surface of your battery will be wet, thus causing corrosion.

Battery Damage Or Age

If your battery has ordinary wear and tear signs, that may mean that its age has caught up with it. In this case, that is when you will check for cracks or bulbing (or other kinds of damage), indicating you need to replace your battery. 

High Temperatures

Flooded batteries are more likely to have a small space bubble over in the event of incredibly high temperatures. If you live in locations like Texas or Arizona, put your car in the garage if possible. At the very least, try and park your car under the shade. 

If The Inside Acid Comes In Contact With The Battery Terminals

Whether it be related to overheating, undercharging, or overcharging, anytime the inside battery acid comes in contact with your copper or aluminum terminals, it will create corrosion. This is typically a problem in flooded batteries, as other non-liquid batteries don’t have this problem as often.

Are There Other Ways To Clean Car Battery Corrosion Using Household Items? 

Car batteries can be cleaned with a few different items. If you don’t have baking soda available, you can choose one of the other options below.

Another Form Of Cleaning Your Battery – Coca Cola

The usage of this soda has been proven to work, and you can leave it on your battery’s surface while expecting similar results. Only use this when you need to clean your battery terminals in an emergency.

Using Vinegar Or Lemon Juice To Clean A Battery Terminals

Vinegar is a prevalent cleaning agent that can be used to clean any part of your vehicles. By mixing a small amount with clean water, you can easily remove corrosion from the surface.

Over-The-Counter Battery Cleaner

Various auto parts stores will sell battery cleaning, which is specifically formulated to remove corrosion from any batteries’ surface safely. 

What If My Lead Acid Batteries Leak Onto The Ground? 

Battery acid is considered to be a hazardous substance by many different government agencies. Even if small amounts of acid get on the ground, you could be held liable for what happens if someone’s pets come in contact with the acid. 

How Do I Prevent Car Battery Corrosion? 

Regular Car Maintenance 

Through regular maintenance of your batteries, you will be able to prevent any battery terminal corrosion from happening before it gets bad. Not only will this prevent you from having to clean it, but it will also slow down the aging process of your car battery. 

Pay Attention When Your Battery Ages

A battery’s shelf life is only about three years long. As a result, it is more likely for you to have electrolyte leakage after waiting for a couple of years. All vehicles go this.

Remove Your Battery From the Car For Battery Charging 

If you plan on leaving your vehicle stationary for a long time, you should remove the battery from your car. As a result, removing the clamps from your vehicle and moving it to a location in your garage is essential when you want to keep a closer eye on your battery. If you want to make sure the battery doesn’t die, connect it to an external battery charger you can buy at any auto parts store. 

Other Areas Of Concern When Your Car Battery Leaks 

Battery Cable

Phosphoric acid isn’t just limited to leaking on your battery. Instead, it also includes leaking on your battery. If you see any wear on this cable, check to see if your battery has any hidden cracks. 

Engine

Your engine may show signs of being affected by battery acid. While battery acid only leaks on things underneath, different hoses and other parts may lead underneath your battery. If you start to notice unusual noises resulting from components located under your battery, check to see if you have any problems. 

What If It Is A New Battery?

If you have a newly purchased battery, that means it could be related to how you drive. If you drive on really rough terrain and forget to secure your battery, the flow of electrolyte leakage is more likely to occur, causing potential damage to any vehicle.

If you aren’t doing any crazy driving, check your warranty. If this is a common enough issue, you may find numerous complaints located on the company website. In extreme cases, this can cause a recall order.

Whatever the causes may be, it will be up to you to exercise your power as a consumer to ensure you get a replacement battery. Make sure you stay up to date on all critical pages. 

Can Loose Battery Clamps Cause Corrosion? 

Typically speaking, a loose battery clamp doesn’t cause corrosion. However, you may notice lower than usual power or the car stalling out or sputtering on the sides of the road. 

Also, an overcharged battery may be caused by your clamps being disconnected, which causes underutilized power. 

Is It Safe To Keep Driving If I Find Battery Corrosion? 

No. If you find battery corrosion, you need to stop to clean it off as soon as possible. Leaving erosion on your vehicle could cause potential long-term battery damage. The leaky battery can fall onto your battery cables and other items on the underside, causing further terminal corrosion and additional issues. Remove the corrosion as soon as you see it. 

Are There Corrosion-Resistant Car Batteries?

Research has been conducted to produce a more corrosion resistant variant of a car battery. However, many manufacturing challenges prevent this kind of battery from being purchasable from the general public. At this point, there are few options available for this kind of battery. 

What Is Battery Water?

Battery water contains a liquid electrolyte mixture of sulfuric acid and water. Old-style lead batteries require their cells to be continuously submerged in this combined mixture, allowing any battery terminal to maintain energy. 

These lead-acid batteries require a bit more care, as the inside liquid can splash around a bit if filled to an unacceptable level. As a result, some mechanics have the training needed to remove the clamps, open the battery, and refill the battery water. This creates a unique problem and a different type of corrosion for us to worry about. 

You cannot use distilled water as a replacement for battery water, as the most critical aspect of battery water is purified. The initial chemicals inside of standard water would cause your battery many additional problems. 

Conclusion

Corrosion on your car battery comes from time as the battery ages and the build-up of a white or green substance shows up on the surface. This corrosion can occur on both a negative terminal or a positive terminal and can be cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and water. You should also top it off with petroleum jelly to prevent further corrosion.

Left unchecked, this corrosion can spread to other parts of your vehicle, causing worn battery cables, exposure to pets, and other potential vehicle issues. But using a wire brush (or an old toothbrush) will prevent this problem before it begins.

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