Corrosion, Current, and Your Battery

Don't Let Corroded Battery Terminals Leave You Stranded

Few things are more disappointing than setting out to drive your car only to find the engine doesn't start. Hundreds of moving parts have to be in working order to make a car run and drive, but the battery, alternator, and starter are the usual suspects. So, when you pop the hood and check the battery, what do your battery posts look like?

Break the Choke Hold on Your Battery:

Do your terminals look like this? That corrosion is stealing the current from your battery.

Do your terminals look like this? That corrosion is strangling the electrical current from your battery.

Corrosion is the electronic equivalent of bad cholesterol, and oxidation on the battery posts could easily be choking the flow of electricity from your battery.

Thankfully, battery terminal corrosion is very simple to resolve with items you probably have lying around the house. The process of cleaning the corrosion doesn't take a long time and requires nothing more complicated than water, baking soda, and basic tools.

Here's How it's Done:

Mix baking soda and water into a thin paste, then scrub the terminals, posts, cables with the paste using a brush or a dedicated battery post and terminal tool. Finish by rinsing with clean water and dry with a towel.

Safety First!

When the baking soda reacts with the corrosion, it's likely to cause fizzing and splattering. We strongly recommend using safety glasses to protect your eyes. If you are fond of your clothes, we also recommend wearing an apron.

The Battery Terminals are clean, now what?

This colorful collection of oxides doesn't even resemble a battery terminal.

This colorful collection of oxides no longer resembles a battery terminal. Time to replace it.

After cleaning the corrosion, you may discover your terminals to be in pretty bad shape. We have plenty of options if you need to replace them.

You may want use anti-corrosion felt washers before you reattach the battery cables. Using dielectric grease on the battery terminals will isolate the metal parts from the oxygen in the air to help prevent oxidation.

A Few Ounces of Prevention

This mat sits between your battery tray and your battery to ensure that, if you find an acid leak, you don't find corrosion along with it.

This mat sits between your battery tray and your battery so that if you find an acid leak, you don't find corrosion along with it.

At this point, since you're already working with the battery, it's a good idea to protect your battery tray and engine bay against corrosive acid leaks with a battery mat, available in your choice of yellow or black. These mats absorb leaking battery acid before it can pool under the battery and create a haven for rust.

If your battery tray has already fallen victim to acid, then you'll need to replace it before things have a chance to get any worse. The last thing you want is for the corrosion to spread like an infection throughout your engine bay.

We stock a huge selection of replacement battery trays for virtually every model year of each vehicle we service.

 

Not Driving Anywhere for Awhile?

W20039

This 12 volt, 1.25 amp, 3 stage charger can be left on your battery indefinitely without overcharging concerns.

This is a great time to upgrade to a quick disconnect terminal to prevent your electrical accessories from draining your battery while parked. Add a low-current charger to protect against the battery's slow self-discharge and plug in a memory saver to prevent your clock and any computer modules from resetting. These steps will ensure your engine is ready to start when you are.