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The battery is the most important part of your vehicle’s electrical system. It’s responsible for supplying electricity to your vehicle’s engine and electronics. Several factors can cause your battery to fail, including corrosion.

Can’t tell if your battery is corroded? Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tackle the most common symptoms and causes of corrosion in car batteries. We’ll also give you some useful tips on how to prevent corrosion in your battery.

What Does a Corroded Car Battery Look Like?

Corrosion can look different on car batteries due to the presence of different chemicals. You might notice a whitish, bluish, or greenish substance on your battery’s terminals, cables, or posts. The whitish substance is either lead sulfate or anhydrous copper sulfate. Meanwhile, the bluish substance is hydrated copper sulfate. These substances can change properties depending on the chemical reactions that have occurred.

The sulfuric acid inside the battery releases hydrogen gas, which causes corrosion. When exposed to the ambient atmosphere, hydrogen gases can create a corrosive environment inside the battery. Moisture and salt can also accelerate the corrosion of your vehicle’s battery terminal.

Corrosion on the negative battery terminal is a common sign of an undercharged battery. There’s a chance that your alternator isn’t charging your battery enough to match your vehicle’s electrical load demand. However, if you find signs of corrosion around your positive battery terminal, then you might have an overcharged battery.

corroded car battery terminal
In a corroded car battery, the whitish substance is either lead sulfate or anhydrous copper sulfate, while the bluish substance is hydrated copper sulfate.

What Causes a Car Battery to Corrode?

Corroded car battery terminals can degrade your battery’s life and performance. If the battery terminals are corroded, the flow of electricity between the battery and the engine can be interrupted. Unstable battery performance can prevent your vehicle from starting and cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical components. Here are some common causes of battery corrosion.

Battery Fluid Leaks

There are small holes in your battery cap that provide ventilation for newly formed gases to escape when the battery is charging. An overfilled battery can cause sulfuric acid to leak out of the battery cap and come in contact with your battery terminals. The chemical reaction can corrode your battery terminals and leave a huge deposit of powdery substance, which requires extensive cleaning to remove. An overcharged battery can also lead to a battery fluid leak because the gases inside the battery can expand and escape through the cap.

Old Battery

A car battery can last up to five years if its electrical system is in good working order, it isn’t exposed to extreme heat on a regular basis, and it receives full charging cycles on a regular basis. However, the battery needs to be replaced over time due to aging and wear and tear. Old batteries are more prone to corrosion because they aren’t able to hold a charge.

How to Prevent Battery Corrosion

Whether your vehicle’s battery is corroded or not, you should inspect it at least twice a year or every 6,000 miles. Keeping a regular maintenance schedule can help ensure that your battery stays in good condition. However, if you want to take some extra steps to prevent corrosion in your vehicle’s battery, here are some things that you can try.

Anti-Corrosion Battery Washers

Battery washers are felt pads that you can place on the negative and positive terminals to prevent corrosion. They’re specifically designed to absorb vapors from the battery post and keep the terminals free of corrosion. If you’re going to install battery washers, don’t forget to grease the tops of the washers and terminals to keep them protected.

Battery Grease

Battery grease can prevent corrosion in your terminals by repelling air and water. There are several kinds of battery grease, each with its own unique characteristics and temperature ranges. If you don’t know which type of grease to use, you should ask your mechanic. Battery grease can be beneficial for lead-acid batteries, but it isn’t always necessary.

Fix Battery Charging Problems

Corrosion can occur if your battery is overcharged or undercharged. We recommend taking your vehicle to a mechanic if you notice any electrical faults or charging problems.

spraying car battery grease
Applying battery grease helps prevent corrosion in your terminals by repelling air and water.

How to Repair a Corroded Battery

There’s no single solution to repairing a corroded battery. You’ll have to inspect your battery terminal, cables, and posts for signs of corrosion. A cleaning solution and a brush can be used to remove mild cases of corrosion. However, we still recommend bringing your vehicle to a mechanic so they can properly check your battery and perform the appropriate repairs.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Corroded Battery?

Severe corrosion can shorten your battery’s life and cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical components. If unaddressed, corrosion can build up on your battery terminals, making it harder to clean. Some cases of corrosion might require replacement batteries. Car batteries typically cost around $100 to $470 depending on their brand, series, and type.

Now that you know how to spot and prevent a corroded car battery, we hope that you’ll apply these useful tips and tricks during your next maintenance session.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic.

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