Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Diagnose the Cause of Car Battery Corrosion

    • 1). Make sure your vehicle is turned off before you check anything. Put on protective eyewear, gloves and mask. Exposure to any corrosion related to your battery is dangerous because battery acid and inhalation of the white crystals that collect on the battery terminals (or cable connectors) is very toxic.

    • 2). Figure out what kind of corrosion problem you have. Try to move the cable connectors by jostling them slightly. If they move easily, there might be corrosion in the cable connectors themselves. Check for green discoloration on any exposed copper. Using your utility knife, you can create a slit in the cable to see if the wires are corrosion free.

    • 3). Take a good look at your battery. Typically battery corrosion occurs near these connecting points in the form of white crystals and dust. This dust is more than likely lead sulfate which is toxic if you inhale it or if it comes into contact with your skin.

    • 4). Blame the connectors. If you connections with the cable connectors are loose and the cables are corroded, a possible cause for corrosion can be something as simple as rapid temperature changes mixed with a lack of appropriate lubricant on the terminals themselves. After cleaning and replacing any cables that are badly corroded, be sure to apply a lubricant like petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent rapid corrosion.

    • 5). Look for moisture. If you live in an area with high humidity, or you happen to live next to a swamp, chances are your corrosion problem is due to excessive moisture. Anti-corrosion pads are available at your local car parts store and can cut down on added moisture which causes the seal on the terminals to no longer be air tight.

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