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5 Reasons Why Your Car Battery is Corroded

Is your car battery covered in crumbly or ashy and white or blue residue? If so, your car battery is likely corroded and that corrosion isn't just unsightly; it can seriously affect the condition of your vehicle and its systems! Even if your car manages to start with a corroded battery, your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and other electrical systems could be seriously affected. These systems all depend on the car's battery for power and corrosion can affect how well that power flows throughout your vehicle.

car battery with corrosion

What Causes Battery Corrosion?

There are multiple causes of battery corrosion, each starting at the same source. Batteries contain a combination of sulfuric acid and water. When the corrosive gas or liquid from inside the battery comes in contact with the metal on the outside of the battery, a chemical reaction results. It's that chemical reaction that causes corrosion. There are several ways this can occur:

  1. Battery terminals are an important component of your car's electrical system. They're made of a highly conductive metal like copper. That metal is what connects the battery to the electrical system. Unfortunately, sometimes escaping corrosive gases or liquids can come in contact with the terminals and cause corrosion.
  2. If your vehicle has a refillable battery, adding too much distilled water can cause the acid mix to leak onto the outside of the battery. From there, it's apt to come in contact with the metal terminals and cause corrosion.
  3. Even maintenance-free batteries have tiny vents to allow excess sulfuric gas to escape. Depending on where these vents are located, they may allow that escaping gas to touch the battery terminals, ending in corrosion.
  4. Overcharging your battery can cause it to heat up. That extra warmth can cause the liquid inside the battery to expand, allowing the corrosive liquid to come through the vent holes and onto the battery cables.
  5. If your battery is nearing the end of its 5 to 7 year lifespan, corrosion can be expected.

What to Do if You Spot Corrosion

Battery corrosion should never be ignored. If you don't feel comfortable dealing with it yourself, let us help! At Custom Complete Automotive, we can take care of all your electrical system needs. Our friendly, experienced technicians can clean or replace corroded battery terminals, replace an aging battery, or handle any other electrical system problems you may be experiencing. To learn more about our auto services, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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