What Is The White Stuff on My Car Battery? And What to do

Understanding Corrosion on Your Vehicle Battery and How to Address It

It’s Father’s Day weekend! And there’s a lot to do to celebrate with your favorite guy in Millsboro. But, nothing can spoil the fun quicker than hopping into the car, and being meet with a dead battery. And, when you pop the hood, the only thing you see is icky white film on your battery’s terminals. So, to better understand what’s going on, the experts at In and Out Tire Pros and Automotive explore what this white stuff is and how to address it.

What is Battery Corrosion?

Battery corrosion typically appears as a white, blue, or greenish powdery substance around the terminals of your vehicle’s battery. And, it usually occurs due to the release of hydrogen gas from the acid inside the battery. Because, when this gas reacts with other elements under the hood, such as moisture and air, it forms corrosive compounds. And sadly, this corrosion can affect the performance and life of your battery.

Causes of Battery Corrosion

  1. Hydrogen Gas Release: During the charging and discharging cycles, hydrogen gas can escape from the battery and react with other elements to form corrosion.
  2. Overcharging: Excessive charging can cause the electrolyte to boil and release more gas, increasing the likelihood of corrosion.
  3. Electrolyte Leakage: If the battery is damaged or old, it might leak electrolyte, leading to corrosion on the terminals.
  4. Environmental Factors: Humid and salty environments, like our coastal areas of Millsboro, Long Neck and Georgetown, can accelerate the corrosion process.

Signs of Battery Corrosion

  • Difficult Starts: Corrosion can interfere with the battery’s ability to provide power to the starter motor. And this can lead to slow or difficult starts.
  • Electrical Issues: Dim headlights, malfunctioning electrical components, and other electrical issues can be a sign of poor battery connection due to corrosion.
  • Visible Build-up: A clear indication is the presence of a white, blue, or greenish powder around the battery terminals.

How to Address Battery Corrosion

  1. Safety First: Before starting, ensure the engine is off and the car is in park. Also, wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from the corrosive substances.
  2. Remove the Battery Cables: Start with the negative cable (usually black) to avoid short circuits. And then remove the positive cable (usually red).
  3. Clean the Terminals:
    • Baking Soda Solution: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water. And then apply this solution to the corroded areas using a brush or cloth. Because, the baking soda neutralizes the acid and helps to dissolve the corrosion.
    • Scrub the Terminals: Use a wire brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the terminals and the battery posts until they are clean.
    • Rinse and Dry: Rinse the terminals with clean water to remove any residual baking soda solution and dry thoroughly with a clean cloth.
  4. Inspect and Apply Protective Coating:
    • Inspection: Check the battery cables and terminals for any damage. And if they are frayed or excessively corroded, they may need to be replaced.
    • Protective Spray: Apply a battery terminal protector spray or a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent future corrosion.
  5. Reconnect the Battery Cables: Connect the positive cable first, followed by the negative cable. And ensure the connections are tight (but not overly so).
  6. Regular Maintenance: Regularly check your battery for signs of corrosion and clean the terminals as needed. Because, keeping your battery clean and properly maintained can extend its life and ensure your vehicle runs smoothly.

Preventative Measures

  • Battery Terminal Protectors: Install battery terminal protectors (felt pads soaked in a corrosion inhibitor) to help prevent corrosion.
  • Regular Checks: Inspect your battery and terminals regularly for any signs of build-up or damage.
  • Proper Charging: Avoid overcharging your battery, as it can increase the risk of corrosion. And if using an external charger, ensure it has an automatic shut-off feature.

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When to Seek the Professional Help of In and Out Tire Pro and Automotive

If you notice persistent corrosion, frequent electrical issues, or if your battery is old, it might be time to Google auto repair near me to get the contact info of the professionals at In and Out Tire Pros and Automotive. Because their ASE certified mechanics can perform a more thorough inspection and test your battery’s health. And this ensures that your vehicle remains reliable and safe.

In and Out Tire Pros is a local, family owned auto care and auto repair service center. And one that Bill and Rita Schrider have built into the top, trusted auto repair, auto care shop in Millsboro. We are dedicated to giving you the very best auto repair and auto care service. And we have a focus on upfront and honest quotes, timely response to issues, and quality products and parts.

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