Corroded battery terminals are a common problem that causes batteries to fail. Corroded battery terminals can be caused by many different factors, and you need to know what they are before you clean them.
It’s important to know the cause of the corrosion before you clean the terminals because not every cleaning method will work for every type of corrosion.
For example, if your battery terminals have a layer of lead, you can’t use vinegar on them. You can only use an acid-based cleaner.
In this blog post, we’ll answer the question “What causes corroded battery terminals?” and share a few tips to keep them clean and corrosion-free.
What is Corrosion?
Corrosion is the process by which the metals in a battery terminal corrode. When you carry around a battery, it is possible for the battery terminals to be subjected to a multitude of external stimuli that will leave the terminals exposed to a variety of environmental influences. This can happen for a number of reasons, including water in the battery terminals, loose connections, or a minor hardware change such as a paint chip. If you find out that the battery terminals are corroded, it is usually because the battery is below its minimum operating temperature. A battery will normally last several months at temperatures below its operating temperature, but if it is left exposed to higher temperatures for too long, it can wear out.
What Causes Battery Terminal Corrosion?
Corrosion of battery terminals is caused by many different factors, including corrosive substances, temperature extremes, environment changes, and the lot. Let’s take a look at these factors in detail. Contaminated Battery Discharge Controller (DDC) This is the main cause of battery corrosion. Why do some batteries get thicker caps that are harder to open? These caps are designed to protect the DDC from any foreign matter that could damage it. In case it gets damaged, it could shut down your device and deactivate your main battery. You can tell if your device has a DDC by the size and shape of the terminals. Before you try any of the methods below, make sure your devices have a DDC.
Moisture inside of the terminals is the biggest cause of the corrosion, but the other major causes include battery discharging corrosion from chemicals, and contact with acidic or caustic materials, such as battery acid. The batteries have to be dry to make use of any of the products that we’ll discuss below. Moisture also can cause the acid or corrosion to migrate to the battery terminals. Lithium Lithium-ion batteries, especially those used in portable electronics, are susceptible to corrosion. Lithium chemicals are less reactive than the usual sulfur-based metals, such as nickel and manganese, that corrode other types of batteries. Before you clean lithium batteries, you should let them dry out and not use any electrolytes.
2. Corrosion from Wires
Wires that are dirty or corroded can lead to your engine overheating. For example, if you see exposed copper wiring, you should take that wire to your nearest auto parts store and have it tested to make sure that it’s safe. The other types of wire that have corroded with age or exposure to chemicals can cause similar problems. If exposed wire starts to rust and clog the charging ports, this can cause your car to die. Most corroded connections can be prevented by just maintaining your vehicle. The best way to do this is by changing your oil regularly. However, you don’t always know when to change your oil. If your engine is making a lot of noise or your brakes are grinding when you step on the gas, you might need to change the oil.
3. Corrosion from Rust
Rust is corrosion that occurs on the battery terminals when the metal corrodes. Rust occurs because metal parts are subject to extreme temperature and acid-based chemicals. Corroded Battery Tubes Many battery tubes have some kind of corrosion, and it’s more common in winter because corrosion from the inside out is much harder to deal with. Even though the drain tubes aren’t particularly useful in a battery charger, you can occasionally see their usefulness, as you can drain the battery and then use the tubes to refill the battery. The important thing to keep in mind is that the drain tubes in the battery charger should not be removed from the battery, nor should they be rinsed with any type of chemical cleaner before use.
4. Corrosion from Static Clings
Static electricity that accumulates on the battery terminals can be a good way to heat them up so you can clean them. It’s a tricky part of the process because the battery may be above ground and under constant static. You can’t always predict which type of corrosion is caused by static electricity because you don’t know which is going to form. Many other things can cause corrosion on a battery terminal, but static electricity is the most common. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can prevent corrosion in your battery terminals. You just need to learn about them before you try any of them. Here are 5 tips for preventing corrosion on the battery terminals of your car.
How To Clean Corroded Battery Terminals? – 5 Effective Solutions
1. Straight Vinegar
Vinegar is the only kind of cleaner that will work on batteries. It can be used to clean the terminals on most batteries, but it’s not necessary to use it on lithium-ion batteries or Tesla battery cells. Follow the steps below to clean your battery terminals. To clean the battery terminals on an automobile, put one cup of white vinegar into a small bowl and bring it to a boil. Place the wooden or metal battery terminals into the bowl of vinegar and let it cool down for a few minutes. To clean the battery terminals on a charging pad, pour about three inches of distilled white vinegar into a stainless steel mixing bowl. Mix the vinegar and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
2. Vinegar and Aluminum Foil
Vinegar is an all-purpose household cleaner. It is most effective on aluminum foil, brass, copper, and other metals. For example, for copper with a layer of lead on it, you can soak some aluminum foil in vinegar for a few minutes and then roll it in the solution. If the acidity doesn’t break down the layers of lead on the terminals, then you can use a battery pack cleaning tool to scrape and then push the coating off. You can use a pair of needle-nose pliers or even a small drill bit to gently scrape the coating off the terminals. Make sure to keep your battery terminals clean and free of corrosion at all times. It is better to replace a battery terminal than to have your car damaged.
3. Soda Pop
This is a tried-and-true method that works best for cleaning your battery terminals. The key to this method is a little elbow grease. Pour a cup of baking soda into a bowl and cover it with a mixture of dishwashing detergent and water. Mix it up with a brush. Then, soak the battery terminals in the solution and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Then, you can use the brush to rub the solution all over the terminals. Drain the solution through the battery terminals until they are dry. This can be especially helpful when the lead in the terminals is high enough. You should wash the bathtub thoroughly afterward to remove the baking soda and detergent. If you don’t want to use dishwashing soap, you can try this alternative method.
4. Colman’s Dry Yeast
Yes, that dry yeast. Colman’s uses a base of yeast and malted barley to provide moisture retention to its dried products. Aged one year, this natural and naturally occurring yeast acts as a preservative in beer, aging cheese, wine, and many other dry-aged products. As a preservative, dry yeast is known to kill bacteria and yeasts. So why do we use it as a cleaning product? According to a study published in Chemistry and Technology of Materials, Colman’s yeast has antibacterial properties and can help clean corrosion from the terminals. When tested on the equipment that has seen many, Colman’s proved to be almost twice as effective as vinegar. When used on polycarbonate frames and metal equipment, Colman’s had the best results of any cleaning agent.
5. Baking Soda
There are tons of different ways to use baking soda to clean corrosion from batteries, but I’ll tell you the two best ways for you to clean the terminal. First, baking soda is a natural cleaner. So when you use baking soda on a battery, it will absorb the corrosion. The amount of corrosiveness of the battery determines how much baking soda to use. Baking soda is also very inexpensive, so don’t worry about wasting it. It’s a big bottle that will last you a long time. Second, baking soda is an acid, and acids are a strong cleaning agent. When you use acid on a battery, you should leave it on the battery for a few minutes before you scrub the acid off the terminal. That’s because the acid helps remove the corrosion.
After you learn how to clean corroded battery terminals, you’ll know which methods will work best for the type of corrosion. You’ll also know how to spot the signs of when corrosion is happening so that you can prevent future damage to your car.