Battery Corrosion for Beginners

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CHARLOTTE – This is a reworking of one of our older articles. For our full back catalog, check out

What is corrosion?

Corrosion is battery acid that has seeped from the battery. There are two types of corrosion you may see on a battery – lead sulfate or copper sulfate. It forms a solid green/blue crust. Not only is it bad for the battery, but it can be poisonous.

Where does corrosion form?

Usually, corrosion is found on battery terminals due to their conductive abilities.

What are battery terminals?

Battery terminals are metal O-ring-like clamps that grab around the battery to relay current from the battery to other parts of the car.

How do I clean my terminals?

The best way is with white vinegar on a cotton swab or a bristle. Gloves and eye goggles should be worn. White vinegar is strong enough to remove corrosion but not so strong as to damage your terminals. Removing corrosion in bulk is also OK, but only if the proper safety equipment is being worn!

Can corrosion cause permanent damage?

Most likely no, corrosion does not cause anything permanent, but it can cause a need for new battery terminals. Corrosion can cause inconveniences like issues starting the car, which is never good, so maintaining a clean battery is important. It never hurts to have your battery checked from time to time.

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