Car Battery Corrosion

Updated October, 2020
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Battery corrosion can be cleaned in two methods. One method uses water and baking soda and scrubbing. The other uses a can of cola to dissolve the corrosion. Both of these methods are inexpensive and can be performed in under 10 minutes.

Battery corrosion needs to be addressed ASAP!

Car battery corrosion is easy to spot and important to take care of. If corrosion is left untreated it can damage not only your battery but also your A/C and air intake systems. Corrosion is normally a white powdery substance that builds up on the terminals of your battery. It sometimes has a blue or green tint to it as well.

Use these 2 methods to clean car battery corrosion

Battery corrosion can be cleaned using commercial cleaners, but some people swear by the cheaper at-home methods. Both of these methods use a chemical reaction to eat away at the bonds in the corrosion. One methods uses baking soda and water to make the corrosion easier to scrub off. The cola method is used mostly in emergency situations.

Method 1: Baking Soda

Anytime you're cleaning your battery you need a few common objects and tools. You need a 3/8 inch wrench if your terminals on top, or a 5/16 inch wrench if the terminals are on the side.

  1. Make sure your car is off and disconnect the terminals, negative first then positive.
  1. Then make a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup of very hot water. Using a bristled bruh or toothbrush scrub the corrosion off the terminal.
  1. Rinse the terminals off and lubricate them.
  1. Finally reconnect your terminals, positive first, and your car is good to go.

In the end this method shouldn't cost more than $5. The only cost should be getting some baking soda. This method only takes around 10 minutes.

Method 2: Cola

Cleaning with cola should only be done in an emergency. You'll be using the same wrench size as in the previous method.

  1. Make sure your car is off and disconnect the terminals, negative first then positive.
  1. Pour cola in one direction, then pour it in the opposite direction.
  1. Let soak for two minutes and then rinse off with cool water.
  1. Reconnect the terminals, positive first, and you're ready to go.

The cola method is cheap, all you need is a can of soda. It takes only 5 minutes and is great in a pinch.

Other signs your car battery needs to be replaced

If your battery can't hold a charge or can't be jumped, it's time for a new battery. To avoid getting to this point, it can help to know what causes these problems. Overloading a battery or improper use can cause these issues on top of other things.

  • If you have a smell or odor coming out of your engine check your battery. A short circuit or damage to the case of the battery can cause a leak. Battery acid leaking in your car is never a good thing.
  • If your battery isn't holding a charge then you may have overloaded it. Plugging too many electronics into your car can drain your battery faster than your alternator can charge it. If this happens it causes damage to your battery's reserve permanently.

How much will a new battery cost?

Batteries can range in cost based on their life expectancy and reserve capacity. Brand name batteries are going to cost more, like Interstate or Optima. Another option is a rebuilt battery. This replaces the battery acid with a magnesium sulfate solution.

  • A rebuilt battery can be done yourself or you can buy one for less than $100. The price is definitely a big pro however the battery has to be messed with and that can be unsafe.
  • Your mid-range battery is between $100 and $200. These batteries are pretty standard and can run most cars and trucks. However, they may not have a high enough reserve capacity for some people.
  • Some batteries can cost as much as $300, even more for a hybrid battery. While the price is a drawback, these batteries have a longer warranty and higher standards.

How to tell when it's my battery or another car issue?

Sometimes an issue may seem like a battery issue, but it's an issue with another part of your car. The most common culprits are your alternator, a blown fuse, or a short in the electrical wiring. Differentiating these from a battery issue is important to save you time and money.

  • If you charge your battery and it doesn't hold that charge, get your alternator tested. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery as you drive.
  • A short circuit can drain your batteries power. If your battery is struggling to hold a charge get it tested as well as your electrical circuits.
  • If your headlights or interior lights are flickering or aren't working and you have changed the bulb, check the fuses. They are easy to replace and cheap to buy.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

Get instant quotes tailored to your needs - fill out our short form, today!

Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.