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Corroded Battery Terminals and Cola

Posted by Michael Wenger on

Corroded Battery Terminal

Corroded batteries can cause bugs in any electrical system. In vehicles especially, corroded battery cables and battery terminals will cause reluctant starts, dim headlights, and poor audio quality through your speakers. Dozens of customers have arrived at our shop looking to replace a battery they believe is faulty. They are often surprised at how easy they can clean the corrosion and put new life in back into their battery!

It’s important to understand why batteries begin to corrode in the first place. The green and white corrosion you see is a bi-product of the chemicals in car batteries.

The simple act of galvanic corrosion can be blamed for corroded battery terminals. Car battery posts and cable ends are typically made of iron. The cables themselves are made of copper. These metals together act as a magnet for battery acid. The acid will also flow upwards out of the battery to the iron terminals and stick.

A battery terminal brush is the most popular tool for cleaning battery corrosion. Use baking soda, water, and the battery terminal brush to thoroughly remove the corrosion from the terminals with the battery cables disconnected. To prevent corrosion from happening again, use a grease or petroleum jelly to coat the terminals before reconnecting the battery cables.

But what if it’s too late for preventing battery terminal corrosion? You’re already stranded and your car won’t start. Instead of continuing to crank the starter and completely killing your battery, that bottle of Cola in your back seat could be your last remaining hope!

Cola will eat right through battery corrosion. The mild amounts of acid in Cola make it an excellent solution for eating through the salts in battery terminal corrosion. Cola isn’t the only soda that can be used. Many soft drinks have the same acidic properties as Cola and can be used interchangeably.

While this method can work in the most desperate situations, we don’t advise pouring liquids of any kind onto a battery that is connected to cables. Working with any electrical system can be dangerous.


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