Battery corrosion is a white, blue or green substance covering your battery terminals, cables or entire battery. If you have this issue, it can affect the lifespan and performance of your battery. Learn more about what causes corrosion, how it affects your battery and how car battery cleaners can help fix corrosion as an easy DIY maintenance task.

How Do You Fix a Corroded Battery?

Corrosion is a process that occurs when hydrogen gas and sulfuric acid vapors escape from a car battery. These gases react with the battery cables and posts to create corrosion. This process typically occurs on hot days. While a small amount of battery corrosion may not be a problem, a large amount can affect your battery’s performance and be a sign of a bad battery.

Because corrosion is an insulator, large amounts of corrosion can block the normal conductivity of your battery terminals and cables.  This can prevent your battery from powering your starter or other electrical devices, and can also prevent it from being recharged by your alternator. Maintain your battery using professional corrosion cleaner tools.

First, you’ll need to unhook your battery. Attempting to clean battery terminals while connected to cables can result in an electric shock. Wear gloves and safety glasses when working around your battery. Remove the negative battery cable first. Never touch the terminals together or attempt to remove the positive cable first. After removing both cables, you can remove the battery and clean the corrosion off the cables and battery posts.

Use caution when removing cables that are corroded. Corrosion can stick the cable clamps to the battery terminals. If you try to wrench them free with too much force, you could damage either component or crack your battery case.

Use a professional cleaning solution and corrosion brushes to scrub all the corroded components clean. Once cleaned, dry them completely before reconnecting your battery. If you notice heavy corrosion, it’s a good idea to test your battery to ensure that it’s working properly.

Is Corrosion a Sign of a Bad Battery?

Lots of corrosion may be a sign of a leaking battery, so use extreme caution when removing the battery to avoid coming in contact with battery acid. Use a multimeter or take your battery to a nearby auto parts store to have it tested before replacing it. A multimeter is the best way to determine whether your battery can still hold a charge. If your battery is working properly, you can safely reinstall it. Be sure to connect the positive cable first before connecting the negative battery cable.

Some fumes naturally escape from your battery under normal use. Most corrosion, however, comes from a leak in your battery. It’s best to replace a leaking battery before it spills battery acid in your engine compartment or continues to cause corrosion issues.

Learn more about proper battery maintenance online to keep your car operating efficiently and safely. From how to jump a car to buying the best car battery for your vehicle, you can find all the helpful resources you need online.