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Battery Cables, Corrosion Methods and Causes
Batteries and battery cables are essential tools that facilitate the smooth operation of any machine. They are important for many reasons; they facilitate a machine’s ignition, headlights, power flow, among others. In case one of your battery cables fails to function, your car may not work as required. Both the positive and the negative power cables work hand in hand to allow a proper and continuous flow of power.
Clean Battery Cables Corrosion
Batteries that have been stored for a longer period of time are more likely to have corrosion effects. Corrosion typically looks like a white or greenish layer of discoloration on a battery terminal. These layers are mostly caused by a chemical reaction between hydrogen gas and other acids from the battery. Removing corrosion after long periods of time ensures there is a perfect connection and performance between the battery and the machine.
Symptoms of Bad Battery Corrosion
Your engine is too low
Your engine fails to start
You hear some noise when turning on your machine
Your machine’s lighting dims
Once in a while, you ought to examine all your battery cables; do you notice any corrosion, holes, cracks, or burns? If so, focus on the point where the cable connects to the battery and where it attaches to the main system to examine any other faults.
What Causes Corrosion on Battery Cables?
Battery cable corrosion happens for so many reasons. If left untreated, it may cause major problems. No one wants such wide complications on their machines, right? Some common causes of battery corrosion are:
The most common cause of battery corrosion is a chemical reaction between hydrogen gas and metal terminals. The hydrogen gas is generated from an electric current that occurs as a reaction in the battery, or sometimes the gas just leaks through the battery terminals.
Since all batteries contain acid, a damaged battery is likely to leak acid in the form of an electrolyte solution. The solution then accumulates on the battery terminals causing corrosion.
Overfilling occurs when you add more than the required amount of water to a battery. All lead-acid batteries that require water-topping have the highest mark of water, and you should not add further. Overfilling the battery makes the solution leak through the vents, eventually corroding the battery terminals.
4.Overcharging a Battery
If you overcharge a battery, its temperature will be abnormally high. A high temperature makes the electrolyte boil, expand and leak gases through the vents. Such leaking acids and liquids can easily corrode battery cables.
5.Chemical Reaction on Copper Clumps
Usually, copper does not corrode easily, and it is a good conductor of electricity too. However, the sulfuric gases leaking from a battery can react with copper to form copper sulfate, which easily causes corrosion. Any blue-green substances on your battery cables could be a result of this reaction.
As the battery ages, its ability to hold more charge and generally perform well reduces. It is advisable to replace batteries within five years to avoid slow performance and other complications that may arise. Go for a new one so that one day you do not wake up to a dead battery. Also, managing your current battery’s corrosion in due time is important for extending your battery life.
How to Remove Corrosion from Battery Cables
Proper corrosion removal is critical to the health of any battery cable. Below is a step-by-step guide on removing corrosion from a car battery safely.
Step 1: Disconnect the Battery Cables
First, start by turning off the engine and waiting for it to cool. Then remove the cables starting with the negative battery first. It is marked by the (-) sign or NEG abbreviation. It is black in color. Remove the positive cable marked by the (+) sign or POS abbreviation, and it is red in color.
Step 2: Inspect the Cables
Inspecting the cables means a thorough examination for any cracks, peels, or insulation. If there is any of these, the cables are damaged or corroded, and they need to be either replaced or cleaned.
Step 3: Remove the Corrosion from the Battery
There are different methods that you can use to remove corrosion from battery cables.
Apply a Battery Cleaning Agent
Go for a battery cleaning agent if you can access one. This option is not only effective but will also help to neutralize the acidic content in the battery. Commercial-grade battery cleaners are the best corrosion removers. However, there are other cost-efficient products for people who cannot access these commercial products. As long as you are keen and cautious to avoid any engine damages, other cleaning agents may be used.
Baking Soda Method
The method is simply done by using an old toothbrush or brush to scrub the corroded cables using the solution. The baking soda will react with water to neutralize the acidic solution and, at the same time, remove the corrosion.
Step 4: Rinse and Dry
After scrubbing the corroded parts, rinse completely with clean water and let them dry. Be careful not to let the cleaning agents come into contact with other parts of your vehicle to avoid other damages. If possible, remove the battery from the machine completely when cleaning.
Step 5: Apply Corrosion Preventive Steps
These steps are advisable to prevent corrosion in your battery cables in the future.
1.Apply anti-corrosion pads or battery terminal protectors.
2.Apply some petroleum jelly
3.Use a battery corrosion preventive spray or a brush-on compound.
Step 6: Reconnect your Battery to the Machine
Once you are done with steps 1 to 5, you can reconnect your battery back to your machine. Do it as a reverse of the first step; start by reconnecting the positive terminal instead. At this point, you can apply other battery-corrosion preventive methods. Battery corrosion removal and care typically take 15 to 20 minutes.
Battery corrosion is one major cause of decreased battery life and performance. Waking up to a car battery cable that has failed to start can be one great hassle in the morning. Luckily, the process of cleaning battery corrosion is very simple and can be done by anyone, and you do not need a mechanic for such services. Corrosion removal is a must-know maintenance task for any person who owns a machine. Remember, a clean battery increases its lifespan and maintains an incredible performance as well!