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Battery Smells Like Sulfur: Introduction and Cause
Have you ever smell sulfur during your drive? Don’t worry, it’s not you but the battery of the car. Battery smelling like sulfur is not an uncommon case. Unfortunately, smelling like sulfur means that there is something that needs fixing.
Battery Smells Like Sulfur When Charging
The smell of sulfur indicates that there is a part of the battery that is leaking. When the battery smells like sulfur when charging, discharge the battery right away and find the source of the sulfur. Prolonging the charge of the battery will result in smoke and can even result in an explosion.
A battery that smells like sulfur when charging is not without reason. First, let’s take a look at how the battery works.
During charging, the lead plates of the battery and its electrolyte convert the electricity from the charger into a chemical that differs between positive and negative plates. To make it short, the electricity is converted then stored into chemical energy.
The discharging of the battery releases the chemical energy and convert it back into electrical energy to power up the battery. However, there are times when the positive and negative plates are no longer at their prime. This greatly affects the process, and the plates are the ones that store the chemical energy.
When the plates are unable to store the chemical energy, the electrical energy from the charger is lost since it no longer has a place to go. When this happens, the electrical energy is then converted into heat. The heat burns the cells and sulfuric acid, resulting in hydrogen sulfide that gives the sulfuric smell.
Besides overheating, there are other causes that might result in the rotten smells coming out of the battery:
1. Dead Battery
Battery smoke in a car can be caused by dead batteries. This usually occurs when the battery reaches its limit and the battery is unable to start because it lacks all of the necessary components.
2. Internal Shorting
Internal shorting can occur as a result of even the smallest error. It could be due to a loose wire or insufficiently tight fasteners. Misplaced components can lead to a disastrous outcome, putting the batteries, and even the entire battery, at risk.
If there is a rotten odour, the positive plate may have been misplaced and come into touch with the negative plate. As a result, it's recommended to inspect the source of the smoke first to see if the battery is beyond repair, can be fixed at home, or requires expert assistance.
3. Faulty Alternator
Alternators are designed in such a way that they do not need to be used while the car is not in use. As a result, there is no movement from cars and no alternators are operating.
Alternators, on the other hand, are not infallible, and they will eventually fail. After alternators fail, they might continue to run even when the automobile is turned off, resulting in overcharging. So, if there is a rotten smell coming out of the battery, a defective alternator could be one of the culprits.
Overheating is the most common cause of fulfuric battery smoke in automobiles. Many people have reported their batteries bursting over the summer. Summer is the season when the sun is at its brightest, boosting the temperature of the region.
What do you do when your battery smells like rotten eggs?
Here are the things you must do first when you encounter a battery that smells like rotten eggs:
Discharge the Battery
If the rotten smell started during charging, discharge the battery as soon as possible. The same goes for ignition. If the smell comes after you ignite the car, turn off the car.
If you continue the charging process or the ignition of the machine, two things will happen. First., you will other cells to fail by putting too much load on them. Excessive energy can also result in an explosion. Second, you’re endangering your safety and others around you.
So when this issue happens, always discharge the battery first no matter what. It is recommended to wear something to cover the nose and the mouth when you approach the battery to prevent the inhalation of the sulfur smell.
Keep Away From the Battery
As stated before, prolonging the smoke will endanger the individual and those around him. This is because of the harmful hydrogen sulfide that can harm your health. Many individuals who are inhaling the same air as the batteries are at risk of developing respiratory disorders such as asthma and emphysema.
Moreover, there is also a chance that an explosion might happen. When the explosion happens and you are near it, there is a chance it will burn your hands, arms, and other body parts; not to mention there are other parts such as the internal organs (since you inhale the smoke). Unless you are a professional at handling the battery, stay away as far as possible.
Change the Battery or Bring It to the Professionals
If you are an expert on this issue, the best thing to do is to change the battery. Hence, it is recommended to purchase a battery at least one month before its expiration date. A backup battery will definitely be useful for such occasions.
If you are unable to do it, discharge the battery and bring it to the professional. This step is the safer option, as a professional can diagnose the main issue and give a definite solution for the battery smell.
Can a bad battery cause a sulfur smell?
Yes, a bad battery can cause a sulfur smell. As a matter of a fact, it is an indication that the battery is faulty. As stated above, a dead battery can create the sulfur smell when it gives its all for its last ignition, only having none of the needed material to keep it going. When this happens, the process stated in the first section happens.
Hopefully, this article is helpful for those who has encountered the trouble of battery smells like sulfur.