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Author Topic:   Buildup on Battery Terminals
aja posted 09-05-2006 08:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for aja   Send Email to aja  
For any battery experts out there, what is that powdery stuff which accumulates on battery terminals? It seems to favor one pole or the other but can also sometimes build up in other places close by. It can be wiped away but still corrodes the metal under it regardless of how much cleaning. Is this stuff just a fact of life when using lead-acid batteries or is it some sort of indication of a charging, grounding or battery condition problem?
jimh posted 09-06-2006 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The battery terminal is probably lead. If acid from the battery reaches the terminal it will probably oxidize the lead.

For more on the chemistry of a lead-acid battery see:

In marine use a battery should be enclosed in a case to protect against splashing with water. It is a good idea to coat the terminals with a grease or sealer to prevent water from reaching them.

jimh posted 09-06-2006 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another good source of information:

This addresses your direct question on terminal corrosion.

chopbuster posted 09-09-2006 12:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
Buy yourself a tube of "Dielectric" grease, your corrosion problem will not return.
efduffer posted 09-09-2006 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for efduffer  Send Email to efduffer     
I've used white lithium grease, aka rebuilding lube, on battery terminals in cars for years and on my boat batteries. I haven't had any corrosion or connection problems. Gets messy when really hot as it is quite thin, but easy to clean up.

Speedo66 posted 09-10-2006 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Speedo66  Send Email to Speedo66     
I've always used just plain old petroleum jelly to coat the terminals on all my auto batteries and it has worked well to prevent corrosion.


Chuck Tribolet posted 09-11-2006 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Petroleum jelly melts when it gets warm out.


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