Car has sulfated battery
I tried to start my car and it sounded like the battery had died. My neighbor took a quick look at it and he said it looked like I have a ‘sulfated’ battery. As I understand it, that is the blue flakes around the positive connection. Wearing a glove, he tried scraping away the crud and it did slowly start, so I won’t have to get a tow. Should I take his suggestions to finish the maintenance or should I take it to the shop and have them install a new battery?
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hello. The battery and battery cables need to be evaluated at this point. Check the two terminals. If corrosion has begun on one area, the other areas around there will likely follow. If the tips of the battery cables are corroded, there’s a strong chance it goes up inside the wire conduit and will need to be cleaned off.
The battery terminals will need to be cleaned off, and if the battery posts are not clean, they will need to be cleaned as well. With perfectly clean terminals, posts, and cables, reevaluate the the status of your battery. If it holds a charge and works, you do not need a new battery. If it continues to give you trouble, then you will then need to replace the battery. If you would like to have this taken care of for you, have a certified technician from YourMechanic come to your car’s location to inspect the system and replace the battery if necessary.
How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?
Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :
Battery corrosion is a normal part of battery life that can be caused by typical wear and tear. But just because it`s normal doesn`t mean you should ignore it. In fact, corroded battery terminals are a common cause of reduced battery life and electrical problems in vehicles.
On other vehicles with regular flooded lead-acid batteries, if you see corrosion forming around your terminals, it doesn`t mean your battery needs to be replaced, but it does mean there is probably significant resistance building up around that connection, which can make it harder for your battery to accept and deliver …
Corrosion can drain power out of a battery and shorten its life. Battery corrosion is typically apparent at the terminals, a problem that can be resolved by careful cleaning.
Corroded battery terminals can cause your car or vehicle to not start. Battery corrosion can also lead to a myriad of other car battery problems, including damage to the vehicle chassis, electrical wiring, air conditioner lines and more.
What Problems Do Corroded Battery Terminals Cause? Corrosion limits the amount of power than can travel from the battery to the engine and from the charging system back into the battery. This can make it difficult to start your engine and lead to premature failure of the battery due to inefficient recharging.
The most common cause of battery corrosion is from electrolyte or electrolyte vapors emitting from the top of the battery. Hydrogen gas, which is naturally released from the battery may also allow the acidic electrolyte to condense on the top of the battery.
The alternator will keep doing this, overcharging the battery and encouraging the battery acid to release more corrosive hydrogen gas than is normal or safe. A faulty alternator may also be the culprit.
Corrosion on your battery terminals is one of the most common causes of a dying battery. Corrosion appears as a blue-green powder on the battery terminal and reduces the battery`s ability to receive a charge. Corroded terminals can lead to voltage issues and trouble starting your vehicle.
Does a Corroded Battery Need to Be Replaced? Once an alkaline battery has corroded, it is no longer safe to use and must be replaced. Before you attempt to remove a leaking battery, be sure to take the proper precautions to avoid being burned. We recommend using a pair of protective gloves and some protective eyewear.
If your battery is sulfated, which results in low power and difficulty in recharging to full capacity, it can sometimes be recovered using proper pulse charging techniques. Wehmeyer warns, however, that there are an infinite variety of pulse charging techniques used by a wide variety of equipment sold for this purpose.
The most common sign that a battery could be sulfated is when it does not hold a charge very well or doesn`t hold a charge at all, other signs include the battery going dead long before expected or electronic devices not getting the required power they need (ie dim headlights, weak AC, slow start-up).
Sprinkle some baking soda over the corrosion to neutralize the battery acid. Dip an old toothbrush or cotton swab in vinegar or lemon juice so it`s soaking wet, and dab it on over the baking soda. Let it fizz for a couple of minutes, then scrub the corrosion away and rinse with clean, water-soaked cotton swabs.
When a battery becomes corroded, energy can flow less efficiently through its terminals, causing you to notice a decrease in battery power. The most common cause of battery corrosion is from electrolyte or electrolyte vapors emitting from the top of the battery.
Corrosion typically looks like a flaky layer of brown, white, or green discoloration that sits on your battery terminals. It`s important to note the color of the buildup collected on your terminals because it indicates the difference between corrosion and sulfation.
Relevant Questions and Answers :
the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue
Water was spilled in the trunk which soaked the car battery. Car won’t start now. Does water destroy a car battery?
Hi, thanks for writing in about the concern with the BMW 320i. If the battery was submerged in water then it’s completely possible for the battery to short out and die. Your friend will need to have the battery replaced. Also be sure to get all of the water out of the trunk. Have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, help you guys out if you need assistance with replacing the battery. Good luck.
When changing the car battery, do you "register" the battery to the car computer?
Hi there. Changing the battery has nothing to do with programming a battery. If the car was flat dead with a battery that lost all of the power because the dome light was on, then when jumped the vehicle will run fine. What may need programmed when the battery is replaced is the key fob. The key fob will lose programming to the computer as the vehicle computer is reset. However, if a 9 volt battery saver was put into a cigarette lighter and the car battery was removed, then the computer will not lose its memory and be just fine. If you need further assistance with your battery, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.
My car will not start Intermittently. I purchased a new battery 2 weeks ago and yesterday the car wouldn’t start. Got a jump and
The issue you are having is probably due to an intermittent fault in the starter motor itself or a deficiency in the starter electrical circuit, for example a large voltage drop due to a poor ground or a high resistance connection. These issues can be readily diagnosed and resolved on a mobile basis if you request a hard starting diagnostic. If you request that diagnostic, the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you promptly. Based on Toyota’s Factory Service Manual, the battery should not be disconnected if the vehicle engine is running. The battery acts as a large resistive voltage sink and consequently taking the battery out of the circuit, while the alternator is still running, can create a voltage spike on the car’s electrical system which is not good for voltage sensitive components such as the engine computer. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.
I have changed battery. I think I put non compatible battery initially and it’s start car alarm loud not turned off with remote ac
As long as the nominal voltage of the battery is 12 volts, it’s compatible. Of course, you need sufficient energy storage capacity, too, which in your case is probably around 850 cold cranking amps. As long as you did not reverse the positive and negative terminals (reverse polarity) when you installed the first battery, the battery is not incompatible. When new batteries are installed, inasmuch as any computer settings are lost, there can appear to be electrical problems, but such are not a fault of the battery. If, for example, you are having problems with the engine immobilizer system (security system) you may see a security warning light on the dash. If the warning light is on, to temporarily override the immobilizer system, see these instructions.
If you are experiencing electrical problems with other components, please simply request an electrical system diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.
Battery light stays on and overnight battery drain. 2006 Land Rover LR3
Hi there – yes, something is going on here that’s draining your battery. Perhaps the pressure of the engine wash dislodged wiring which has shorted, or there was a chemical reaction to the cleaning solution that caused electrical damage in the alternator or voltage regulator. These componnents can be checked off of the vehicle. Vehicle wiring can be diagnosed by connecting an ammeter to the positive (red) battery cable, observe the current drain (likely less than 1 amp), then, one at a time, remove each fuse, check to see if the current drain has dropped to near 0, then reinsert the fuse. This process should identify the faulty circuit in most cases. The specific components on that circuit can then be checked for current drain problems. A professional mechanic, like YourMechanic, can come to your location, and perform this procedure for you, and replace/repair the failing component.
Battery and oil light come on when trying to start car, take keys out try again car starts no problem and lights go away
Of course, don’t switch gears without being fully stopped, unless your Owner’s Manual or the manufacturer has alternative advice. However, the gear shift issue has no relation to the no-start problem you are describing. Inasmuch as you only have 6,000 miles on the car, the "constant on and off" that you believe has occurred is meaningless in comparison to the expected total vehicle service life. That is, assume what you perceive as "constant on and off", during merely 6,000 miles, might be equivalent to using the car "normally" for three years. A new car should be trouble free for at least 5 years, unless there is a defect, so your "constant on and off" is not a causal factor for any fault on the vehicle. What you might have is a defect in the ignition switch, or perhaps the immobilizer system, but if the problem is not in the switch itself, clearly there is an electrical problem.
If your vehicle is under warranty, by law the dealer MUST repair the issue you are describing within a prescribed time frame and number of "attempts", otherwise the dealer will run afoul of Federal and state Lemon Laws that give you very specific rights, and recourse (contact an Attorney; we are Mechanics, NOT attorneys). Consequently, if the vehicle is still under warranty, to save yourself money do be sure to seek a resolution from the dealer. If the vehicle is not under warranty, obviously a certified Mechanic from YourMechanic could identify the electrical fault and resolve this for you. If you want to go that route, please simply request a no start diagnostic -electrical system and the responding certified mechanic will get this taken care of for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.
Battery light stays on and overnight battery drain. 2006 Land Rover LR3
Hello – this problem can be diagnosed by connecting an ammeter to the positive (red) battery cable, observe the current drain (likely less than 1 amp), then, one at a time, remove each fuse, check to see if the current drain has dropped to near 0, then reinsert the fuse. This process should identify the faulty circuit in most cases. The specific components on that circuit can then be checked for current drain problems. A professional mechanic, like YourMechanic, can come to your location, and perform this procedure for you, and identify, replace or repair the failing component.
2005 Chrysler 300C changed battery and alternator. Car started, ran, and then battery light came on. Shut car off and wouldn’t start.
Hi. There is a couple of things that could be wrong here. The battery or alternator that was just installed could be defective. Theses parts need to be tested for proper operation. There also could be a fuse, fusible link, or wiring for the battery or charging system that is blown or broken causing the battery light to come on.
The codes that you have will cause the car to shut down, run rough, or not start at all. The crankshaft sensor and camshaft sensor should be replaced. I suggest having a certified technician from YourMechanic come diagnose the charging system and check engine codes to help you proceed with correct repairs.