Can battery corrosion keep a car from starting?

This morning, I had some trouble getting my engine to turn over. The other day, when I was checking the oil, I did see some build up on the battery terminals. But can battery corrosion keep a car from starting?

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Answer provided by
Rachel Rigolino
Answered on Aug 03, 2022
The short answer: yes, battery corrosion can keep a car from starting. Now before you go out and immediately replace your battery, you may want to try cleaning off the corrosion. This can extend the life of your battery.
You’ll need the following supplies:
  • Thick rubber gloves, goggles, and (especially if you are working inside a garage) a mask or respirator
  • Wire brush
  • Baking soda and water or professional battery cleaner
  • Paper towel
Here are the steps to cleaning corrosion off a battery:
| Cleaning steps | | Step 1: Allow your car to cool for at least 30 minutes. | | Step 2: Disconnect the black and red battery cables. Always disconnect the black (negative) cable first to decrease the risk of electrical shock. | | Step 3a: Baking soda approach: sprinkle baking soda over the part of the battery with the corrosion. Then, apply the water—you should notice the baking soda reacting with the acid. It will cause the area to bubble. | | Step 3b: Battery cleaner: Spray the product so that you coat the area with the corrosion. | | Step 4: With your gloves on, use the wire brush to remove the corrosion. | | Step 5: Clean off the battery with the paper towels. | | Step 6: Reattach the cables, red first and then black. |
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