Battery corrosion

The battery on my 1996 Dodge Dakota is new but almost every day there is such a build up of corrosion on the battery terminals that I have to wiggle them or clean them with soda before I can start the truck. The termianl connections seem to be tight. What can I do to correct this problem?

too tight?

I would start by replacing the terminal on the cable.

Remove the cables from the battery and properly clean both cables and the battery posts. Make sure the battery fluid is proper (not too high or low) and that it is not being over-charged. A little di-electric grease on the clamps after they are re-attached would not hurt.

Check the output voltage on our regulator or alternator. You may be overcharging the battery causing it create H2SO4 fumes.

if you CAN actually wiggle them each morning…

then they are NOT tight.

clean then retighten them correctly/

Inspect the battery case carefully for cracks. It could be leaking around the seals on the posts too. You might have a bad battery already.

Good point. Even on a brand new battery if the posts are subjected to excessive lateral/bending force when the terminals are tightened, then you’ll damage the post seals.

If that happens, you can expect accelerated corrosion from that point on.

Checking the output voltage is very important. I had a 95 Dakota that had a 10 month battery fail (Pep Boys) due to a dead cell. The battery only had about 10 volts instead of ~12 across the terminals. The alternator output is controlled by the PCM (engine computer). The alternator output was maxed out trying to charge the bad battery. According to my mechanic, driving the truck back and forth to work (20 miles total) would have burned out the alternator and the PCM.

I would have your battery checked to see if it was good. Since the truck is 11 years old, you might want to get the battery cables replaced with new ones (there can be corrosion under the insulation where you can’t get to it. At the least remove the cables and clean the clamps and the battery posts. Make a paste with baking soda, apply to the clamps and posts to neutralize any acid, and rinse with plenty of water. I apply a little vaseline to the posts when I reattach the cables, it seems to keep the corrosion at bay.

This is a great website for all things Dakota, decent bunch of people.

Hang on to it, they’re good trucks. I still miss mine, especially when some expensive widget breaks on my Blazer.

Ed B.