Can you use aluminum foil on battery terminals? The answer is yes, but it may not be the best solution to your problem. In this article, we'll take a look at some alternative ways to get your batteries powered up without using aluminum foil and why it might not be the best option for you.
If you're like most people, the idea of using aluminum foil on battery terminals is completely foreign to you. After all, there are other materials that can be used for this purpose. However, with a little bit of knowledge and some experimentation, it might not be such a bad idea after all.
Aluminum foil is a very common household item. It's usually used for cooking or to wrap sandwiches, but it can also be used as an insulator for battery terminals in order to avoid corrosion and keep the connection between the terminal and cable intact.
Since aluminum is not exposed to electrical currents when being put into use on your batteries, the foil won't heat up and melt. There is a chance that aluminum will oxidize, but it can be easily removed without causing too much damage to your battery terminals or cables if you know how to handle the corrosion correctly. When using aluminum as an insulator for your car's battery terminal connections, make sure not to cut out small pieces of aluminum. Instead, cut one large piece of aluminum foil to use on your battery terminals for the best results.
Table of Contents
Is it safe to put aluminum foil on a battery?
The reason that aluminum foil is unsafe near the battery terminal is that it can cause enough unscheduled discharge (i.e., some stray voltage will discharge) to break down ozone in the air and create nitrous oxide, which is poisonous. Aluminum foil only becomes dangerous when placed right on top of an exposed terminal or tab on a battery, like if you were wrapping the entire thing in aluminum foil (again, but don't do this).
As a replacement for jumper cables or on any other part of your vehicle, either. Aluminum and steel do not conduct electricity well at all. They will both cause resistance in the circuit and therefore generate heat, which can result in fire hazards if left unattended under certain conditions.
While it's not advisable to use aluminum foil on car batteries, you can safely wrap the jumper cables around your battery before storing them away for an extended period of time. This will keep corrosion from forming and lengthening the life of your vehicle's battery.
What do you put on battery terminals to keep them from corroding?
There are lots of different methods you can use to prevent corrosion on battery terminals. Many people swear by using Vaseline, and others say motor oil does the trick just as well. And then some recommend adding a few dashes of salt or baking soda into your car's gas tank every now and again.
For corrosion prevention, any number of species can be used, including silica gel, calcium chloride, mineral oil, or beeswax. Each type has its pros and cons, but mineral oil is one that seems to work well for car batteries because it will rise up the terminals when the battery charges up. That might not work as well in other scenarios, though, since some types of battery containers may be too deep or inaccessible enough for rising mineral oil to really solve the problem. In general, though, if a type of corrosion prevention doesn't seem to work, try another until you find what works best for your application.
Should you put anything on battery terminals?
This will depend on a number of factors. In general, the only thing you should do is tighten the screws and clean or replace your cables as needed. You might be tempted to wrap a paper towel around the terminal, but that's just going to soak up any acid created by corrosion, and it won't stop more from forming. The best thing you can do and tighten the connection. If there's a buildup of corrosion, use a wire brush or scouring pad to get rid of it before applying dielectric grease (if needed).
There are two main reasons why corroded battery posts happen: insufficient water and overcharging. If you're not adding water as needed, your battery is going to run out of the proper amount, and it will corrode. If you're overcharging, your battery is going to heat up more than it should which can cause some corrosion as well.
You should check the battery terminals semi-annually and clean them as needed. To prevent corrosion, you can apply a thin coating of dielectric grease to each terminal before reattaching it but be sure to wipe away any excess with a rag or paper towel so that none gets on your clothes when replacing cables. The grease will help prevent corrosion and increase conductivity.
Should you put anything on battery terminals to prevent corrosion?
To prevent corrosion on battery terminals, you can use a non-conductive material such as grease or petroleum jelly. Aluminum foil may work as well, but it is not recommended because aluminum is conductive, and using it will risk short-circuiting the battery if left unattended.
If there's any corrosion on your terminals, remove them with sandpaper to increase their surface area for optimal contact. Another option is to use an anti-corrosion solution like petroleum jelly, and it's safe for your car too.
In conclusion, keeping the battery terminals clean is the best way to prevent corrosion. Should you wish to put anything on the terminals, a light coat of grease or petroleum jelly is okay. Lubricating oils and dielectric greases can be used as well but make sure they do not contain any water-absorbing compounds that would encourage corrosion under humid conditions. You may also check your mechanic for more advice on what they recommend. This way, you can ensure your car battery terminals are always in good condition.