can battery corrosion cause check engine light

Can Battery Corrosion Cause Check Engine Light

One day, when I was in a traffic jam, suddenly the check engine light of my car came on. I blamed the battery for the check engine light, as my battery was corroded. So, can battery corrosion cause check engine light?

Yes, battery corrosion can cause the check engine light to illuminate. The limited power flow caused by corrosion hinders the battery from charging properly. This can lead to low voltage, causing the central computer and sensors to malfunction, and triggering the check engine light.

I did deep research to find the connection between battery corrosion and the check engine light. Finally, I was able to find it. Then I cleaned the battery and cleared the check engine light successfully.

In this article, I will explain how I did them and how can battery corrosion cause check engine light to come on.

Why Are Batteries Being Corroded?

corroded battery ternminal

When the battery is running, sulfuric acid (H₂SO₄) inside the battery releases hydrogen (H₂) gas. Hydrogen gas should not contact the terminals of the battery. So, what happens if terminals are exposed to hydrogen gas? Then the battery corrosion happens. This condition is called hypercorrosion.

How do Batteries Prevent Hydrogen Gas from Contacting with Terminals?

There are bushings sealed between the terminals and the battery case. They protect terminals from hydrogen gas. When bushings wear out, hydrogen gas reacts with the terminals.

How To Clean the Corroded Battery Terminals?

Here I will explain how I cleaned corroded battery terminals as a step-by-step guide.

Tools Needed: 1.  A teaspoon of baking soda

                        2.  Cup of water

                        3. Spoon

                        4.  Dry cloth

                        5. Pair of protective gloves and eye goggles

First, I parked the car in my garden and turned off the engine. I wore a pair of protective gloves and eye goggles, as battery acid is dangerous to be in contact with.

Then I put a tablespoon of baking soda in the cup and filled it with water. I stirred it well.

I carefully poured the baking soda solution onto the battery terminals and any other corroded areas. I made sure not to use excessive amounts of the solution.

Next, I poured the baking soda solution over the corroded area on the battery terminals. Then baking soda reacts with the acid buildup on the terminals, making bubbles and foam.

I scrubbed and thoroughly cleaned both battery terminals and cable ends by using the toothbrush.

Then I rinsed the baking soda residue with clean water and dried the battery using the cloth. I used the garden hose to put water on the battery.

Important: If you notice significant damage to the battery after cleaning, you should consider replacing it. Sometimes your battery may still have warranty coverage.

Lastly, I checked the voltage of my battery.

How To Check the Voltage of the Car Battery?

Battery VoltageBattery Condition
12.6VFully charged
12.4V – 12.6VGood
12.2V – 12.4VFair
12.0V – 12.2VLow
10.5V – 12.0VDischarged. Can be recharged using a battery charger
Below 10.5VThe Battery is dead. Not rechargeable.

Tools Needed: A Multimeter only.

First, I turned on the multimeter and set it to voltage mode.

Then I turned on the headlights of the car and kept them on for 2 minutes to eliminate any surface charge on the battery.

I turned off the headlights and connected the multimeter to the battery. The reading was 11.4 volts.

Note: A fully charged battery should read around 12.6 volts. Our batteries are old. So, if it has more voltage than 11 volts, it is okay. If your battery has a voltage less than 10.5 volts, it should be replaced.

What Can I Do to Avoid Battery Corrosion?

Use an anti-corrosion washer such as WD-40 to remove corrosion from the battery. Then apply grease to the terminals to prevent future corrosion. There are some other reasons for the corrosion other than a failed bushing. They are moisture, a damaged battery case, and environmental factors like salty wind near the beach.

There is no permanent solution for hypercorrosion if it happens due to a failed bushing. In this situation, you have to regularly clean the battery to maintain its performance.

What Happens If I Neglect Battery Corrosion?

car wiring

You must take the necessary precautions to prevent or reduce the corrosion of your battery, or you should replace it. If the corrosion is not addressed, it can lead to serious electrical problems in the vehicle.

Can Battery Corrosion Cause Check Engine Light to come on?

Let’s come to our main question: can battery corrosion cause check engine light? Battery corrosion is not directly causing the check engine light. Then how can battery corrosion cause check engine light?

The amount of power that can flow from the battery to the engine of your vehicle and back into the battery is limited by corrosion. As a result, the battery does not charge properly and the central computer and sensors start working weirdly due to low voltage. Finally, the central computer thinks there is a fault in the car and turns on the check engine light as sensors send incorrect signals.


Does battery corrosion mean bad battery?

Battery corrosion happens due to ageing of the battery. But you should not ignore battery corrosion. Corroded battery terminals are a common reason for the electric problems of the cars.

Is battery acid harmful?

Sulfuric acid is the acid used in batteries. It is a highly corrosive fluid. It is also known as battery acid. Sulfuric acid can burn the skin, taint the soil, and harm any electronic equipment it comes into contact with.

What is the color of battery acid?

New flooded lead acid batteries have a clean, discolored acid electrolyte that is free of any particles. When the battery is aging, the acid gets pale gray color.

Does overcharged battery cause check engine light?

Yes, an overcharged battery causes the check engine light. A defective or undercharged battery won’t be able to supply the proper amount of power to the computer in your car. You might also have a helpful battery warning light on your dashboard if you drive a more recent model of vehicle.


Can battery corrosion cause check engine light? Yes, it is. But it is not the only possible cause. Sometimes even a loose gas cap causes the check engine light. So, when the check engine light comes on, first check the cap of the fuel tank.

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