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Why do some car batteries build up that nasty white powdery corrosion stuff when others do not?

I'm seeing this in my 67 merc- It was all cleaned up last summer when i had the radiator out- now there is a bunch of that white stuff.

Neither one of my elcaminos did that- but my 69 camaro did it too, and have seen it on a few friends' newer vehicles.

Any idea what causes it?
Thanks!
Ben
 

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Battery terminal corrosion is actually a metal oxide that is formed when gases, humidity and an electrolysis process all comes together at the battery terminal.

It is somewhat dependent on location of the battery, terminal construction and makeup, and ventilation to some extent.

It is easily prevented by breaking the conduction chain with a lubricant over the terminals. Permatex makes a very good spray-on that is pink in color and lasts along time! This can be wiped off the battery and left on the terminals to make a good looking termination. Another more "shadetree" approach is use vasoline or bearing grease, but attract dust and dirt. The silicone based Permatex does not attract dirt or dust.
 

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If you are a little bit to agresive hammering or twisting on the terminal you break the seal under the terminal allowing acid to seep out & cause corrosion.
 
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