Can You Fix a Car Battery Terminal with a Zucchini?
A deteriorated battery terminal post usually means you need a new battery. Is this hack a viable alternative?
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Via @5min.crafts/Facebook.com (3)
Improvising appeals to many of us. Time-honored tricks like hanging a tennis ball in the garage so it hits the windshield before the car goes through the wall, or slipping rubber bands around a cutting board to keep it from sliding around the counter, make everyday life better.
In that vein, attempting to restore a decayed or broken top battery post with a zucchini may sound ridiculous. But does it work? This video makes it look so easy. Let’s check it out.
How It Works
Once the battery cables are removed, the video shows a one-inch-thick piece of zucchini pushed over the battery’s good post to create a mold. The mold is then placed on top of the broken battery post. Molten lead is poured into the mold, creating a new post that is supposedly as good as new.
Spoiler alert: Do NOT attempt this. Here’s why.
The video features this warning: This activity is performed by actors in a controlled environment: Please use caution if you plan to replicate. And that’s putting it mildly.
- A car battery contains sulfuric acid that can cause serious burns. Always wear gloves and eye protection when working around a battery. If you come into contact with battery acid, flush with plenty of water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Smoking, flames, sparks or other ignition sources can cause a battery to catch fire or explode. Exercise caution when working near a battery with metal tools to prevent short circuits and sparks.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.” Handling and breathing lead dust or fumes is dangerous. The bad battery post in the video was ground down and scuffed up and had a hole drilled in the center. This gives the molten lead something to bite into, but also creates lead dust. Drilling into a battery and running a torch near a battery are things no DIYer should attempt.
Conclusion: In our opinion, do not try this hack. In the long history of bad ideas, this rates right near the top. Pouring molten lead onto a battery filled with acid is extremely dangerous and far, far too risky.
If you have a decayed or broken top battery post, the best solution is installing a new battery, which costs less than $70. Here are some other options:
- If the battery post isn’t too badly decayed, install battery post shims. These will increase the post diameter for a more secure fit.
- Try a high-temperature soldering iron (700 F, 300 watt) and flux core solder to build-up an eroded battery post. It’ll take some time and patience to add and trim the solder. However, the soldering iron you’ll need costs more than a new battery.
Note: In case you’re wondering, here are three things that can lead to a deteriorated battery post:
- Battery acid causing severe corrosion;
- Arcing from loose battery terminals.
- Electrolysis due to unlike metals.