Pouring boiling water over car battery- safe?

My Sierra broke down the other day and the battery had white residue on top of it. The RAC man told me to pour boiling hot water over the
battery to get rid of this residue.
Two questions-
Is doing this safe? Is it a good idea?
Cheers
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Timmy wrote:

Why don't you just wipe it with a cloth?
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wrote:

Cause that would be sensible! Maybe it doesn't come off with a cloth, I've not tried- will do tomorrow if weather is good!
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Use the boiling water, then wipe the residue. Coat the terminals in white grease or vaseline to stop it coming back.
--



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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

Yes it is safe. Yes it is a good idea as it gets rid of it completely. Do one terminal at a time.
--
Conor

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Take the battery out of the car first? - I'm not sure what the white residue is, but if it's corrosive I wouldn't want it being washed into odd corners of the car bodywork ....
says...

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Richard Murphy wrote:

And I wouldn't be pouring water into the engine compartment either. All it needs is a wipe and some grease on the terminals.
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Why is that then? Is it because you're not that knowledgeable?
--
Conor

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Tell you what? Just get a new battery and be done with it!
says...

residue
corners
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I was right..lack of knowledge. Why the hell would you go to the expense of 50 for a new battery you don't need when pouring a little boiling water over the terminals cures the problem? Fuck sake man, it's exactly what we used to do at garages and it's been practiced for decades.
-- Conor
Polymodal Rapid Response Point to Point Vehicular Transit Specialist
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Conor wrote:

Coming from a know-nothing like you, that's either a heavy insult or not worth bothering about. I'll leave you to work out which.
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says...

residue
corners
i wonder where exactly you feel water goes when it rains or a you use a car wash..............."And I wouldn't be pouring water into the engine compartment either" does indeed seem pretty silly when you look at it that way doesnt it?
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trev wrote:

Nope. When it rains or I use a car wash (or, rather, when I wash the car) not a great deal of water goes into the engine bay. If an appreciable amount did, you see, electrical things would stop working. In the longer term, standing or trapped water promotes corrosion. Battery trays and surrounding bodywork are especially prone to corrosion anyway.
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So you don't use the wash option with a chassis wash.

No they wouldn't. Non insulated ones where the water can form a decent bridge between live and earth would.

Oh dear. I've got a 1972 Ford Capri sat 12 miles away in a barn. That's a car from way back when anti-corrosion techniques basically didn't exist. It's seen a hell of alot more water than yours and stragely enough it seems to be solid.
--
Conor

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Conor wrote:

I don't use a mechanical car wash. I wash underneath the car with a hose and water ends up on the bottom of the engine only, a very different thing from tipping water into the engine bay from above so it gets into places you can't even see. Not the end of the world, of course, but why would you do it?

Even my car, with a coil per cylinder directly mounted on the spark plug under a plastic cover and no HT wires, coughs a little on starting when the damp gets in. It's not uncommon for quite new cars to fail in large numbers because an electronics box was located where water could fall on it. Water is suprisingly invasive and underbonnet electronics are only as waterproofed as they need to be; and that's when they're new.

Are you claiming this is normal? That the roads are full of 1972 Capris and rust is some kind of myth perpetuated by the likes of me?
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Several hundred classics on E-bay would suggest so.
--
Conor

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Up to you then. If you're so pigheaded as to ignore correct and good advice and would rather shell out 50 you don't need to then carry on. I don't care either way.
And that'd be a know nothing with Pt2 City and Guilds 383 in Repair and Servicing of Road vehicles would it with distinctions in most of the modules, merit in 2 and a pass on the last (only cause I was off when they did it), a years apprenticeship served at a Landrover dealership at Middleton on the Wolds back in 1986, a year done at a Nissan dealership in Hull in 1992 and 2 years as a REME mechanic.
-- Conor
Polymodal Rapid Response Point to Point Vehicular Transit Specialist
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Conor wrote:

I wouldn't shell out 50 I didn't need to and nor would I pour boiling water over a battery because it had white powder on the terminals. If the white powder offended me in some way I would clean it off.

That's right. The loud-mouthed know-nothing (why is this combination so popular?) who spouts qualifications at people who question his frankly ropey advice. I don't care that you're ignorant, Conor, god knows it's not a crime, but try being a bit nicer and a bit less unpleasant to people. Have you heard the one about people in glass houses?
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Dan Buchan ( snipped-for-privacy@email.com) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

And pouring boiling water over the battery is a good way of doing that...

Conor may not exactly be somebody you'd invite round to a tea party with the local vicar and WI, but he's a lot closer to the mark than you are on this one.
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Boiling water won't neutralise the acidic residue - simply wash it away to places where it might do more harm, so a classic 'pro' 'fix'.
Remove the battery before cleaning, and clean the battery tray and terminals also - a solution of washing soda is ideal as it will neutralise the acid.
--
*Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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