Many folks have experienced the aggravation of a dead battery. Cheap batteries, that leak, may also cause other far more expensive problems.
One symptom of a leaking battery is battery terminal corrosion. The greenish-white residue that collects on battery terminals are more than an annoyance. Corrosion increases resistance in the circuit. Increased resistance can lead to transient current flow and other problems. Battery cables are quickly destroyed.
Perhaps worse is what a corroded battery terminal may indicate. Clean the corrosion away and it comes right back.
Battery terminal corrosion is a symptom of a larger problem
The actual problem is a leaking battery. Acid leaks around the battery post and corrodes the terminals. Leaking sulfuric acid can also eat through body panels, electrical wiring, air conditioner lines and almost anything else on the vehicle.
Recently a vehicle was towed in with a no-start complaint. The negative battery terminal had been eaten through by leaking acid. The owner had repeatedly cleaned the terminals and installed felt washers, hoping to stop the corrosion. Unfortunately, he failed to realize the extent of the problem.
When the battery and tray were removed, the damage was more apparent. Battery acid has leaked onto the vehicle body and eaten through the fender apron. The factory undercoating is no match for such a powerful corrosive.
Battery acid is an extremely powerful corrosive. Acid leaking through body cracks weakened the unibody structure of the vehicle. Water could now enter the passenger compartment and mildew the interior. The client was totally unaware this was going on.
Leaking acid also ate away the unibody support structure. This required extensive neutralization of the corrosive and repair to the structure of the vehicle. Corroded panels had to be cut away and replacement panels welded in their place.
This repair cost a great deal and started with corroded battery terminals. Remember that a corroded battery terminal is a symptom. The actual problem can be very expensive, don’t take chances. Saving a few dollars on a cheap battery can cost a bundle.