Anointing Battery Terminals with Vaseline

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JLT
Old School!
Location: Sacramento CA
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Anointing Battery Terminals with Vaseline

Post by JLT » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:48 am

When I was a sprout, my Dad told me to coat the terminals of a new battery with Vaseline, and the cable ends as well. This was to keep the terminals from corroding.

I replaced my battery the other day, and it occurred to me to see what Saint John of Muir had to say about it. He didn't mention Vaseline at all. Neither did some of the other books on car repair that I've collected. That got me to wondering if this was another one of those things that maybe used to be necessary at one time, but were no longer necessary. Or if it was never necessary at all. Maybe my Dad did it because his Dad did it. Or maybe it was a hold-over of the days before sealed batteries. Or maybe we achieve the same effect with those brightly colored felt washers you buy for two bucks and slip on to the battery posts before you attach the cables. Does anybody know?

Well, I put Vaseline on the terminals. Not so much because I thought it would help, but because Dad would have wanted me to, and would have disapproved if I hadn't done so. The guy passed away ten years ago, but he's still on my case.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

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Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
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Re: Anointing Battery Terminals with Vaseline

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:15 pm

JLT wrote:When I was a sprout, my Dad told me to coat the terminals of a new battery with Vaseline, and the cable ends as well. This was to keep the terminals from corroding.

I replaced my battery the other day, and it occurred to me to see what Saint John of Muir had to say about it. He didn't mention Vaseline at all. Neither did some of the other books on car repair that I've collected. That got me to wondering if this was another one of those things that maybe used to be necessary at one time, but were no longer necessary. Or if it was never necessary at all. Maybe my Dad did it because his Dad did it. Or maybe it was a hold-over of the days before sealed batteries. Or maybe we achieve the same effect with those brightly colored felt washers you buy for two bucks and slip on to the battery posts before you attach the cables. Does anybody know?

Well, I put Vaseline on the terminals. Not so much because I thought it would help, but because Dad would have wanted me to, and would have disapproved if I hadn't done so. The guy passed away ten years ago, but he's still on my case.
Modern day dielectric grease looks enough like vaseline that your dad would sign off on it. Both prevent oxidation damage.
If you use dielectric grease, you can also hit every light bulb socket, every fuse, and have a reliable electrical system.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

Spezialist
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Re: Anointing Battery Terminals with Vaseline

Post by Spezialist » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:42 am

There is a VW tech book out there that does recommend Vasoline on the terminals, can't remember which one. That file is still active.
I use motor oil, to prevent the acid from creeping on everything from modern motorcycles to olde vdubs.

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