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Unknown Parts Counter Guy: And Boom Goes The Battery!

Unknown Parts Counter Guy: And Boom Goes The Battery!

One of my biggest fears about cars is a battery explosion, and for good reason: lead and acid come together in a plastic container to make electricity and a ton of nitrogen hydrogen (thanks, guys…wasn’t completely awake), which is the exact same gas that took care of the Hindenburg. All of that gas builds up inside of the case and there is always a tiny amount of gas seepage, but if everything is tight with the connections then the chance of spark is eliminated and everything is ok.

Not for this guy. According to the store manager who sent in this picture, the phrase says it all: “I tried to start my boat and heard a bang.” Yeah, I bet he heard one alright…I’ve seen cases get soft and batteries get hot, but to see a battery that blew half of the case off the side tells me that was a no-shit explosion. I can only assume that the batteries were covered and the acid was contained. There is certainly a mess to clean up, both in the battery compartment and in the Captain’s chair.

Safety, people! Check your stuff if it’s been sitting for a while!

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10 thoughts on “Unknown Parts Counter Guy: And Boom Goes The Battery!

  1. loren

    Yeah I don’t usually nail you on stuff but this is a little much. It’s hydrogen, and the usual cause is sudden discharge/cold weather. Yes it’s messy.

    1. Gregg68

      I’ve seen it happen twice: my mom’s ’71 Chevelle in the late 70s or early 80’s (in Miami & not a cold day) & in my ’93 Escort in the summer of ’96 (original battery, hot summer day in St. Louis). Don’t know how old mom’s battery was (& it probably wasn’t a sealed battery). The Escort’s battery just came off warranty when it went “boom.”

  2. orange65

    I had a battery blow the top off of itself one night when I turned the key on. I assume that the vent got clogged and hydrogen built up in it. No fire, just a nice boom and acid all over everything- including my pants when I removed it the next day.

  3. john

    While changing oil on my boat’s engines one of my two 4d batteries was hot enough to boil the water. The charger was fine. Verdict… new lead acid batteries are crap, mine were only 4yrs old. Replaced both. Ouch!

  4. Darrell

    Have had two batteries blow up on me in 30 years of driving.
    One was a 67 impala SS I was selling. It was cranking slowly and the potential buyer thought wiggling the terminals while cranking was a good idea. It wasn’t. No permanent damage besides the battery. Lots of water and baking soda to nutrilize things.
    Second time was a one year old Impala rental. Stopped at a scenic lookout for about 10 minutes, got back in the car and it wouldn’t crank. Tried again and BOOM. Lots of white smoke. All our luggage was locked in the trunk and without power there was no way to open it.
    While we were waiting for the rental company to drop off a replacement vehical the battery somehow came up with enough charge to trip the trunk solenoid.
    Can someone explain that?

  5. TheSilverBuick

    Had the battery in my Skylark do that to me when I was 17. The power cable was up against the exhaust manifold after changing out a starter, and it waited until after I shut the car off and went to restart, as soon as I turned the key, BOOM! Blew the side of the battery out all over the engine bay.

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