Will a battery explode?

Recharging a flooded lead-acid battery normally produces hydrogen and oxygen gasses into the atmosphere. While spark retarding vent caps can help prevent battery explosions, they occur when jumping, connecting or disconnecting charger or battery cables, and starting the engine. While not fatal, battery explosions cause thousands of eye and burn injuries each year. When battery explosions occur when starting an engine, here is the usual sequence of events: One or more cells had a concentration of hydrogen gas above 4.1% because the vent cap was plugged or a defective valve did not release the gas. The electrolyte levels fell below the top of the plates due to high under hood temperatures, overcharging, or poor maintenance. A low resistive bridge or “treeing” formed between the top of the plates such that when the current started to flow, it caused an arc or spark in one of the cells. That combination of events ignites the gas, blows the battery case cover off and spatters electrolyte all over the engine compartment. The largest number of battery explosions while starting an engine occurs in hot climates. When an explosion happens, thoroughly rinse the engine compartment with water, and then wash it with a solution of one-pound baking soda to one gallon of warm water to neutralize the residual battery acid. Then thoroughly rewash the engine compartment with water. Using Discover™ Advanced AGM or Gel batteries can significantly reduce the possibility of battery explosions.