Are Automotive Batteries Corrosive Materials

Batteries are so commonplace in our lives that it’s easy to forget how hazardous they are.

In General, automotive batteries are corrosive due to the acid content within the battery’s cells. In particular, Lead-Acid batteries are identified by the US Department of Transport as Hazard Class 8 – Highly Corrosive since it uses Sulfuric acid, which is one of the strongest acids around. 

I will go into more detail below.

Which Automotive Batteries are Corrosive?

Every automotive battery is somewhat corrosive, but only Lead-Acid batteries are identified as highly corrosive by the US Department of Transport (DoT).

The two most common types of automotive batteries are Lead-Acid and Lithium batteries. Both are considered hazardous due to the chemicals within the battery cells, but only Lead-Acid ones are identified as Hazard Class 8 (Highly Corrosive) by the DoT.

Lead-Acid Car Batteries

super start premium battery
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The DoT classifies Lead-Acid automotive batteries as Hazard Class 8 (Highly Corrosive).

Lead-Acid batteries are corrosive due to the Sulfuric acid chemical within them.

Sulfuric acid is an electrolyte in batteries, which carries charge throughout the battery. Unfortunately, Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive material that damages both organic and inorganic materials. It can rapidly dissolve or oxidize other metals and burns through organic materials.

Lithium Car Batteries

full spectrum power battery
Video | Bikely

The DoT classifies Lithium automotive batteries as Hazard Class 9 (Miscellaneous Dangerous/Hazardous Materials).

By itself, Lithium isn’t a corrosive material. However, it does become corrosive when it reacts with other substances.

Lithium is a volatile and flammable material. It is corrosive to our skin. Moreover, Lithium even spontaneously ignites when it undergoes a chemical reaction with other substances like water vapor in the air.

How to Properly Handle Automotive Batteries

The DoT and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have set standards and guidelines for properly handling automotive batteries.

Put On Protective Equipment

Avoid handling car batteries with your bare hands. Protective equipment like gloves and safety goggles are essential when handling the battery. Moreover, wear closed shoes and tough clothing as an extra precaution against battery leaks.

Bring the Batteries to Recycling Centers for Disposal

Never carelessly toss your batteries in the trash when they run out. These still contain hazardous material that can leak out. Instead, please bring them to a recycling center for proper disposal.

Store Batteries in The Right Location

Store the batteries in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. Avoid placing them near other sources of heat or flammable materials.

What are Hazard Classes?

Hazard class is used to identify whether a product, commodity, or device is dangerous to public health and the environment.

These classifications quickly provide information on the material being handled, making it easier to identify which safety precautions should be followed when handling these materials. A higher number doesn’t mean it’s more dangerous. It only serves to indicate the type of hazard.

common hazard signages
Video | iHasco

The DoT identifies all hazardous materials by placing diamond-shaped placards or marks on them. These stickers contain information on the hazard class (numbered from 1 to 9) and type of hazard (E.g., corrosive, toxic, or flammable).


Nine Classes of Hazardous Materials – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Sulfuric Acid – Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Transporting Lithium Batteries – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Video References

The Home Depot

Project Farm



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About Alex Robertson

c3c9d43f1f0d14c4b73cb686f2c81c4e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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