Blessings to you, the readers of this page, in Jesus Christ our Lord. May He guide you and protect you always.

The Battery Smell Test
"Do-It-Yourself Tests For Your Car"

A Service Of, Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director

Bill McGinnis is a retired ASE Certified Automobile Technician and Night Foreman of a taxicab repair shop in Northern Virginia. He has a special interest in fast and efficient testing to solve automotive problems.

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ALLDATA DIY - Detailed Information Online For Your Particular Car,
including step-by-step directions for solving each Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC).

If an automobile battery is in normal condition, there should be very little smell from it. The one smell that you should be aware of is the smell of rotten eggs, which indicates severe and dangerous problems with the battery. Once a battery begins to smell like rotten eggs, it cannot be saved, but must be immediately replaced. Please be aware that rotten-egg batteries can explode. Rotten-egg batteries are frequently much hotter than normal batteries would be, and the hot rotten-egg batteries are the most dangerous. The most common cause of rotten-egg batteries is an alternator which constantly overcharges, so the alternator should usually be replaced along with the battery.

If you are going to remove the bad battery yourself, turn off all the electrical items in the car and remove the ignition key. (This minimizes the chance for a spark.) Then let it cool off, if it is hot. If possible, ventilate the area to disperse any accumulated smelly (explosive) gas. Put on protective gloves and goggles, cover the battery with something like a blanket (for protection if it explodes), and disconnect the terminals, starting with the negative terminal. Have first-aid materials for sulphuric acid, such as bicarbonate of soda, avalable at hand. (Suggestion: to find mechanic's gloves, please enter this number 48ZX7723U in the search box at To find protective goggles, please enter this number: 01ZX1623X) Carefully remove the bad battery, and put it in a safe place. The old battery contains hazardous materials (lead and sulphuric acid), so dispose of it properly.

If the battery has no particular smell, and no trace of the rotten-egg smell, then it has passed the Battery Smell Test.

You can contact me, Rev. Bill McGinnis, at

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       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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