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There are several reasons why you would need to replace your car battery. One of the more undeniable reasons for replacement is a degraded battery terminal. Once the terminal is too damaged, the current can’t successfully travel from the battery to the rest of the car. Now,  zucchini is a great vegetable, but surely they can’t be helpful for a rotten car battery terminal. Right? Like, Right? 

How to jump-start an electric vehicle battery
A regular car battery with jumper cables attached | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Don’t replace your car battery just yet

The Family Handyman seemed hesitant to believe the admittedly intriguing video of a guy using a hollowed-out zucchini to rebuild his degraded battery terminals, using it as a mold for new terminals using molten lead. Despite the insanity of that previous sentence, the video makes it look shockingly simple. But does it actually work? 

Typically, when any part of your car battery – much less a terminal – is damaged, that means it’s about time for a new battery. If this zucchini trick has any merit, that might change things a bit. 

Can you use a zucchini to fix your car battery? 

Any time you are fooling with a car battery, make sure both cables are disconnecting and sitting somewhere out of the way. 

The Family Handyman (FH) is hesitant from the start about this “hack.” The video shows a one-inch-thick piece of zucchini pushed over the battery’s good post to create a mold. The mold is then placed on top of the degraded battery post. Molten lead (surely everyone has the means to melt lead) is poured into the mold, creating a new post that is allegedly as good as new. 

Before letting us get too far down the road on this, the FH warns DIYers to avoid trying this questionable and clearly dangerous idea. Working with molten lead is a bad idea for most people. In fact, trying to DIY something as volatile as a car battery terminal is probably a bad idea in general. 

Should you use a zucchini to rebuild a car battery terminal? 

Batteries at Recycling Center
Batteries at Recycling Center | Alain Nogues/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

No. And, here are a few good reasons why:

Yes. Car batteries are easy to underestimate, but the FH gives a few strong arguments for why this zucchini DIY car battery fix is probably not the safest idea. 

  1. Sulfuric acid: Your car battery is full of sulfuric acid. This type of acid can not only cause serious damage if leaks in your engine bay, but it can burn the skin if contact is made. 
  2. Batteries can explode: Always exercise caution when working with a car battery. When exposed to heat, batteries can explode, causing serious damage. Heat isn’t the only danger. Also, certain metals can cause a battery to short out, causing the battery to explode. This Zucchini trick uses both heat and metal.
  3. Lead poisoning: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.” Lead is dangerous. Molten lead, even more so. From start to finish, dealing with lead stretches past the normal DIY spectrum. 

Car batteries are dangerous 

DIY projects are great, especially when it comes to car maintenance. Learning to work on your own car and fix issues as they come up is an invaluable skill. However, it is important to know your limits. Working with molten lead is probably pushing the safety and skill limits to a dangerous point for most people. 

Remember that anytime you are working with batteries, electricity, or any combination of the two, always wear rubber gloves and goggles. Injuries can happen quickly; being prepared with the right safety equipment can make or break a project.