What Hazard Class are Automotive Batteries

Posted On 27th June 2023

Certain items are categorized as hazardous when handling or transporting. These hazardous materials are split into nine separate classes which have been created by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States.

One of these items deemed hazardous are car batteries and this is because they contain materials that fall into several classes of hazardous materials, such as reactive or corrosive substances.

Below, we’ll explain what hazardous materials are and what classes automotive batteries fall under.

What Are Hazardous Materials?

Items are deemed hazardous if improper care or exposure can cause harm to humans or animals. They can also be deemed dangerous if they are an environmental hazard if handled inappropriately.

Hazardous materials are divided into 9 separate classes by the Department of Transportation depending on the nature of the substances within the hazardous materials.

DOT classes of hazardous materials:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gasses
  3. Flammable liquids and combustible liquids
  4. Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet
  5. Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
  6. Poison (Toxic) and Poison Inhalation Hazard
  7. Radioactive
  8. Corrosive
  9. Miscellaneous dangerous or hazardous materials

What Type is Automotive Battery

Many shippers ask the question, automotive batteries are what hazard class? To answer that, it’s important to know what’s inside of an automotive battery.

Most typical automotive batteries are lead-acid batteries. This means the battery contains lead alloy components that are submerged in acid in order to create electricity.

Hazard Class for Automotive Batteries

Automotive Batteries Are Which Hazard Class?

The mainstream adoption of electric cars or EVs has made this question somewhat more difficult to answer. The traditional battery in a gas-powered card is made of different components and chemicals than the battery that powers an EV or electric car.

Electric cars use a lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors. These fall under a different class of hazardous materials than their typical lead-acid automotive battery.

So to answer what hazard class are automotive batteries, the answer is actually two different classes. These are class 8 and class 9 depending on the battery type.

Is a Car Battery a Hazardous Material?

Yes. A typical car battery is a lead-acid battery, and the lead and acid are considered hazardous.

Automotive Batteries Are An Example Of Which Hazardous Class?

Because of the acid in a typical automotive battery, it would be an example of a class 8 hazardous material. Class 8 hazardous materials are defined as corrosive materials or substances.

So when shippers ask about the automotive battery hazard class, the answer is class 8.

The automotive battery hazard class also depends on the type of battery. As mentioned earlier, an electric-powered car uses a lithium-ion battery, which is a different hazard class.

Lithium Batteries Belong To Which Hazard Class?

A lithium battery falls under hazard class 9 which is for miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles. Class 9 is used for materials that don’t fall into the other classes for various reasons but can still be very dangerous.

What Hazard Class is Automotive Batteries

Automotive batteries are regulated as a class 8 hazardous material. Class 8 covers corrosive materials, such as the sulfuric acid inside of a typical automotive battery. These batteries also contain lead, which is a dangerous chemical substance, but sulfuric acid is what gives them a class 8 designation.

Other types of automotive batteries, such as lithium-ion batteries are considered class 9, which is for miscellaneous hazardous materials or dangerous goods.

Defining hazardous materials is done by the Department of Transportation, which is a federal agency. This means that these are all federal regulations and classifications. The hazmat classes are required to be followed by all transportation countries operating in the United States.

Automotive Batteries Are An Example Of Which Hazard Class (Walmart)

The type of automotive batteries sold at stores like Walmart or AutoZone are generally the traditional lead-acid batteries.

These batteries come in two types, which are wet-cell and dry-cell and the designation has to do with the type of liquid inside of the battery.

As the name implies, wet-cell batteries have a liquid mixture inside the battery. There is also a cover that can be removed to add new distilled water to the battery if needed.

Dry-cell batteries, or “gel cells” as they are sometimes called, use a gel instead of a liquid. These do not have a port for refilling the battery.

Despite being different types of batteries, these two types of automotive batteries are both class 8 hazardous materials when it comes to shipping or transporting them.

There is another type of battery known as an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. These are not common in cars and are instead mostly used in specialty vehicles, such as off-road vehicles.

These AGM batteries would also be class 8 hazardous materials.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials

Transportation of Hazardous MaterialsTransporting hazardous materials of any class requires that certain protocols be followed. These can include the type of containers that an item must be shipped in as well as possible safety equipment that must accompany the shipment.

Hazardous materials also have specific labeling requirements. This means DOT-approved labels (placards) indicating what hazardous material class the items belong to.

There may also be additional labeling requirements that further indicate the dangers present or what is contained in the shipment. These additional labels can indicate whether something is non-spillable or has any type of other special property that requires special handling.

A materials safety data sheet may also be required with the labeling while transporting. A materials safety data sheet (MSDS) contains additional information and warnings about the hazardous materials contained in the package.

These labels are critical so shippers and carriers know what cargo they are transporting and what precautions to take. Not only that, in the unfortunate event of an accident, first responders and others on the scene can know what hazardous materials are present. This way they can take the necessary steps to avoid adverse health effects or environmental damage from the materials or chemical substance.