Stainless steel is attractive as material for bipolar plates in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, due to its high electrical conductivity, high mechanical strength and relatively low material and processing cost. Potentiostatic and potentiodynamic tests were performed in H2SO4 solutions on AISI 316L stainless steel bipolar plates with etched flow fields. The effect of pH and presence of small amounts of fluoride and chloride on the corrosion rate and interfacial contact resistance of the stainless steel bipolar plate were investigated. The tests performed in electrolytes with various pH values revealed that the oxide layer was thinner and more prone to corrosion at pH values significantly lower than the pH one expects the bipolar plate to experience in an operating proton exchange membrane fuel cells. The use of solutions with very low pH in such measurements is thus probably not the best way of accelerating the corrosion rate of stainless steel bipolar plates. By use of strongly acidic solutions the composition and thickness of the oxide layer on the stainless steel is probably altered in a way that might never have happened in an operating proton exchange membrane fuel cell. Additions of fluoride and chloride in the amounts expected in an operating fuel cell (2 ppm F− and 10 ppm Cl−) did not cause significant changes for neither the polarization- nor the contact resistance measurements. However, by increasing the amount of Cl− to 100 ppm, pitting was initiated on the stainless steel surface.