How to Clean Car Battery Terminals?

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals

Corroded battery terminals can cause several problems with your car. They can prevent the battery from being fully charged, drain the battery (resulting in your car not starting), and can also seriously damage the alternator. Cleaning the battery terminals is a simple, inexpensive preventative maintenance task that you can do yourself in about 10 minutes. Here’s how to clean car battery terminals in seven steps.

What is Battery Corrosion?

Battery corrosion is a buildup of a chemical residue on the surface of a battery or its terminals. This residue is often white or greenish in color and is caused by the leakage or evaporation of the battery’s acid electrolyte.

When this chemical residue comes into contact with metal, it can cause corrosion, which can interfere with the battery’s ability to function properly. In addition to causing problems with the battery itself, battery corrosion can also cause damage to the device that the battery powers.

If you notice battery corrosion, it’s important to clean it off as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

To clean car battery terminals, you will need the following supplies:

  • A pair of gloves to protect your hands
  • A wire brush or a toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A cloth or a rag
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Anti-Corrosion Pads

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals – Step-by-step Instruction

Here’s how to clean the terminals:

1. Put on gloves to protect your hands.

Rubber gloves are a good choice, as they will provide insulation against electrical current.

2. Locate the battery in your car.

Make sure your engine is off. Open your hood, It is usually located under the hood, near the front of the vehicle. Inspect the cables to ensure they are free of any fraying, cracks, or anything else that may contribute to a bad connection, and have these replaced as needed.

3. Disconnect Your Battery Cables.

Always begin with the negative cable first and then the positive. Identify the positive and negative terminal clamps. The positive terminal is usually marked with a “+” sign or the letters “POS,” and the negative terminal is usually marked with a “-” sign or the letters “NEG.”

Using a wrench or pliers, loosen and remove the terminal clamps one by one from the battery terminals. Be careful not to touch the terminal clamps together or the metal parts of the car, as this can create a spark and potentially damage the battery or start a fire.

Once the terminal clamps have been removed, you can begin cleaning the battery terminals.

4. Clean Away Corrosion and Rinse

Use about a teaspoon of baking soda, or more if needed, to coat your battery terminals and other affected areas. Pour a small amount of water onto each terminal, then use your brush to scrub away the corrosion. While a steel wire brush works best, an old toothbrush with enough elbow grease can work.

Alternatively, you can mix water and baking soda in a cup to make a cleaning solution. The ratio should be about 1:1, so you will need about a tablespoon of baking soda for every tablespoon of water.

Dip a cloth or a rag into the baking soda solution and use it to wipe down the terminal clamps and the battery terminals. The baking soda will help to neutralize any acid on the surface and will also help to loosen any dirt or grime.

5. Rinse and Dry.

Rinse the terminal clamps and the battery terminals with water and dry them off with a clean cloth. You want to make sure it is completely dry before reconnecting.

6. Apply Petroleum Jelly, Terminal Protection Spray, or Anti-Corrosion Pads

Prevent your car battery from being corroded in the future by applying a generous coat of petroleum jelly or battery terminal protection spray on the terminals, posts, and clamps. You can also use anti-corrosion pads coated with a corrosion-preventive compound.

7. Reconnect Battery Cables.

You will be reconnecting the battery in reverse order of how you disconnected them, with the positive (+) being connected first and the negative (-) end being connected after. Make sure they are securely fastened and not loose, now you can close the hood.

Done, it’s time to test the battery to ensure it is functioning properly. This can be done by starting the car and checking the electrical systems, such as the headlights and the radio.

It’s important to clean your car battery terminals regularly to ensure that your battery is functioning properly and to extend its lifespan. If you notice that your battery is not holding a charge or if the terminal clamps are heavily corroded, it may be time to replace the battery.

What can I use to clean my car battery terminals?

There are a few different cleaning agents that you can use to clean your car battery terminals:

  • Baking soda and water: Mixing a solution of water and baking soda creates a mild alkaline solution that can help to neutralize any acid on the surface of the battery terminals and terminal clamps. Baking soda is also abrasive, so it can help to scrub away dirt and grime.
  • WD-40: WD-40 is a lubricant and corrosion inhibitor that can help to loosen dirt and grime on the battery terminals and terminal clamps. It also helps to protect the metal from corrosion.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is an acid that can help to dissolve corrosion on the battery terminals and terminal clamps.
  • Battery terminal cleaner: This is a specialized cleaning product that is specifically designed for cleaning battery terminals. It usually contains a combination of chemicals that can help to dissolve corrosion and remove dirt and grime.

How To Maintain A Car Battery?

Here are some tips for maintaining a car battery:

  • Keep the battery clean: Dirt, grime, and corrosion can build up on the battery terminals and terminal clamps, which can interfere with the electrical connection and cause the battery to drain more quickly. To keep the battery clean, use a wire brush or a toothbrush to scrub the terminal clamps and the battery terminals, and wipe them down with a cloth or a rag.
  • Keep the battery charged: A car battery that is not being used can lose its charge over time. To keep the battery charged, start the car and run it for a few minutes at least once a week. If you will be storing the car for an extended period of time, consider using a battery maintainer or charger to keep the battery charged.
  • Keep the battery tightened: Loose battery terminal clamps can cause the battery to lose its charge or fail to start the car. To keep the battery tightened, use a wrench or pliers to make sure that the terminal clamps are securely fastened to the battery terminals.
  • Keep the battery warm: Cold temperatures can cause a car battery to lose its charge more quickly. To keep the battery warm, park the car in a garage or cover the battery with a battery blanket during cold weather.
  • Replace the battery if necessary: If you notice that your battery is not holding a charge or if the terminal clamps are heavily corroded, it may be time to replace the battery. Learn More about how to charge a car battery follow this guide.

By following these tips, you can help to extend the lifespan of your car battery and ensure that it is functioning properly.

Share:

Leave a Comment

On Key

Related Posts

What Others Are Asking

How Many Amps Is A Car Battery?

An average car battery has a capacity of around 48 ampere-hours; When fully charged it will deliver 1 amp for 48 hours, two amps for

Is red positive on a battery?

Yes, the red one is positive (+), and the black one is negative (-). Never connect the red cable to the negative battery terminal or a vehicle with a dead battery.

Which Is Positive Red or Black?

The red one is positive (+), and the black one is negative (-). Never connect the red cable to the negative battery terminal or a vehicle with a dead battery.

How Does a Car Battery Work?

Just like your TV remote or fancy electric toothbrush, your car needs a battery to run. If it dies, your car won’t start, leaving you