As you drive, your battery warms and cools naturally, releasing hydrogen gas to aid ventilation. Corrosion occurs when this hydrogen comes in touch with nearby objects near the terminals.
If your car doesn’t start, your headlights are dim, your air conditioner isn’t working, or you’re experiencing other electrical problems. You’re probably dealing with a battery issue caused by corrosion.
Corrosion is visible on your battery’s terminals as a white, green, or blue-tinged coating around your car’s battery terminals, posts, or cables when you open the hood to inspect it.
While a small amount is unlikely to cause harm, a build-up decreases the battery’s conduciveness and can lead to a malfunctioning battery due to the electrical resistance. Corrosion left unchecked will eventually cause issues.
How to Clean Corroded Battery Terminals
Cleaning the battery terminals on your car could help the battery last longer and perform better. However, attempting to remove corrosion without knowing the proper way to do it is risky. I
f you’re not confident in your ability to remove the corrosion on your own, get assistance from a local technician. Otherwise, use the instructions below to remove corrosion from a car battery terminal properly.
Prepare the Battery
Before you begin cleaning, you must prepare your battery by first following the steps below.
Step 1: Turn Off the Engine
For your safety, turn off the engine before you begin. If the engine was on before you started, give it a few minutes to cool off.
Step 2: Disconnect the Battery
Whether you’re taking out the battery to clean it or removing it to clean the engine block, disconnecting the battery correctly is paramount. Always disconnect the negative terminal before the positive terminal.
Step 3: Check for Damage to the Battery
Examine your battery. Battery corrosion and grime build-up on the terminals could all hurt the performance of your battery and engine. If the battery casing is leaking, broken, dented, or bloated, skip the cleaning and get a replacement battery instead. Yours is too far gone.
After preparing your battery, you may now begin cleaning.
1. Baking Soda and Water
Baking Soda mixed with water is the most popular battery terminal, cleaning agent. To make the solution, all you need is a cup of hot water and a tablespoon of baking soda.
Firmly mix the two, and you’ll see how the two components react when they begin to bubble. The acidic corrosion is neutralized by the solution, making it safe to handle. Repeat the procedure on the battery cable ends if necessary.
Pour about half of the mixture over each battery post, then scrub the terminals using a toothbrush. If you want, you can also immerse the brush into the solution or pour what’s left over the terminals. Consider purchasing a battery terminal cleaning brush if the corrosion is too difficult to remove.
You can use steel wool to help eliminate corrosion if necessary. To achieve the best possible battery connection, pay careful attention to the insides of the clamps.
Allow at least five minutes for this mixture to penetrate in difficult instances. It would be best if you continued brushing until all rust has been removed.
You can also clean the terminal with a cola product such as Coca-Cola. Acquire a 12-ounce can and evenly pour the full contents straight onto the battery terminals. The benefit is that you won’t have to produce a paste. If required, use the wire brush to finish the job.
We advise you to be cautious because Cola beverages typically include synthetic sugars and phosphoric acid, both of which might harm your engine.
3. Commercial Battery Cleaners
Commercial battery terminal cleaners are, without a doubt, your best bet. These products are designed solely to clean and take off corrosion from your battery.
There are many different products to choose from, from 2-piece battery terminal cleaning kits to special battery cleaning fluids. Regardless of the product you choose, ensure you carefully read the instructions and follow the manufacturer’s guide.
When you’ve settled on a cleaning agent, follow the instructions below.
First, Spray the cleaning solution on the battery until the entire concerned region is covered, and don’t forget to reach the battery case. Then scrub the area with your brush while wearing heavy rubber gloves to remove the corrosion.
After preparing the battery, applying your cleaning agent of choice, and removing all of the corrosion and dirt from the terminals, you’ll have to put in final touches to ensure the battery is appropriately set back to its position and well connected.
Step 1: Rinse and Dry the Battery
Rinse the battery with water. Fill a spray bottle halfway with water and shower the terminals. If you don’t have a spray bottle, use a moist towel to wipe everything down. Then dry the terminals with a different rag.
Because water and electricity do not go together, ensure the battery and terminals are fully dry before reassembling it.
Step 2: Take Preventive Steps
After the battery has dried, to ensure it is better protected against further corrosion, apply anti-corrosion pads, sometimes known as battery terminal protectors. These pads help safeguard your battery posts. Use pads that have been treated with battery corrosion prevention. Anti Corrosion grease is also an excellent option.
For a more cost-friendly alternative, generously apply petroleum jelly directly to each terminal once they’re dry. This will lubricate them, aid in the prevention of further corrosion, and boost electrical conduciveness between the battery terminal and the cable-end
Step 3: Reconnect the Terminals Starting with the Positive Terminal
Reconnect the battery cables in reverse order, starting with the positive and ending with the negative.
Step 4: Start your Engine to Ensure Everything Works
You’ll have to get a new battery if your car doesn’t start. Still consider having your battery checked even if it starts up normally. Because if your battery has developed a lot of corrosion, it’s probably reaching the end of its lifespan, and you should find out how much longer it will continue to function.
With these techniques, you can ensure your vehicle runs as smoothly as ever. Most drivers are clueless that their car battery has corroded until they have issues while driving. As a result, be sure to inspect and clean your car regularly.
Although all vehicle batteries must be changed at some point, cleaning and controlling corrosion can extend the life of your battery.