A Guide to Cleaning Corroded Car Battery Terminals
If you are facing any issue while starting a car, then it could be your battery’s fault. Sometimes that fault is as small as buildup or corrosion on the terminals of your car’s battery. This is why it is important to clean corroded battery terminals to ensure its performance and useful life. The process of cleaning the corroded battery terminals is quite simple and can be done at home.
If you are thinking about how to clean car battery terminals, here is the step-by-step guide for you.
Ways to Clean Corroded Battery Terminals
If your car’s battery has any issue a battery charge warning light will appear on your dashboard. Try to locate the battery inside your car and check if there are is white, rusty or blue flaky substances on top of the battery terminals. If you find corrosion around car battery terminals, try to identify the reasons. Corrosion appears in the form of a rust layer on battery and cable terminals. Corrosion on terminals occurs for two main reasons:
- The terminal and the cable end are made of different types of metals.
- The battery is producing hydrogen when it is being recharged.
There are several reasons which cause car battery corrosion; however, it is important to keep them clean to extend the battery’s life. Corrosion on battery connections can be removed using a few different methods.
Remove the Cables from the Battery Terminals
To properly clean corroded battery terminals, you will need to disconnect the positive and negative battery cable ends. It is important to note here that the battery contains acid in its composition, which can cause eye and skin injuries. Hence, it is better to wear eye protection and gloves. Here is how you can remove the cables:
- 1st step: Release the ends of the battery cable. Start by removing the negative cable first. To do this, simply fit the battery cable wrench onto the nut at the end of the battery cable and turn it counterclockwise.
- 2nd step: Loosen the nuts and the cable end. Sometimes it is necessary to make a little movement and apply a little force to unhook the cables, which may be glued to the terminals due to corrosion.
Method 1: Cleaning the Battery Terminals with Household Items
It is not always necessary to use specialised materials to properly clean corroded battery terminals. A few simple household items can clean your battery and restore a proper connection.
- Baking soda
- Hard bristle or metal brush
With these materials in hand, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Sprinkle Baking Soda
Sprinkle a handful of baking soda on both battery terminals. Use enough powder to coat the entire terminal.
Step 2: Add Water
Put two tablespoons of water in each terminal. The baking soda will react for a few seconds. This reaction between the sodium bicarbonate mixture, water and corrosion on the battery terminals neutralises the corrosion acid, making it safe to handle.
Step 4: Scrub the Terminals
Now you immediately need to scrub the terminals right after neutralising corrosion with a stiff bristle brush. Scrub the entire battery terminal as well as the cable end, inside and out.
Step 5: Rinse with Water
When all corrosion is removed, rinse the battery and cable end with water.
Step 6: Dry the Battery Completely
Let the battery dry completely. You can dry the battery and terminals with the help of a cloth or air compressor if you want.
Step 7: Apply Petroleum Jelly
Spread Vaseline on the battery terminals. A thin layer of petroleum jelly will facilitate the flow of electricity between the battery terminal and the cable end while protecting the battery terminals from corrosion.
Method 2: Cleaning Battery Corrosion with Professional Equipment
There are some products made specifically for removing corrosion. You need the following items to clean the corroded car battery terminal.
- Battery cleaner spray
- Battery terminal brush
- Protection spray
With these materials, follow the procedure below:
- Step 1: Spray the cleaner on the ends of the cable and battery. The spray will neutralise acid and corrosion.
- Step 2: Let the spray act for a few minutes. After a while, you will notice that there is no longer any chemical reaction in the terminals.
- Step 3: Spray the battery terminal and cable ends once more after cleaning the first layer.
- Step 4: Rinse the battery and terminals with water to remove the spray.
- Step 5: Use the brush to remove the crust formed by the corrosion of the terminals and cables. Now, Brush the parts until the corrosion is completely removed. If necessary, repeat steps.
- Step 6: Spray the battery terminals with Battery Protector Spray or apply a thin coat of Vaseline to the terminals.
Once you are done with the cleaning procedure, it’s time to reconnect the cable to the battery terminal. Also, check your battery’s terminals especially if you are restarting a car after months and clean the terminals if needed.
Now you know how to clean rusty battery terminals. If you still notice that the battery performance is still not good even after cleaning the car battery terminals, then consider buying a used car battery available in the UAE.
Also, if you are planning to buy a used car in the UAE make sure you test the car battery performance and health.
Stay tuned to the UAE’s popular auto blog for more guides and maintenance tips.