How to Remove Corrosion from a Car Battery Terminal How to Remove Corrosion from a Car Battery Terminal

What You'll Need
Battery Terminal Brush
Battery Clamp Brush
Locking Pliers
Clean and dry piece of cloth
Baking Soda
Petroleum jelly or Grease

Most people like their car to look great, and thus often wash, polish or wax it from the outside, but one thing they don’t realize or just ignore is that to prevent car troubles, cleaning and maintaining its internal parts like the car battery is imperative. The car battery needs a little maintenance from time to time, or the car can fail to start or have difficulty in starting. Replacing the battery is not always the solution. Most times, the corrosion of the battery terminal is the main reason the car doesn’t start. In order to avoid starting problems, you should follow the steps listed below to remove corrosion from a car battery terminal.

Step 1 - Removing the Battery Cables

Loosen the nuts on both the cable clamps by using the wrench to detach each of the battery cables from the terminals. To avoid electric shock, always remove the cable clamp attached to the negative terminal (-) first and then take out the one from the positive terminal (+). Sometimes, cables don’t come-off easily from the terminals because of corrosion. Locking pliers will come handy in this situation. After removing the cables, keep them apart and don’t allow the negative cable to touch the metal surface of the car and its parts.

Step 2 - Inspecting the Battery  

Examine the outer casing of the battery for cracks or leaks as well as the terminals for damage. Buy a new one if you find any. Furthermore, check the clamps and cables for excessive wear and tear or too much corrosion. Replace them if they appear worn out.

Step 3 – Applying Baking Soda

 Sprinkle a small quantity of baking soda on the terminal posts.

Step 4 – Removing the Corrosion

Immerse the toothbrush in the water and apply it on posts to scrub the baking soda. After that, clean cable clamps using the same process. Use of a battery terminal cleaner brush along with a clamp cleaner is advised if the toothbrush fails to remove the corrosion completely.

Step 5 – Cleaning the Terminals and Clamps

Take the clean, dry cloth and wipe off the baking soda solution as well as the loosened dust and corrosion from the terminals and clamps.

Step 6 – Delaying the Future Build-up of the Corrosion

Apply either petroleum jelly or grease on clamps, cables and posts to delay the formation of corrosion.

Step 7 – Re-attaching the Battery Cables

Re-attach the positive clamp first and then the negative clamp. Use the wrench to tighten the nuts and firmly secure the cables on the battery terminals. Finally, cover the positive terminal with a rubber shield or plastic casing.

Tips and Cautions 

  • Don’t unscrew the terminal nuts completely. Simply loosen them enough for the cables to slide down easily.
  • Always remove the negative terminal first while detaching the cables, and re-attach the positive terminal first when replacing the cables.
  • Never allow the cables to touch each other or any metal surface.

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