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How to Clean Battery Terminals?

In this article, we will discuss the best way to clean battery terminals. People usually think that their battery is dead if nothing happens after turning the ignition. However, when you pop up the hood you will clearly see the real culprit which is greasy, dirty or corroded battery terminal. If anything which is non-conducting in nature comes between the hood and terminal, electric supply would stop. Almost every driver has experienced difficulty in starting their vehicles at some point or another. The difficulty arises more often if you do not drive your car regularly. The problem arises due to oxidation of idle sitting battery as we know the battery terminal accumulate charges. The regular flow of electricity prevent oxygen from getting react with metal, this mean you need to check the battery terminals for corrosion after the certain interval. Corrosion usually appears as a white, ashy deposit around one or both battery terminals.

How to Clean Battery Terminals?

Things you need to Clean Battery Terminals:

  • Toothbrush
  • Clean, lint-free cloth
  • Wrench
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Grease or petroleum jelly
  • Locking pliers

Steps to Clean Battery Terminals:

1.) Remove the Connection to Clean Battery Terminals

Remove the cables from the battery terminals by removing the nut on each cable clamp. Once they are removed then you should always remove the cable clamp from the negative terminal first. You can easily figure out the negative terminal as it is marked with a minus (-) sign and the positive terminal with plus (+) sign. Now, reverse the procedure, this time, positive first and the negative second, when you are replacing the cables. You need to wiggle the cables as they might not come off easily. If the terminals got a lot of corrosion then you may need the pair of locking pliers. While working with pliers make sure you do not short any tools when they’re in contact with the battery.

2.) Examine the Battery to Clean Battery Terminals

Now to know the extent of corrosion that affecting your battery performance you need to examine the battery cables and clamps. The excess wear or corrosion can do the extensive damage so you should replace the cables and clamps to avoid future problems. You also need to check the battery case for cracks and the posts for damage. If you find any problem replace the battery. The loose cables should be secured such that they don’t accidentally flop back onto the terminals.

3.) Baking Soda to Clean Battery Terminals

Baking soda can be really effective in cleaning battery terminals. Pour some baking soda directly onto the terminals. Dip a toothbrush in water and scrub the baking soda into the posts and cable clamps. You should wear skin and eye protection for safety is recommended. Use battery terminal cleaner if the toothbrush isn’t doing the job. Do not forget to shine up the insides of the cable clamps using the clamp cleaner which is usually a soap-free steel wool pad. Finally, dry off everything with a clean, disposable, lint-free rag.

4.) Smear Grease or Petroleum Jelly to Clean Battery Terminals

Applying smear grease or petroleum jelly on the posts will help slow down the formation of corrosive deposits. Simply, cover all the exposed metal surfaces of the battery terminals, battery cables, and clamps. Replace the negative clamp first and then replace the positive clamp. Firmly tighten them down with the properly sized twist. Replace the plastic shield or the rubber boot that covers the positive (+) terminal.

5.) Emergency Cleaning

You should keep a pair of gloves and correct size wrench with you somewhere in a car. Carefully loosen each terminal with your wrench. Do not completely remove the cables. Put cola over the battery from the center outward in one direction. Then, repeat going in the opposite direction. Allow it to soak for three minutes and then rinse off with water and restart the car.

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