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How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion? – Quick & Easy Steps

how to clean car battery corrosion

Having trouble starting your car or other issues with its performance and noticed a flaky white or blue-ish substance on your car battery? Your problem is battery corrosion. But worry no more, as this article will guide you on how to clean car battery corrosion.

You can actually get rid of corrosion on car battery very easily. Just carefully disconnect the cables, apply your cleaning solution, scrub off the corrosion, rinse, dry the battery, apply a corrosion preventive substance, then reconnect the cables.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

clean-the-corrosion-off-of-a-car-battery

There are only a few things needed for cleaning car battery corrosion. Some are even readily available at home or just cheap.

1. Wrench

A wrench would be needed for disconnecting and reconnecting the cables. What type of wrench you need would depend on your car battery’s terminal configuration. There are two types of terminal configuration, which are on the side and on top.

For terminals on the side, a 5/16-inch (8 mm) wrench would be required. For terminals on top, either a 3/8-inch (10 mm) or 1/2-inch (13 mm) wrench would be needed.

2. Baking Soda With Hot Water or Battery Cleaner

You can remove corrosion from car battery with a baking soda plus hot water solution or a battery cleaner. Both options can effectively clear away the corrosion from the battery as well as neutralize its acid.

A couple of advantages that the battery cleaner has over baking soda is that it’s ready to use and can be easily applied, as it comes in a spray bottle.

3. Battery Terminal Cleaner Brush or Old Toothbrush

For scrubbing off corrosion, you can use an old toothbrush. But if your car battery has stubborn corrosion, a battery terminal cleaner brush would do the trick.

4. Cool Water

While hot water would be used for creating your baking soda cleaning solution, for rinsing the battery, cool water would be required.

5. Towel, Cloth, or Air Compressor

After rinsing, it is important to completely dry the battery. You would need either a towel, cloth, or even an air compressor if you want the battery to dry faster.

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

With the use of either petroleum jelly, battery terminal protection spray, or battery anti-corrosion pads, you can prevent corrosion from forming on your battery in the future.

Step by Step Instructions

cleaning-car-battery-corrosion

There are different methods for cleaning car battery corrosion, such as cleaning with a battery cleaning agent or baking soda with hot water. Whatever method you choose, there are precautionary measures you have to undergo before and after cleaning. Either of the methods can be done easily.

Step 1: Ensure That Your Car Had Been Turned Off

the-easiest-way-to-remove-battery-corrosion

Your car has to be turned off before cleaning the car battery. This step should be done for safety since you’re going to touch the battery. It also prevents the accidental grounding of cables.

Step 2: Remove the Cables, Working on the Negative One First

the-fastest-way-to-clean-battery-terminals

To be able to thoroughly clean the corrosion off of a car battery, you would need to remove the cables first with a wrench. But you must first identify the negative and positive terminals from where you are going to disconnect cables. For safety, the negative cable should be disconnected first to avoid electrocution and burns.

The negative terminal can usually be identified by a marking of the negative sign, the abbreviation “NEG” written on it, and/or the color black. The positive terminal comes with a marking of the positive sign, the abbreviation “POS” written on it, and/or the color red.

Also, while you disconnect the negative cable, you must try not to let the wrench contact the positive terminal. You might get shocked if they touch. Then move on to the positive cable after disconnecting the negative cable.

But if you are having a hard time removing any of the cables, try to twist the cable while pulling it up.

Step 3: Check the Car Battery for Any Damages

If you observed any warping, bulging, dents, or cracks where acid is leaking, that is a sign that the battery is damaged. If so, you would have to replace it.

Step 4: Check the Car Battery Cables and Clamps for Any Damage

If you observed that any of the cables’ insulation has been torn, frayed, splintered, peeled, dried, cracked, or corroded, that is a sign that they are damaged. Damaged car battery cables are usually the cause of a non-starting engine. If you find any of those signs of damage on any of your car’s battery cables, you will have to replace them.

Step 5: Clean off the Corrosion With a Cleaning Agent or Baking Soda With Hot Water

do-you-clean-car-battery-acid

When dealing with battery corrosion, you can either go for a battery cleaning agent or baking soda plus hot water. Just find and follow the steps for whatever method you choose below.

Method #1 – Using a Battery Cleaning Agent

On the corrosion found on the battery, terminals, and cable, apply the cleaning agent. Be careful not to let the cleaning agent touch the car’s paint, as some cleaning agents can create a permanent stain.

Let the cleaning agent soak on the corrosion for a few minutes. Then scrub out the corrosion with a toothbrush or battery terminal cleaner brush.

Method #2 – Using Baking Soda With Very Hot Water

A baking soda & hot water cleaning solution can be applied in three ways:

  • You can create a battery cleaning solution by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of very hot water. Then you would dip the toothbrush into the solution. Using the toothbrush, scrub off all the corrosion from the battery.
  • Or after creating the solution, you can apply it by directly pouring a small amount on the corroded areas and scrubbing away with a toothbrush or battery terminal cleaner brush.
  • You can also pour and coat baking soda on the areas with corrosion. Then you would pour the water slowly on the battery. Afterwards, scrub off the corrosion with a toothbrush or battery terminal cleaner brush.

Additional tip: If your battery clamps are corroded, you can let them soak in your baking soda solution for a few minutes. Thereafter, scrub them. Repeat if necessary.

Step 6: Rinse the Car Battery and Cables

Using cool water, rinse the car battery and cable ends. Make sure that all the corrosion and cleaning solution are completely washed away.

Step 7: Dry the Battery

Water getting in contact with electric components can be hazardous. So you have to make sure that the battery, battery terminals, and battery clamps are totally dry before reconnecting the cables.

Dry them all off with either a towel or cloth. Or if possible, you can speed up the drying with the use of an air compressor.

Step 8: 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.

Step 9: Reconnect the Cables, Starting With the Positive Cable

As opposed to the process of disconnecting cables, in reconnecting cables, you should start with the positive cable to avoid getting injured. Afterwards, move on to reconnecting the negative cable. Use the wrench to tighten the cables.

Again, be careful where the wrench is moving. Once the cables are reconnected, test if they are tightly attached by twisting them by hand.

Conclusion

It’s important to keep the car battery free of corrosion to keep the car in good working condition. Thankfully, the procedure on how to clean car battery corrosion is very easy to do. It only requires a few simple steps and some caution.

Did this tutorial help you with your car battery corrosion problem? If it did, perhaps you can share this article to assist other car owners too. If you have something in mind, feel free to post it in the comments.

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