Battery Maintenance

How to Clean and Prevent Car Battery Corrosion


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Car battery corrosion is a major contributor to the degraded performance and shortened life expectancy of led acid car batteries. The colored fuzzy build up on the car battery terminal is corrosion. If there is enough corrosion built up for it to show up as even a small layer of white or bluish fuzz on the car battery terminal, the electrical consequences are already building. Getting rid of and preventing future outbreaks of car battery corrosion is the easiest thing you can do to extend the useful life of your car battery.

Cleaning Mild Corrosion at Home

Auto parts stores and car battery supply houses sell a wide-variety of car battery corrosion cleaners. However, the simplest solutions are usually the best. The steps for cleaning mildly corroded battery terminals and batteries are listed below:

  1. Fill a plastic cup with approximately eight ounces of water. Mix in one to two tablespoons of baking soda.
  2. Pour a few ounces of this solution over the negative terminal and lightly scrub with a discarded toothbrush.
  3. Repeat step 2 on the positive terminal.
  4. Pour the remaining solution over the whole battery. Allow to soak for approximately one minute.
  5. Wipe clean with a paper towel.

Cleaning Heavy Corrosion at Home

Again, you’re welcome to spend the extra money on something sold at an auto parts store or battery house, but mix up two separate eight ounce cups of the baking soda solution.

  1. Remove both battery terminals beginning with the negative cable.
  2. Place the cups on top of the battery and insert each terminal in a cup.
  3. Allow to sit for 20 minutes for full penetration.
  4. Keeping the terminals in the solutions, scrub them with a discarded toothbrush.
  5. Mix a fresh cup of baking soda solution using only four ounces of water.
  6. Pour this solution over the battery. Soak for thirty seconds.
  7. Wipe clean with a paper towel.
  8. With a battery post cleaner or sandpaper, clean both battery posts and the contact areas of the cable ends.
  9. Reattach the cables to the posts starting with the positive.

Cleaning Corrosion Away From Home

Sometimes you’re going to run into a situation where excessive corrosion has caused your car to become non-operation and you’re nowhere near baking soda, but you have a Coca-Cola and napkins. Pour the soda over the battery terminals and allow it to soak for approximately a minute. Rinse with more soda and wipe clean. With a pair of pliers, wiggle the cable ends back and forth a little (just barely budging them) to break the corrosion bond inside and pour more soda. Rinse clean with more soda or water. The car can now be jump started or possibly even started on its own.

Corrosion Prevention

Proper battery maintenance will keep corrosion at a minimum without having to purchase anything. However, for those who don’t get around to battery maintenance, there are spray-on and paint-on corrosion preventive liquids as well as coated felt pads that fit on the posts under terminals which absorb any leaking corrosion causing acid.

You are now equipped with the knowledge to combat car battery corrosion by cleaning and prevention.

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