How Do I Clean My Battery Terminals?

Most people clean the interior and exterior of their car to keep it looking great but rarely consider the parts that don’t get seen. However, those under-the-radar components need just as much attention as the obvious ones. For example, your car battery is vulnerable to rust and corrosion, rendering it less efficient. With regular cleanings, though, you can keep this vintal element in top condition. Here’s how:

#1 Gather Supplies

For this project you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush
  • Gloves
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Rag
  • Spray bottle with water

#2 Make the Potion

There’s no way to mess this part up. Just start with a tablespoon or two of baking soda and add enough water to form a paste. Some people prefer a thin mixture, while others like a more coarse cleaner. Either way, it gets the job done.

#3 Detach Battery

Before you begin, make sure the car has been off long enough to cool down the engine (30 minutes to an hour). You don’t want to get near a hot battery. When ready, put on the gloves, pop the hood and undo the cables (negative first, then positive). If you aren’t sure where the battery sits, look to your owner’s manual (if you don’t have a paper copy, most can be found online). Next, do a thorough visual inspection of the battery, looking for corrosion and grime buildup along the terminals. Note: If the battery case has obvious signs of damage (leaks or swelling), cleaning won’t be necessary; you’ll need to buy a new battery.

#4 Scrub Away

At this point, dip the toothbrush in the baking soda concoction and start scrubbing. Depending on the level of buildup, you might have to apply some pressure, but be patient and keep scrubbing. If the toothbrush starts to get dirty, you’ll need to rinse it and reapply the solution.

#5 Rinse and Dry

After the terminals look free of debris and corrosion, use the spray bottle to apply enough moisture and dab the battery with the rag to remove any remaining baking soda. The battery should be good and dry when you finish.

#6 Apply Petroleum Jelly

Use the rag to put petroleum jelly on the battery terminals. This product helps prevent further corrosion and adds a layer of lubricant.

#7 Reattach Battery

Finally, reattach all cables and you’re set. Clean battery equals a happy car, so good work.

For all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call Pit Shop Auto Repair in Libertyville, IL today!