How to Safely Clean Corrosion Off a Car Battery Terminal
Corrosion naturally forms on car battery terminals over time. This flaky substance is often blue or white in color and can block the flow of electricity, causing some headaches for drivers trying to start their vehicle. If your car battery is ready for a cleaning and you don’t know how to do it safely, follow our step-by-step guide on removing corrosion from a car battery below.
Steps to Clean Corrosion Off a Car Battery
- Park your vehicle in a safe area and on level ground, then turn it off. If you have been driving your car for a while and the engine is hot, allow it to cool before opening the hood.
- Locate the battery and disconnect the negative terminal first. Starting with the negative side will prevent the battery from shorting out. As you disconnect, be careful with where your wrench goes. Avoid allowing it to touch the positive side at all, as this can lead to a shock.
- After disconnecting the negative terminal, disconnect the positive side. Again, you should mind your wrench when disconnecting the other terminal.
- Inspect the battery for damage, like dents or cracks. Sometimes, even cleaned batteries won’t start up or will have difficulty starting up due to damage or age. If the battery is damaged, you may be better off shopping for a new one.
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of hot water. Stir the solution until fully dissolved. Then, with an old toothbrush, dip the bristles into the solution and scrub at the corrosion until the corrosion is gone. If the corrosion is difficult to remove, consider investing in a battery terminal cleaner brush.
- Completely dry the battery then reconnect starting with the positive side. Making sure the battery is fully dry will prevent shock while reconnecting the positive side will avoid short-circuiting. As always, mind your wrench as you reconnect your battery.
- Once fully reconnected, start up your vehicle. If your vehicle starts up fine, then you are ready to drive! If not, double check that you reinstalled your battery correctly. If you have, then you will need to replace it.
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Of course, you should only do this if you are confident in your abilities to clean the corrosion and are comfortable with doing so. If you prefer a professional to complete the job for you, schedule service at Karen Radley Acura. We’d be happy to make sure your battery is in working order and let you know if your car needs a replacement. Also, check out our blog for more helpful posts like this every month.