Step by Step Guide on Removing Corrosion from Car Battery Terminals
If you have been having issues starting up your engine or notice problems with electrical components, such as dim headlights or issues turning on the radio, the battery is likely the culprit. When you check the battery, you may notice corrosion, a white or blue substance forming on the battery’s terminals. A little bit shouldn’t cause a problem, but letting it build up can lead to electrical interference, causing inconveniences even if the battery itself is still good. Here’s our step by step guide on how to clean corrosion off a car safely.
[ READ MORE: Signs of a Failing Car Battery ]
- Turn off the engine and disconnect the battery. Determine the size wrench you need for your specific battery. Usually, terminals on the side means you need a 5/16 wrench while terminals on top requires a 3/8 wrench. Loosen and remove the cable on the negative terminal first. Do not let the wrench touch the positive terminal as this can shock you. Once the cable is removed, do the same for the positive terminal.
- Inspect the battery for cracks or tears. If you have cracks or tears in the battery or cables, cleaning the corrosion may not do you any good as the battery or cables would need replacing. If there are no signs of damage, then it’s time to prepare for a cleaning.
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of hot water. Mix this solution fully so no baking soda clumps are left behind. Use an old toothbrush to dip and scrub. If this isn’t enough, look into buying a battery terminal cleaner brush.
- Dry everything off fully and replace the clamps. To replace the clamps, you will need to go in reverse order as before, starting with positive and ending with negative. Like before, mind where your wrench moves.
- Test the connection. Once you are finished, turn on your engine. If you’re still having problems, you likely need to replace the battery. If it starts up well, you should be good to go. However, it’s still a good idea to get the battery tested, especially if the battery is 3 years old or older.