We all know that battery corrosion or dirt could cause some parasite draws when the electricity not flows properly, and that could cause your car not to start.
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First, if you don’t know where exactly your battery is located – you can read this article: How to Locate Your Battery – Real Examples and Location Photos
Let’s begin. To have a good example, I could find the dirtiest terminals on my pickup truck, and they’re not really dirty because they are corroded, but they’re more dirty because I go off road and get mud everywhere. But this is still a good example on how to clean them.
Let me show you how to clean the battery terminals, so you have a perfect connection. Get your safety glasses on, grab a little bit of warm water and some baking soda and make a little slurry, to neutralize any acid that might be on the post.
Battery acid over time could cause corrosion, and it could lead to a bad connection, and that’s why we use the baking soda to clean our posts.
Just brush down the post and the surrounding area.
Next, loosen up the connection so we can remove it and tuck it away against the plastic of the battery. Don’t let it hit any bare metal.
With all the acid removed around the terminal, and it’s relatively clean, we want to sand it down to get a fresh surface to get a good connection. So you could use a 180 grit sandpaper, you could use one of these abrasive pads, or you could use a metal wire brush.
Brush the terminal to reveal fresh metal and brush the wire ends on the outside. But more importantly, clean the inside where it makes contact with the battery. With the inside of the terminal end cleaned and our terminal cleaned, we have a nice fresh surface for a good electrical connection.
About Terminal Protectors and Silicone Grease
One thing that I like is these little felt terminal protectors:
I didn’t think anything of them, but they actually work really well to help prevent corrosion. And also makes it really easy to see which side’s the positive of the battery, which side’s the negative, because they’re color coded. Plus, it comes with the silicone that we’re going to need to make it waterproof and corrosion-free. Inexpensive to buy, highly suggest it. It just makes the install that much better. And these felt pads have a chemical in them to help neutralize any acid that might come out or vent out, that way it reduces corrosion.
Let’s reconnect wires and be sure to push it all the way down, and then tighten it down, so it’s snug, but don’t overtighten it. Give it a wiggle to make sure it doesn’t move. The last thing to do is get the packet of silicone grease and get some on the terminal end and coat the entire metal surface. The silicon grease is hydrophobic, so it’s going to prevent moisture from getting in there and causing corrosion. It keeps your terminals looking great. Don’ forget to clean your negative terminal too.
That’s all there is to cleaning the terminals on your battery. Now, with both of these clean, the alternator isn’t going to work as hard, the starter is not going to work as hard, the electrics in your car are going to be a lot happier, and your battery is going to be a lot happier. Even if your car’s running fine, take a quick look at your terminals, make sure they’re corrosion-free and they look clean.
Chris Magello is an automotive engineer specializing in educating people in fixing their own cars with step-by-step guides.