Car batteries are the most important part of our vehicles. They are what allow us to start our vehicle with ease to get us to our destination. But what happens when our car won’t start? It is possible that your battery is bad and needs to be replaced, but many times it is due to corrosion on your car’s battery terminals.
Battery terminal corrosion can prevent power from flowing through your vehicle’s electrical system, causing your battery to malfunction. Now, You may be wondering how to keep battery terminals from corroding. Luckily, you can prevent corroded battery terminals fairly easily, and in this article, we will tell you how!
Table of Contents
Tools You’ll Need
- Shop Rags
- Battery Cleaner
- Baking Soda
- 1/4 inch 9mm socket
- Wire Brush
- Distilled Water
- Dielectric Grease
- Battery Corrosion Preventative
How To Keep Battery Terminals From Corroding
Battery corrosion presents itself as a white or green powder built up around your battery’s terminals. The usual cause for this is when hydrogen gas escapes and begins to gradually build on the surface of the terminal.
Luckily, you can prevent this from occurring with regular car battery maintenance. Here is the best way to prevent battery terminals from corroding.
Step 1: Take Precautions
The first step in the process is to make sure you are wearing appropriate gloves and safety glasses, as you could potentially come into contact with battery acid. Battery acid can burn your skin and clothing, so it is important to make sure you take precautions.
Step 2: Clean The Top Of The Battery
Next, clean any dust or debris from the top of your battery using a shop cloth or rag. Next, use distilled water to clean any residual debris from the surface.
Step 3: Remove Terminals
Using a 1/4 inch 9 mm socket, remove the terminals, starting with the negative terminal. Remove the battery corrosion preventative washers as well. This is a felt piece shaped like a ring located underneath the terminal.
After removing the negative battery cable, cover the post with a shop cloth to prevent the terminal from touching the post. Repeat the process for the positive terminal.
Step 4: Clean Battery Terminals
Spray battery cleaner on the terminals and let sit for 5 minutes. This will remove any corrosion that is already on your batteries as well as prep the surface for applying the protectant. Scrub the terminals with a wire brush.
Alternatively, you can use an old toothbrush or other small brush. You can spray the battery terminal cables one more time to ensure they are clean, but this is optional. Wipe off your battery terminal cables with a shop rag and move on to the next step.
Step 5: Clean Battery Posts
Next, cover the battery, leaving only the most exposed. Spray the battery’s posts lightly with the battery cleaner. Don’t overspray the battery cleaner or let it sit very long on the posts so it doesn’t seep into your battery.
Wipe the battery cleaner off of the posts, and remove any residue with distilled water and a shop cloth.
Alternatively, you can use another cleaning solution, such as a baking soda solution consisting of baking soda and water. Just sprinkle the baking soda on the area, and pour enough water to form a paste.
Scrub the area thoroughly, then use a shop cloth to wipe off the baking soda and water solution. As always, be sure you are using distilled water for any cleaning related to your car battery.
Step 6: Apply Protectant To Posts
Now, you need to apply waterproof dielectric grease to the posts. Dielectric grease is made to protect your battery terminals from future corrosion.
You can also use petroleum jelly if you can’t find dielectric grease. However, petroleum jelly is not as effective and will need to be applied more frequently.
Step 7: Reattach Terminals
Next, you will want to put brand-new felt washers over the posts. YOu can find these at the hardware store in a pack of two.
Now, replace the battery terminal cables using your socket, starting with the positive battery cable and moving on to the negative cables. Just be assured to overtighten.
Step 8: Apply Terminal Protectors
Finally, apply battery corrosion preventative to the outside of the battery terminal cables. This will ensure the components of your battery and terminal are protected from car battery corrosion.
Other Ways to Prevent Corrosion
- Keep an eye out for corroded cables. Regularly checking your cables to make sure they are not showing any signs of corrosion will help keep corrosion at bay. Doing this will allow you to stop the corrosion problem before it affects the performance of your battery.
- Don’t Overcharge. When you overcharge your battery, it allows it to overheat and leads to your battery expanding. This expansion allows the electrolyte to push out from any openings, eventually leading to corrosion.
- Don’t Fill Your Battery Too Full. Some batteries require a water top-off every so often, but not following instructions and overfilling your battery will allow electrolytes to spill out of your battery,
- Replace Copper clamps. Some terminals are made of copper clamps, and while copper works great for clamps, it can create a chemical reaction resulting in a chemical called copper sulfate that is corrosive to your battery terminals.
- Check for a faulty hood on your vehicle. If the hood on your vehicle allows water to get underneath, this can expose your battery to water, which will lead to corrosion.
- Assess the battery for damage. Unfortunately, the corroded battery terminals could be a result of battery fluid leakage. You should assess the area around the terminal for damage to see if this could be the source of battery leaks. This is usually only seen in sealed lead-acid batteries.
Battery terminal corrosion can cause a heap of problems, but with regular maintenance, you can prevent your car battery terminals from corroding and prolong the life of your battery.
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