The first thing you should know about cleaning car battery terminals is you shouldn’t have to do it that often. Usually, when your battery terminals start to corrode, it’s a sign the battery is reaching the end of its life or there is something else wrong with it. Inspect your vehicle’s battery regularly for corrosion, bulging, and cracks, and if you do have a little corrosion on the terminals, Advanced Automotive recommends you do the following to clean it quickly and easily.
Grab Your Cleaning Supplies
Grab a pair of rubber gloves and put on a long-sleeved shirt. This prevents you from getting the battery acid on your skin. Mix together 1 cup of distilled water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Make sure to mix the solution well so the baking soda dissolves completely. Grab an old toothbrush that you don’t use anymore, a soft, lint-free cloth, and a jar of petroleum jelly. You’re now ready for your mission.
Take Your Supplies to the Garage and Pop the Hood
With your vehicle turned off and the parking brake set, pop the hood. Put on your rubber gloves and grab a wrench to disconnect the battery cables. Remove the negative (black) cable first and then the positive (red) one. Do not mix up this order. It’s important to always remove the negative cable first as this properly discharges the electrical connection to the battery so you don’t get shocked.
Gently Scrub & Clean the Battery Terminals
With the cables removed and set out of the way, dip your toothbrush into the water/baking soda mix and gently brush away the corrosion on the battery terminals. Depending on how corroded the terminals are, this might take several tries. If you have to put some elbow grease into it, go ahead. Just don’t scrub the heck out of the terminals. Rinse the terminals with distilled water once they’re clean.
Protect the Terminals
Dry the terminals with the lint-free cloth. Sop up any water on the battery, too. Inspect the battery for the bulging or cracking we discussed above. Also, look for bubbling and check the battery’s water level if you have that type of car battery. Rub a little bit of petroleum jelly on each battery terminal to protect it from further corrosion and then reattach the cables red first and then black.
If your battery is showing signs of wear, call Advanced Automotive in Stanwood, WA, at 360-502-4606. We’ll schedule an appointment for you to come in for a battery test and inspection.