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How To Clean Corroded Battery Terminals

corroded battery terminals

If there’s a white ashy substance around your vehicle’s battery terminals, then it’s time to clean them.

Corroded battery terminals can make starting your car difficult, and your battery may also fail to fully charge while you drive your vehicle. The good news is you don’t need to be a mechanic to clean corroded battery terminals.


What you’ll need

Here are the items you should gather before you get started. Fortunately, these are materials you should already have around your home.

  • Gloves

  • Wrench

  • Wire brush or steel wool

  • Old toothbrush

  • Water

  • Baking soda

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Rags


Steps to follow

Now that everything’s ready, it’s time to pop the hood and get to work. Make sure your car’s ignition is turned off before you start.

1. Mix your cleaner

Put a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water and stir it in. Some people recommend using cola, too.

2. Detach the battery cables

You may need a wrench to loosen the clamps that connect the cables to the battery terminals. Remove the black, negative cable first, then the red, positive one. Next, check your battery. If it’s bulging, cracked or leaking, you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible.

3. Clean the terminals

Dip your toothbrush into the baking soda-water mixture and begin cleaning the terminals. Remove all the white, ashy material. It may take a few attempts to get it clean. If the corrosion is heavy, a wire brush or piece of steel wool may do a better job of removing the debris. Also, make sure to clean the inside of the cable clamps.

4. Rinse away the residue and dry

Use a spray bottle filled with water to rinse away any residue left behind after you clean the battery. You can then use a damp rag to give everything a final wipe. After, thoroughly dry the battery with a clean cloth.

5. Apply petroleum jelly

A dab of petroleum jelly will lubricate the terminals, prevent further corrosion and strengthen the electrical connection. Apply a small amount to each terminal.

6. Reattach the battery cables

Attach the red, positive one first, followed by the black, negative cable. Tighten the clamps with your wrench, and you’re ready to hit the road.


Battery experts in Toronto, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and Brandon

At Prairie Battery, we have more than 20 years of experience in the battery industry. Besides automotive batteries, we provide batteries for snowmobiles, golf carts and ATVs. If we don’t have what you need in stock, we can get it quickly. Contact us today at the location that’s nearest to you.


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