Like any other vehicle component, the battery must be maintained to perform properly. With that in mind, if battery terminals (the routes that allow electricity to flow) become dirty or corroded, the energy needed to keep a car moving becomes compromised. Follow these simple steps to keep the battery and its terminals clean and healthy.
Do the Prep Work
If all necessary equipment is close by when work begins, you will save time and energy. So, make the effort to gather the following supplies:
- Safety glasses
- Petroleum Jelly
- Baking Soda and Hot Water (or commercial battery terminal cleaner)
- Wire brush
- Apron (optional)
- Clothes You Can Get Dirty
Perform a Close Examination of the Area
Before the action begins, put on safety goggles and gloves. You can also wear an apron to keep clothes from getting ruined (corrosive material can damage clothing). Note: For best results, clean the battery only when the car has been unused for at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready, do a close examination of the battery and surrounding parts. You’ll want to watch out for leaks, cracks or damaged cables, and if you notice excessive wear, have these parts replaced before moving on to the following steps.
Scrub the Battery and Terminals
First, locate the battery (the owner’s manual will help if you aren’t sure where to look). Next, disconnect it by taking off the plastic or rubber covers that shield connection points (where battery cables and terminals meet). Now you can remove the clamps from the negative terminal (it should have a minus symbol or black cover on it) and positive terminal (plus symbol or red cover).
If using baking soda and hot water, mix the ingredients together until they form a thick paste. Then, use the wire brush and paste to scrub the battery, terminals, and clamps. The process might need repeating if the area has excessive buildup. If using a commercial cleaner, read and follow the instructions for use. When all areas appear free of corrosion and debris, wipe everything with a soft cloth.
Now that everything’s clean, you can reattach the clamps (the positive terminal before the negative) and apply petroleum jelly to them. This step will prevent future corrosion. Finally, replace the covers and close the hood.
Always use caution when dealing with a car battery. In modern vehicles, batteries might be connected to another power source (a jump box), so remember to check the owner’s manual before performing any work on your vehicle.
For professional guidance or complete car service, stop in or call J&R Automotive in Crossville, TN at (931) 456-6569 today!