How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion?

Minor damage to the battery can affect the car’s performance and result in costly maintenance.

Battery Corrosion is one of the significant aspects that can cause severe damage to your battery if not looked out on time. It can also lead to several issues, including damage to vehicle air-conditioning and electrical wiring.

Cleaning the battery when it’s subjected to corrosion is the only way of prevention. The best thing is too clean it yourself without hiring a car mechanic. All you need to do is follow the steps we will discuss in this ultimate guide of cleaning car battery corrosion.

Luckily the corrosion around the battery is easy to identify. Corrosion is the white, green, bluish stuff on the battery post, battery terminals, or battery cables.

If your car is facing several issues mentioned below, it is a warning sign for you to clean the battery corrosion until it will become a cause of changing the whole battery with the new one.

  • The car takes time when starting up.
  • The headlights of the car are dim and blinking.
  • The vehicle engine heats up quickly.
  • Car air conditioning is not working properly.
  • Find a slight change in the performance of the car.

Any of these problems can indicate your car battery has corrosion. The next step is to have a look under the hood for proper inspection.

Before popping the car hood, wait for 30 minutes to let your car engine cool down. Now, take a look at the battery post cables and terminals where corrosion will form.

If you found a white powdery material with a hint of green/blue tones, then your battery has corrosion. You’ll need to look out the ways to remove corrosion from the battery. But fear not.

The process of cleaning corrosion from the battery is simple and can be done by anyone. Follow these steps, and you’ll ultimately find your battery free of corrosion.

Steps to clean battery corrosion

Materials that you’ll need:

  • Protective gloves, like dish gloves
  • Wrench
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Petroleum jelly

1. Disconnect Battery Cables

The first and foremost step is to disconnect the battery cables. To do that job, you’ll need a wrench. Make sure to remove the negative cable first before the positive one. Avoid letting the wrench touch the positive side because it may shock you.

To help you identify which cable is positive and negative, here are some signs to recognize them.

Negative Cable:

  • Its color is BLACK.
  • Its abbreviation is “NEG”
  • It is marked with a negative (=) sign.

Positive Cable:

  • Its color is RED.
  • Its abbreviation is “POS”
  • It is marked with a positive (+) sign.

2. Inspect the battery for any damage

A damaged and worn battery would result in severe damage to your car engine. If you notice any cracks, dents, bulging, and warping present in your battery, then cleaning it may not do any good for you. These are indications that your battery needs a replacement.

3. Remove the Corrosion from the Battery

Once you have inspected the battery thoroughly for any damage, the next step is to clean the corrosion from it. There are few methods to complete this step, so we’ll fleetingly delve into them.

Apply the battery detergent to the corroded area of the battery. To clean the corrosion, your first choice should be the usage of commercial-grade battery detergent. It is highly effective in cleaning the corrosion and also helpful in neutralizing the acid of the battery.

For some reason, if you don’t have access to battery detergent, then the second option is to implement household remedies to remove corrosion, such as Coca-Cola and baking soda.

However, while some people believe Coca-Cola is an effective method to remove corrosion, we suggest exercising some caution because the beverage contains phosphoric acid and synthetic sugars that can be damaging to your engine.

A simple and effective technique to remove corrosion from the battery is the baking soda method. All you need is a glass of water and a spoonful of baking soda to prepare the solution. Stir the solution until everything dissolves properly.

Then use a toothbrush and scrub the prepared solution on the corroded areas of the battery. Cover the battery terminal and other corroded areas with baking soda solution.

You’ll notice a bubbling reaction when two ingredients meet each other. This reaction neutralizes the acidic corrosion and makes it safe to handle. After that, scrub the corroded area thoroughly until the white substance disappears.

4. Dry and Rinse off the battery

After scrubbing the white substance, pour water to rinse the battery and cable end completely. Be careful not to pour water on the other engine components to keep your car protected from the damage these could potentially cause. Then, dry the battery using a towel and any other material.

5. Take Some Corrosion-Preventative Steps

After everything has been done, you need to take crucial steps to prevent the battery from future corrosion.

Apply anti-corrosion pads to both sides of terminals. These little guys help protect your battery from rusting. Also, apply the petroleum jelly to the terminal and clamps. This will help from future corrosion.

Safety precautions when cleaning a corroded battery

When it comes to safety, nothing is more important than your life and well-being. Here are some safety precautions that you should have to look after when cleaning a car corroded battery.

  • Before starting to clean the corroded battery, make sure to turn off the engine first. This is for your safety.
  • If your car engine is running for a while, wait for it to cool down before opening the hood.
  • Disconnect the battery negative terminal first before the positive one. 
  • Avoid touching the positive terminal with the wrench; it may give you a shock.
  • Avoid battery contact with your skin. Make sure to wear latex and rubber gloves.
  • Make sure to wear safety glasses to keep your eyes safe.

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