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Cleaning Your Car’s Battery Terminals Isn’t As Hard As it Might Seem

Corroded battery terminals and cables can affect your battery’s connection and you may not be able to start your automobile. You can clean the terminals yourself. This is a relatively easy DIY job depending on how dirty they are. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that corroded battery terminals are also a sign that you need to replace your car, truck, utility vehicle, or van’s battery. If the part is three to four years old, the corrosion is an indication that it is dying. Fairfax Auto Repair lists the steps to clean your battery terminals below.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

You likely have just about everything you need to clean your battery terminals in your home already. Specifically, you should grab

  • Baking soda
  • Distilled water
  • A mixing container
  • An old toothbrush
  • A clean spray bottle
  • A lint-free cloth
  • Petroleum jelly

Head to the store to pick up what you don’t have if you’re missing some of the supplies. Once you have everything you need, it’s time to mix up your homemade cleaning solution.

Mix the Solution and Disconnect the Battery Cables

Take the mixing container and pour one cup of distilled water into it. Add one tablespoon of baking soda and stir thoroughly until the solution is clear. Put the toothbrush into the solution to allow it to soak while you disconnect the battery cables. Remove the negative battery cable, which is the black one, and then remove the positive battery cable, which is the red one. Push them out of the way.

Clean and Protect the Terminals

Using the toothbrush that is soaked with your cleaning solution, scrub away the corrosion on the battery terminals. It might take a bit of effort if your terminals are corroded severely. Your goal is to clean the battery terminals until they are clear of all corrosion and shiny again. Once they are, pour distilled water into the spray bottle and rinse the terminals thoroughly.

After you’ve rinsed the terminals, dry them completely with the lint-free cloth. Make sure there isn’t any water left on the battery before you move onto the next step. If you must, allow the battery to air dry for a little while. Once the battery is dry, apply a tiny bit of petroleum jelly to each battery terminal and spread it around thoroughly.

Reconnect the Battery Cables

Once the terminals have been protected with the petroleum jelly, reconnect the positive (red) cable first and then the negative (black) cable next. You can also use the cleaner to clean the cables if they are corroded, as well. Make sure that you do not reconnect the cables until they are completely dry.

Next, bring your automobile into Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA, for a battery test to make sure that your battery does not need to be replaced. If it does, we can do that for you.

Call Fairfax Auto Repair at 703-822-5911 for an appointment today!

Photo by 12875116 from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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