How To Clean Your Car Battery Terminals

Car starting troubles can stem from a variety of sources – bad alternator, worn out spark plugs, or even a dead battery are all common reasons why a car won’t start. However, often times when the problem is caused by the battery most people will immediately think the battery is dead when in reality there may just be a bad connection between the automobile and the battery. When a bad connection is the root cause of the problem, there is a simple and easy way to clean the battery terminals to get your vehicle up and running once again. Here’s the process:

  1. Ensure your car is turned off and pop the hood open.
  2. Locate your battery and (while wearing protective gloves) loosen and remove the terminal clips from the battery, ensuring that you loosen the negative (-) clip first and then the positive clip (+).
  3. Examine the battery to ensure it is free of any cracks or major damage before proceeding. If there are any major cracks or damage to the battery, replace it instead of moving onto the next step.
  4. Once you have determined the battery is free from defect, take a cup filled with a mixture of baking soda and water and pour it over each battery terminal. If done correctly, the battery acid residue that has collected on the terminal heads should begin melting away. If acid persists, try using a toothbrush to gently scrub it off the terminal heads.
  5. Clean and dry the battery and terminal heads using a clean cloth
  6. Replace the terminal clips using the positive clip (+) first followed by the negative (-) clip. Tighten appropriately with a wrench to ensure a snug connection.
  7. Start your vehicle as normal and you should be on your way!

This is the general process that I use although some people clean their terminal heads a different way. For example, some car mechanics use a can of coca-cola to clean their terminals – I have tried both ways and have found the baking soda to be more effective and less sticky. Additionally, if your car still won’t start after cleaning the battery terminals then you are probably in need of a new battery or you might have a more serious problem with the car. Last but not least, please use this method at your own risk – I use it every other month to clean my terminals and have found it to work like a charm every single time. Thanks and safe driving!

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