If you have recently noticed corrosion on your car battery, it is important to know how to clean car battery corrosion. Corrosion on your car battery can cause serious damage and can even lead to an electrical malfunction.
So taking the proper steps to clean and maintain your car battery is important. This blog will discuss the steps to clean battery corrosion and provide tips and advice on keeping your car battery in top shape.
What Is Battery Corrosion?
Battery corrosion occurs over time when specific chemical reactions occur at the battery’s terminals. It usually starts as an oxidation process caused by electricity, heat, and certain chemicals. It then progresses to more significant damage caused by the chemistries involved with the battery over time.
Corrosion of battery terminals can appear as a crystallized mass of white or greenish-white powdery material that can be easily wiped off.
Why Does My Car Battery Keep Corroding?
Corrosion on the terminals of your car battery is often caused by acid fumes that build up over time. When this happens, the lead plates and lugs inside your battery become exposed to the acid and begin to corrode. In addition, the hose clamps used to secure the battery will often start to corrode due to exposure to the elements.
A second common culprit for car battery corrosion is a lack of maintenance. When you ignore basic maintenance for your car battery, such as regular cleaning and charging, you’ll start to experience a build-up of sulfate deposits which can also corrode the terminals.
Neglecting to maintain your battery can also lead to excessive discharging and can lead to damage of the lead plates and terminals.
Car batteries may also begin to corrode if you are in an environment with a high level of humidity or salt, such as near the ocean or in a highly industrialized area. The combination of moisture and salt can greatly increase the rate of corrosion and can severely damage your battery.
Finally, a car battery will corrode if it’s not receiving the proper voltage. If your car battery can’t maintain a charge, then your car won’t be able to start and the corrosion on the terminals will continue to worsen.
How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion
Battery corrosion can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper safety precautions and know what to do when cleaning it. Take your time, be safe, and follow the steps above for a successful cleaning.
1. Put on safety glasses, rubber gloves and long-sleeve clothing. It is important to take safety precautions when dealing with batteries.
2. Lift the hood of your car and locate the battery. Take off the negative and positive terminals and ensure they are battery corrosion-free.
3. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub away the corrosion. Ensure you do not touch any metal terminals or cables with the brush.
4. Once the corrosion has been removed, use a clean cloth to wipe down the terminals. Make sure all the dirt and debris have been taken off.
5. Reattach the terminals and cable to the battery with a crescent wrench. Make sure you attach them in the correct position.
6. Clean the area around the battery with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely before replacing your car’s hood.
How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion with Baking Soda
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean car battery corrosion with baking soda:
Step 1: Remove the Battery
First, remove the car battery from its compartment and place it on a flat surface. Be sure to unplug the terminals and remove any plastic guards or covers.
Step 2: Create a Baking Soda Paste
Mix baking soda with water until it forms a paste. Then, apply the paste to the battery posts and terminals. Make sure the baking soda paste covers all of the corrosion buildups.
Step 3: Let the Baking Soda Work
Allow the baking soda paste to sit and work on the corrosion buildup for at least 15 minutes. This will help the baking soda to break down and loosen the buildup.
Step 4: Scrub and Rinse the Battery
Remove the baking soda paste from the battery posts and terminals using a non-metallic brush. Then, rinse the battery with clean water.
Step 5: Clean the Battery Compartment
The battery compartment should be cleaned to remove any lingering debris or toxic residues. Use a cloth and cleaning solution or baking soda paste to clean the compartment.
Step 6: Re-Install the Battery
Once everything is dry, you can reinstall the battery. Be sure to lubricate the terminals and then plug them in.How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion without Baking Soda
Cleaning off corrosion is especially important if your battery has been exposed to moisture or you plan to replace an old battery with a new one.
Step One: Prepare the Area
Before you start, you should put on eye protection. Additionally, you’ll need to prep the area for your cleaning job. To do this, wear old clothes, lay down some drop clothes, and remove the clamps from the battery.
Step Two: Scrub the Battery
Now that the area is prepped, you must scrub off the corrosion. Use a brush with stiff bristles and a cleaning solution to do this. Mix the solution according to the instructions on the label, and use the brush to scrub away any rust or buildup.
Step Three: Rinse the Battery
Once the rust and residue have been scrubbed away, rinse the area with clean water. This will ensure that all of the cleaning solutions have been removed.
Step Four: Apply the Cleaning Agent
Now that the area is debris-free, you need to apply the cleaning agent. You can use materials like white vinegar, citric acid, or borax. These are readily available materials and won’t irritate the battery clamps.
To apply, take a contaminated battery piece and soak it in the solution for about 5 minutes. Then, with a wire brush, scrub away the corrosion. After that, rinse off the area with clean water.
Step Five: Grease the Battery
Once the battery is clean, put some grease on the clamps. This will produce a barrier and protect the clamps from corrosion in the future.
Step Six: Reattach the Clamps
Once you’ve completed the job, reattach the clamps to the battery. Use a wrench or similar tool to make sure they’re properly secured.
How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion with Coke
Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how to clean car battery corrosion with Coke.
Step 1: Put on Protective Eyewear and Gloves
Safety first—you don’t want the acidity from Coke splashing into your eyes or onto your skin. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses before you begin.
Step 2: Unscrew the Battery Clamps
Inspect the two battery clamps that are attached to your car battery terminals and unscrew them if necessary.
Step 3: Scrub off Existing Corrosion
Using a stiff copper-bristled brush, gently scrub off any existing corrosion that’s built up on the battery terminals.
Step 4: Prep the Battery Terminals
Apply baking soda to the terminals in order to neutralize the acidity. This will also foam up instantly and help remove residue.
Step 5: Soak the Terminals in Coke
Use a bowl or tray and soak the exposed wires in soda for around 15 minutes. The acidity in Coke will help to break down your car battery corrosion.
Step 6: Rinse and Dry the Terminals
Afterwards, use a damp cloth and rinse the exposed wires. Use a clean piece of cloth to dry them off afterwards.
Step 7: Add Petroleum Jelly
To prevent new corrosion, apply petroleum jelly to the terminals. This will act as an insulator and keep your car battery in the best condition for longer.
Step 8: Reattach the Clamps
Reattach the two clamps to the terminals, securing them tightly.
How to Clean Corroded Battery Terminals in Electronics
The Corrosion of battery terminals in electronics can cause permanent damage if left unchecked. It’s important to clean these off promptly to prevent any serious damage.
1. Ensure Device Is Unplugged and the Power Source Is Shut Off
Before cleaning the corroded battery terminals, ensure the device is powered off and unplugged. It may be necessary to remove the battery from the device altogether.
2. Remove Corrosion
Use a small brush, whitening toothpaste, or a baking soda paste to remove any corrosion on the battery terminals. Gently scrub the terminals with the paste, avoiding contact with other electronic components.
3. Dry the Terminals
Using a soft cloth or paper towel, pat dries the battery terminals that have been cleaned. Leave the battery terminals open to air-dry for optimal results for 15-30 minutes.
4. Connect Battery and Reassemble Device
Connect the battery terminals and reassemble the device if the battery has been removed. Finally, plug in the device to a power source and test it to see if it works correctly.
How to Clean Car Battery Corrosion without Removing
Here are some step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: Determine the Type of Corrosion
First, you need to determine the type of corrosion on the battery: white, green, black, or red. Depending on the type, you’ll know what cleaner to use in the next step.
Step 2: Prepare the Cleaner
Next, choose the right cleaner depending on the type of corrosion on your battery. Depending on the corrosion type, you can use a specialized car battery cleaner, white vinegar or baking soda, or even a household cleaner like Windex.
Step 3: Apply the Cleaner
Now, you can apply the cleaner to the battery using a soft brush and allow it to soak in. Let it soak for around 10 minutes or longer if necessary.
Step 4: Rinse Off
Take a cloth or a towel and thoroughly rinse off the battery. Be sure to remove all traces of the cleaner.
Step 5: Reconnect the Terminals
Once the battery is clean and dry, you can reconnect the terminals and check them for corrosion. If more corrosion appears, repeat the cleaning process.
Car Battery Corrosion Prevention
Firstly, it is recommended that you regularly clean the terminals of your car battery with a wire brush and baking soda. Both have slight abrasive and de-greasing qualities that are great for removing any dirt and contaminants that build up on the terminal posts. This will prevent corrosion from happening.
The second way to prevent car battery corrosion is to ensure the battery is properly charged. Overcharging and discharging the battery can cause irreversible corrosion, drastically reducing the life of your battery. When checking your battery’s charge level, it is best to use a voltmeter.
The third way to avoid corrosion is to keep your battery out of extreme temperatures. Both extreme cold and extreme heat can cause permanent damage to the metal and cause corrosion. It’s also advised that you not store your battery near chemicals such as acid, bleach, and petroleum products. These can also hasten the corroding process.
Finally, one of the best ways to prevent car battery corrosion is to ensure the battery is correctly maintained. This means you should regularly check fluid levels and ensure the electrolyte is still potent. If the battery is kept properly maintained, then the life of the battery will surely be improved.
Best Car Battery Corrosion Cleaner
Choosing the right car battery corrosion cleaner and taking the necessary steps to prevent corrosion in the future is essential. Fortunately, there are a variety of car battery corrosion cleaners on the market that are effective in restoring your car battery to proper working order.
- NOCO NCP2 B603 Battery Terminal Cleaner
- Permatex 80369 Battery Cleaner
- Deka East Penn Battery Cleaner
- WD-40 Cleaner Spray
Does vinegar dissolve battery corrosion?
Yes, vinegar does dissolve battery corrosion. Many people hesitate to use vinegar to fix battery corrosion because of its acidic nature. However, vinegar can be very effective in dissolving stuck-on corrosion.
Can battery corrosion keep a car from starting?
The short answer to whether battery corrosion can keep a car from starting is yes, it can. Battery corrosion is a common problem, especially in older vehicles that may have been neglected. Corrosion can affect the electrical components of a car’s starting system, causing unreliable performance or a refusal to start altogether.
Does corrosion on car battery mean it needs to be replaced?
Not necessarily—in many cases, corrosion signifies an issue with the charging system, not the battery itself, which can be solved by recharging or replacing the faulty parts.
Does battery corrosion mean dead battery?
Even though corrosion is a sign that your battery may be nearing the end of its life and may need to be replaced soon, there are still steps that you can take to get your battery back to good working order.
How quickly can a car battery corrode?
Generally, you can expect a car battery to corrode within five to seven years. If you keep your car in good condition and maintain the battery properly, this length of time could be extended significantly.
So, how to clean car battery corrosion? In conclusion, cleaning car battery corrosion is a relatively straightforward process that can be undertaken with the right supplies. It is a good idea to clean the terminals and posts of your car battery at least twice a year to prevent buildup and other damage that can occur over time.
Using baking soda and water to create a paste and then cleaning the terminals, posts and cables with a brush and a cloth is the best way to eliminate corrosion and restore your car battery to optimum function.