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Batteries are amongst the car engine’s parts that have a great contribution to the vehicle’s performance but are often ignored. In fact, not everyone knows how to clean car battery terminals, or worst, they have no idea that car batteries need to be cleaned.
Generally, the batteries are responsible for storing electricity that is needed to ignite the fuel for the engine to work. Once their terminals or connections are covered with corrosion and dirt, electrical power won’t be able to flow and delivered to the engine properly. Hence, your car won’t start, and you get stuck in the middle of the traffic, in the parking lot, or anywhere else.
White deposits that indicate corrosion
When you come to a point wherein you need to clean your vehicle’s battery terminals, you actually do not need to bring it to the auto shop because you can do it on your own with very minimal cost.
Before we start learning the manner on how to clean car battery terminals, let us give you some safety tips that you need to keep in mind.
One of the most common car maintenance mistakes of people is that they ignore the owner’s manual, which is totally wrong because it has all the information that they need about the car. In this situation, you need it so that you can locate where the battery is; some have it in front while others at the back of the car. The manual will also help you become familiar with the parts of the battery and the terminals.
Of course, the car shouldn’t be running when you clean the battery terminals as it will surely injure you and damage the car. It is then, highly recommended that you wait for at least 30 minutes after the car engine has been turned off before beginning the task. Nonetheless, if it has been parked for quite some time, you can already proceed.
Don’t get us wrong; the method of cleaning is not too technical and dangerous but, of course, you must always be ready for any untoward incidents. Usually, the corrosion on the terminals is caused by a buildup of car battery acid, so it is required that you wear goggles and gloves; you may also wear an apron if you want to.
>>> More tips for car battery maintenance on Philkotse.com:
Now that you and your car are all prep up and you have located the battery, it’s time to learn the basics of cleaning the car battery terminals or connections. The method below will only take you an hour or less, and both inexperienced and experienced individuals can perform it.
First off, you need to understand that there are different cleaning solutions that you can use. You can buy them in the designated stores, or they are just around your kitchen.
For the tools, you’ll need a brush (old toothbrush, special battery terminal brush, wire brush, or soft-bristled brush), two soft rags or pieces of clean cloth, and petroleum jelly or protective spray. At times, you might also need a wrench or pliers.
An old toothbrush is a helpful tool to clean car battery terminals
Cleaning car battery terminal deposits involves the following simple steps:
Car batteries have either two plastic or rubber covers that need to be removed or opened in order for you to have access to the battery clamps, which are responsible for connecting the cables to the battery terminals.
Check the car battery terminal clamps and cables to determine if there are wears and tears. If there are, do note that they should be replaced immediately. Similarly, inspect the battery case for any signs of leaking, bloating, and swelling; if any of those are present, do not proceed to the cleaning process since you are already required to replace it with a new one.
Locate the battery’s terminal with a negative or minus sign (-) symbol then start to loosen its clamp by turning it counterclockwise; you might need the help of a wrench or pliers, depending on the extent of corrosion. For side-post batteries, the next thing to do is to loosen its cable until it’s removed, while for top-post batteries, you might be required to carefully wiggle and pry the end of the cable for it to be removed. Do the same for the positive terminal.
Correctly identify the (+) and (-) terminals
For the baking soda solution, follow these steps:
When it sizzles, it's neutralizing
For the battery cleaner spray, this is what you need to do:
For this step, you need to have a clean spray bottle that contains clean water. Spray the areas that you have brushed in order to remove all the deposits that have been loosened. Then, follow it up with a clean cloth so that you are assured that all the deposits are removed. Once done, get another clean cloth or rag and dry thoroughly. When everything is all dried up, lubricate the terminals with petroleum jelly or spray them with a special protective spray (again, follow the product instruction).
The last thing to do is to reconnect the cables and clamps. At this point, you must start by connecting the positive end followed by the negative. Then, put the clamps and tighten them by turning them clockwise with the help of a wrench or pliers.
Don't forget to tighten the clamps!
If you need more assistance, here's a helpful video for you:
How to clean car battery terminals using a baking soda solution
Remember that your car’s battery is designed to have a long lifespan, but it wouldn’t reach that and perform well if you won’t take care of it. Maintain it and keep it free from any deposits by following Philkotse.com’s five steps on how to clean car battery terminals.
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