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How To Clean Car Battery Corrosion? A Step-By-Step Process

How To Clean Car Battery Corrosion

If you're looking for how to clean a car battery corrosion, follow this step-by-step process:

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  1. Disconnect the battery
  2. Apply the product
  3. Scrub the area
  4. Dry the battery
  5. Reconnect and test the battery

Your vehicle's battery is one of the most critical components to having healthy, so your vehicle runs smoothly without any problems. The battery is responsible for giving your vehicle the initial start, so it gets going.

Batteries do not last forever, and there will be a time when they fail. However, before they fail, they will start showing some symptoms that you can control to extend the life of your battery as much as possible.

One of the very common symptoms of an aged car battery is when corrosion starts building up around the battery itself and the battery terminals. The good news is that you can still clean up this corrosion and extend the battery's lifetime without needing to replace it immediately.

Cleaning the corrosion is not very hard, but it might have some risks, and if you don't do it properly, you can go through some complications.

This article walks you through a step-by-step process on how to clean a car battery corrosion. Then, let's read more details about the two most common methods for cleaning car battery corrosion!

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How to clean a car battery corrosion? Method #1: using a cleaner

Cleaning the car battery is not a very complex problem and doesn't need complicated science. If you have the right steps and knowledge, you should be able to do it yourself without needing to hire a professional.

As you might already know, hiring professional means money, which you can avoid if you know how to do the process properly.

There are two common methods for cleaning your car battery corrosion, and this section will focus on using specific cleaners to remove the corrosion from your car battery. Let's take a closer look at the detailed steps for how to clean a car battery corrosion using a cleaner:

1-      Choose your working area

Before we start working on your battery, you want to make sure that you're working in an area that is safe enough and has all your needs so you don't deal with complications.

For example, you don't want to start cleaning your car battery in an area where there are a lot of kids or pets because the corrosion of the battery could be contaminating.

2-      Prepare your tools

Cleaning car battery corrosion is not a complicated process that requires detailed, sophisticated tools. However, you will need a few things to help you make the process faster and reduce any potential hassle of finding your tools as you're working.

Typically, you'll need your safety items, including eye goggles and gloves, to avoid having the corrosion jumping into your eyes or affecting your skin.

You also need to decide on the product you want to go with if there are many commercial products focused on cleaning the corrosion from car batteries. So again, we highly encourage you to go through the main pros and cons before purchasing the wrong product.

You might need to use a rubber glove for rubbing the corrosion or probably a wire brush depending on the severity of the corrosion on your battery.

3-      Disconnect the battery

The last thing you want to do is to start working on the battery while it's already connected! This is a very hazardous situation and can cost you your life!

Therefore, you want to start disconnecting the battery by first removing the black cable and then removing the red one. However, by not doing this process in order, you risk your life and introduce unnecessary complications.

4-      Spray the product

Once the battery is disconnected, you can use your product. First, it sprayed directly to the areas affected by corrosion and later said for some time. You should find detailed instructions on the spray bottle itself regarding how long you should leave the spray on the battery so you get the most effective results.

Some products might be very fast and work immediately, while others might need time. Also, this depends on the severity of the corrosion on the battery because if you have a lot of corrosion and you've never cleaned the battery before, it might take you a little bit more time than someone else who's working with the battery that doesn't have a lot of corrosion.

5-      Scrub the area

After loading this place setting for some time, you need to use a specific tool to scrub the area while carefully avoiding having any of the products going to your skin or your face. But, again, depending on the severity of this corrosion, the time for cleaning and getting the fast best results might vary.

6-      Connect and test the battery

Once you're done cleaning and allowing your battery to dry out so you don't have any residual spray, the next step is to give it a test.

Reconnect the battery by starting with the black line and then connecting the red one. Once the battery is completely connected, give it a test drive. If you feel the vehicle still has problems, you might need to take a second look and see if you've cleaned it properly. Otherwise, you might need to consult your mechanic and see what's going on other than the corrosion on the battery.

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How to clean a car battery corrosion? Method #2: Use baking soda and water

If you don't want to use this specific cleaner to clean your car battery, you can simply use some household items available at any house. Using a combination of baking soda and water can be very effective for cleaning car batteries at some level.

However, suppose the corrosion is very severe, and there are some breakages around the lines of the battery terminals and the cables. In that case, you might not want to touch the vehicle because there is a very high risk of getting electric trucks and other complications, you're not ready for.

Let's take a closer look at a step-by-step process on how to clean a car battery corrosion using baking soda and water:

1-      Choose your area, prepare your tools, and disconnect the battery

Following the same instructions from the first method, you need to choose the area and collect the required tools along with disconnecting the battery, as we showed you before.

2-      Apply the baking soda

Once you are already and the battery is ready for the cleanup, the next step is to apply the baking soda to the affected area. The baking soda is dry, and it will sit immediately on these impacted areas.

Baking soda is extremely effective for neutralizing the battery assets and removing the corrosion on the top of the battery terminals and the surface.

3-      Add your water

Once the baking soda is corrosion, the next step is to slightly add small amounts of water at a time. Then, allow the water to activate with the baking soda and start getting rid of the corrosion through the chemical reaction.

Let your mixer sit

Depending on the severity of the corrosion, you might need to lift the water and baking soda mixture and sit for some time until the chemical and action get rid of all the corrosion, if not most of it.

4-      Use a paper towel

Finally, you must clean and dry the area using a paper towel. Sometimes there might be some tough corrosion in certain areas around the battery. In that case, you might need to use a wire brush and scrub the area, so you don't have any residual corrosion on the battery.

5-      Reconnect the battery and test drive

Finally, once the battery is dried, you can reconnect it to the vehicle. Then, give the car a test drive and see whether the battery behavior is improving.

As we highlighted before, if your vehicle's battery suffers many problems, it could end its lifetime. Therefore, cleaning it might not be the most successful way of having the battery work again.

Therefore, check with your local mechanic to see if you need to install a new battery and understand how much it will cost you for this replacement before moving forward with the repairs.

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Car battery corrosion causes

One might wonder, what are the main causes of this car battery corrosion and why it has this hard time trying to clean it up? There are many reasons for why you start seeing corrosion on top of your car battery, including:

1-      Escaping corrosive gas

The first and most common cause of car battery corrosion is the escaping of corrosive gases. A lot of gases are inside the battery; through the terminals, they can escape and cause corrosion to show up on the top of the vehicle's battery.

Unfortunately, there is no clear understanding of when to expect these gases to escape because as the car battery terminals age, they become less effective in controlling the gases and keeping them inside the battery.

2-      Refillable batteries

Some vehicles are equipped with certain refillable batteries where you must use distilled water to refill the battery. Unfortunately, in this process, many things could go wrong. For example, some of the components you use to fill the battery might cause leaks and result in corrosion around the battery terminals and different components.

3-      Tiny vents

Even with higher quality car batteries, some smaller events around the battery allow some corrosive gases like sulfuric gas to escape and build some corrosion around the battery itself.

4-      Heat due to overcharging

Or charging the battery might result in excessive heat, which could cause some corrosive gases to escape and start building corrosion around the car battery body. Therefore, you must understand how much you need to charge the battery, when it's critical to stop the charge, and what exactly you need to do to maintain the battery.

5-      End of the battery lifetime

Finally, just a natural process of an aging battery, you'll see some corrosion on the top of the battery terminals. In that case, your only want solution would be to replace the battery and buy a better one.

Typically, car batteries are expected to fail somewhere between three and seven years, depending on the quality of the battery and the environmental conditions of this battery.

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Final thoughts

Your vehicle's battery is very critical, and without or working battery, you won't be able to start the car and get going through your daily errands.

Since the battery fails over time, you will see some corrosion building up around the battery and the battery terminals. Cleaning this corrosion helps you extend the lifetime of the battery and enjoy it for a little bit more time before needing a new one.

This article provided two different approaches to cleaning car battery corrosion. The first approach relies on using a specific cleaner and the second relies on using a mixture of baking soda and water.

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