The battery is a crucial part of your car's electrical system, and if it lacks power or dies, the vehicle will not run. No one wants to deal with battery corrosion, but as it builds up and spreads throughout the car's electrical system, you may have no choice.
While most people know that corrosion on the connections can cause problems with the electrical system, they may not know how to remove it safely.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about removing corrosion from batteries so that you can keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Table of Contents
- Corrosion and its Causes in the Battery
- Ways to Safely Get Rid of Battery Corrosion
- Is it safe to use a battery cleaner instead of water and baking soda mixture?
- How long will it take to remove battery corrosion?
- What happens if I accidentally touch the terminals with my bare hands?
- Can I use an old toothbrush instead of a wire brush?
- Can I use muriatic acid or bleach instead?
- What if the battery won't start after the cleaning has been done?
Corrosion and its Causes in the Battery
Corrosion is the process by which certain materials deteriorate or dissolve in reaction with their environment.
In the battery's case, corrosion is caused by leaking or from electrolysis. One common problem with older batteries and it can be caused by environmental factors like road salting in winter weather, which causes oxidation to occur.
Corrosion will cause electrical resistance that prevents current flow through your car's electric system. As corrosion spreads throughout the connections of the battery, the electrical system will fail.
This is why you need to remove corrosion from your battery as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to a dead car battery and an expensive visit from roadside assistance or even a tow truck driver.
The causes of corrosion are not always easy to identify, but there are ways that you can tell if it's occurring. Signs include corrosion bubbles on the battery posts or terminals and black spots appearing inside your engine compartment.
Ways to Safely Get Rid of Battery Corrosion
Getting rid of battery corrosion is a common problem for car owners. When you suspect corrosion in the battery terminals, it might be time to think about taking action.
Corrosion can lead to much more severe issues down the line, like electrical malfunctions in your vehicle. Here are some guides to safely remove the battery corrosion so that your car is safe and running smoothly again.
1.Prepare all the necessary tools you will need.
For safety purposes, it is always essential to wear gloves and protective eyewear. Make sure you have a wire brush, rags, clean water, and a baking soda on hand to deal with corrosion in the terminals.
2.Removing the battery terminals
Before removing the battery, make sure that your vehicle is parked somewhere that is well-ventilated. You could also do this work outside, but make sure that the battery is not in contact with any metal or other parts of your car's electrical system.
Once you have found a suitable place to park, turn off all power inside your vehicle and disconnect the negative cable from the terminal. Then remove the positive cable as well for safety.
Once you have removed the terminals from both ends of the battery, keep the tools away to prevent possible shock before moving on to the following procedure.
3.Getting rid of the battery corrosion
It is time for some cleaning.
To proceed, prepare a mixture of water and baking soda, mixing the two in a container of any size. About a teaspoon of baking soda per liter of water should be fine; the idea is to create a strong enough solution that will help remove the corrosion.
Next, carefully pour the mixture onto the battery posts and terminals. Using the wire brush, scrub off all visible corrosion from both terminals and posts on top of the battery. If you are unsure if there is still some electrical resistance left causing more corrosion, go back over it with a fresh mixture until no bubbles form when you do so.
After brushing, your battery should look almost new. Your baking soda and water solution will dissolve the corrosion. If there is still some leftover sludge on those terminals, pour more of that mixture over them to scrub away any bits you can get until you get a clean terminal.
As a reminder, please do not use bleach, muriatic acid, or any other corrosive substances, as they will likely harm your car's electrical system. The baking soda mixture is enough to remove corrosion from most batteries in under 20 minutes of cleaning time.
After you are confident that your terminals and posts no longer have any corrosion, it is time to replace the battery cables with new ones. When replacing them, be sure not to mix up positive and negative ends as this could cause an electrical short, which would create more problems in the future.
4.Reconnect the battery
Use a clean cloth to wipe the terminals and posts down while you have them disconnected from your car.
Then, reconnect both battery cables to their respective terminals by connecting first the positive cable before the negative. Tighten them with a wrench or pliers for safety purposes.
Before you close up your engine compartment, make sure to clean off any baking soda residue that might have gotten onto other parts of your car's body or in contact with any metal items.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to use a battery cleaner instead of water and baking soda mixture?
Although a battery cleaner might seem like it will do the job, it can harm your car's electrical system. Some cleaners have chemicals that dissolve metallic particles, which could cause even more corrosion than before.
If you wish for a safe procedure, it is suggested to use the baking soda and water mixture.
How long will it take to remove battery corrosion?
The water and baking soda mixture should only take twenty minutes to clean the terminal posts, but if you need more scrubbing time or a stronger solution (like for heavy-duty batteries), then it might take longer than that.
What happens if I accidentally touch the terminals with my bare hands?
If you have accidental contact with your car's battery, then make sure that you wash your skin thoroughly and immediately remove any metal jewelry, watches, or other things that could cause a shock. Touching both posts at the same time is a sure way to get an electric shock.
Can I use an old toothbrush instead of a wire brush?
The goal of using a wire brush is to remove any corrosion and sludge from around the terminals, posts, or battery case so that it doesn't get into your car's electrical system. An old toothbrush is the last resort, but it might not be as effective as a wire brush.
Can I use muriatic acid or bleach instead?
Muriatic acid or bleach are not recommended for removing battery corrosion. These corrosive substances are likely to cause more harm than good, so it is best not to use them at all in case of contact with your car's electrical system.
What if the battery won't start after the cleaning has been done?
If the battery does not start after the cleaning, then it might be time to replace it. Corrosion can sometimes lead to a loss of performance, and you will need a new battery if the corrosion is severe enough for your car not to start at all.
Battery corrosion is a problem that can be solved with the proper knowledge and materials. The baking soda mixture works best because it is gentle on your car's electrical system but still strong enough to remove any stubborn corrosion from around the terminals, posts, or battery case.