Cleaning your battery connections, especially if the terminals are corroded, will help ensure the battery lasts longer and performs well. Corrosion shows up in the form of a crusty, fuzzy-looking substance that leaves a mess on your car battery terminals and cable ends. If enough corrosion forms between the cable ends and the terminals, it can actually prevent the battery’s power from flowing from the battery through the cables.
Corrosion forms on the terminal for two main reasons:
The terminal and the cable end are different types of metal
The battery is off-gassing hydrogen in the charging process
Stiff-bristled brush or wire brush
Step 1: Sprinkle baking soda over both battery terminals. Use enough for the powder to coat the terminal with a little around the terminal as well.
Step 2: Pour a couple tablespoons of water on each terminal. The baking soda will react by bubbling up quite ferociously for a couple seconds.
The reaction between the baking soda and water mixture and the acidic corrosion on the battery terminals will neutralize the acid, making it safe to handle.
Step 3: Repeat on the cable ends. Perform the same procedure for the battery cable ends.
You may prefer to perform this step in a small tub or just on top of the battery.
Step 4: Scrub the terminals. Immediately after neutralizing the corrosion, scrub the corrosion off with a stiff brush.
A wire brush is ideal but an old toothbrush will also do in a pinch.
Scrub all around the battery terminal as well as the cable end inside and out.
Step 5: Rinse with water. When all the corrosion is removed, rinse the battery and the cable ends thoroughly with clean water.
Step 6: Let the battery dry completely. You can blow it off with compressed air if you’d like.