Should I clean car battery terminals? and if so how?

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blueman wrote:

By a battery post cleaner at your local auto parts store for a couple of bucks. Spend an additional dollar and get a pair of the washers to put underneath the connectors, to inhibit future corrosion.
Jon
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Loosen and remove the cables, wet the battery (water hose) and then apply baking soda. Scrub gingerly with a tooth brush or such.
Clean the terminals and the cable ends, apply some grease and then tighten the cables back on. Rise all the acid below the battery, rinsing any acid under the battery and off the metal frame, etc.
In the olden days a copper penny was placed on top of a car battery. The copper attracted the "crud". Back then you could just change the penny out. Seriously!
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So why can't we do that now?
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Yea clean them good, dont forget the inside of the cable terminal, I used to clean mine every few years they corroded so bad, then I wore down the terminals so they would not tighten, and my car would not start often, I had to make shims, so dont over clean and wear them down like I did. You also need to clean the battery casing real well with soap and baking soda, a battery self drains from dirt on the casing. On my newer car mine dont corrode, they have spraayed a coating to keep the terminals sealed and i have a battery cover to keep off dirt. Corrosion may be in part from a bad connection, maybe grease works as well as a spray sealer I dont really know but get rid of it, seal the terminals and keep it clean. www.batteryuniversity.com has good charge and technical data.
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Yes, I think it's a good idea to clean. I've seen top post and side post terminals. Most cars, the red / positive is the "hot" terminal. So, it's common advice to remove the black terminal first. Less likely to throw sparks when your wrench bumps some other metal. As to cleaning, a wire brush is the common way. Rinse with water, let it dry or dab it dry with the paper napkins you get from the drive up food place. Put a bunch of axle grease on, and put the terminals back on (red first, black second). Now, rest your radio clock and station presets.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 08:14:24 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

And sometimes the car won't run as well for a while after disconnecting the battery. For me, that's about 5 seconds, but the manual makes it sound like it could take an hour to get back to normal.

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wrote:

And sometimes the car won't run as well for a while after disconnecting the battery.
Not many people center post.
For me, that's about 5 seconds, but the manual makes it sound like it could take an hour to get back to normal.

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mm wrote:

the computer can lose it's settings for engine control, and goes back to the default. on some cars, it could take driving around for 10-20 miles before it's running the way it was after losing power.

regards, charlie
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My husband has a gizmo that looks like a giant thimble. Inside are wire brushes. The thimble goes on top of the terminal and all you have to do is spin it around while the brushes do the work.
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wrote:

Yeah, that's called a battery post brush. It usually or often comes with a battery terminal brush (which is sort of the opposite of what you describe) as part of it, but not always.
It's also good if you are a giant and need to do some sewing.
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I remember seeing a short/small brush, so that could be part of the set. I wonder if a giant doing sewing would get stabbed. LOL.
Years ago, my first car was a VW beetle. It would never start and I had to keep push starting it. Well, duh, it was the dirty battery post. I never thought of it cuz I was a young kid and the battery was under the rear seat.
My BF and I drove from Buffalo to Newark, NJ while it was on the fritz. I had a big decal on the side of the car that said 'Cuda. I thought that was so funny. I had the rear bumper tied up with clothesline, up at the rear vents.
We saw the Statue of Liberty from NJ in a real bad section of the city. It was near docks, i think. We didn't want to turn off the car. Geesh, we were lucky to get out of there, alive. Everyone was staring at us. og!
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The fastest/easiest way is not the best. Any soda pop can be drizzled on there, and it will cause some of the corrosion to be dissolved. But it does not get down into the terminals.
To clean terminals, you need a battery brush.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
You must remove the terminals, and you must use two wrenches, one on each end of the bolt to keep from cracking off the whole terminal. Also, if it is severely corroded, you might break off the bolt. Once the cable is off, it can be cleaned with a battery brush until it is shiny. Special grease can be put on the terminals to keep corrosion down. Treated felt pads can then be put on the terminals before reinstalling the cables.
If you have green corrosion on your terminals, you are not far away from hearing the click click rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Pouring Coca Cola on there might buy you a little time, but they need to be cleaned RIGHT.
Steve
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If the battery is 3-4 years old, andfails after the lights are on for an hour, that is a warning that you should get to your local Walmart and buy a replacement battery!!!!!
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And be very sure to remove the ground terminal (black wire) first! If you work on the positive terminal first, you run the risk of shorting out if the wrench which is in contact with the terminal hits the engine block or body or some other grounded piece of metal.
Paul
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I've done that. Big spark.
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Sure is. It will keep building up until it literally severs the battery cables and destroys the hold-down clamp..

Replace the battery, quickly.
That corrosion happens because the battery-to-post seal is broken, either through age or (far more common) mishandling. You can clean it off and even install those neutralizing-felt washers, but it /will/ come back again.
Clean off the existing corrosion on the cables using a thick paste of baking soda and water. Do this before installing the new battery. And when you tighten the cables onto the new battery, be GENTLE. The terminals only need to be tight enough that you can't rotate them by hand AND NO MORE. Counter your tightening force with opposite force applied to the other side from the tightening nut.
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Tegger


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Yes. Use a wire brush. Cover the vent holes and cover the entire battery case and terminals with a baking soda paste using a toothbrush. Rinse. Cover both terminals with a thin layer of Vaseline. Repeat yearly. Check the water level and make sure the terminal clamps are tight.
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