Tips To Clean and Extend Your Car Battery

Posted by: Lilly Kenyon Sep 11, 2019
Updated Jan 16, 2020

1 comment

how to clean a bar battery

Cars depend on a lot of components to work smoothly and it is important to take care of your individual car parts in order for your car to function properly. One of the simplest and easiest to maintain yet vitally important components is the battery. 

Cleaning your car battery regularly means you can continue using your car whether you’re getting around town, road tripping, or relying on your car as a rideshare driver. Not only does keeping the car battery clean help keep your car running, it extends the life of the battery, which saves you money. It’s not the most expensive part in your car, but a dead battery can put a damper on your budget.

Car batteries have two terminals. It’s important to keep these clean. They can get dirty from basic everyday usage in cities to country roads. The build up will eventually cause the battery to wear out. Corrosion also puts car batteries in jeopardy. You can tell there’s corrosion on your battery by looking at the terminals; if they are covered in a white substance, there is corrosion affecting your battery. You don’t have to clean your battery every month, but you can check it every few months. If you see buildup, signs of corrosion, or it is emitting a funky smell, it’s time for a clean up.

There are a few ways to clean your battery. Before digging in, it’s important to open your owner’s manual to make sure there are no special instructions. You can clean with household items or professional supplies. 

For the household direction:

1. Grab an old toothbrush, a wrench, water, baking soda, a rag, and vaseline. 

2. Using the wrench, disconnect the negative side first. 

3. Loosen the positive side. 

4. Look over the battery for signs of leakage. If there is too much damage, it will need replacing.

5. Cover the terminals and surrounding areas with baking soda.

6. Using the wet toothbrush, scrub the terminals until debris is removed. Wet the brush as needed. 

7. Pour water over terminals to clear baking soda and debris. 

8. Dry with a dry rag. 

9. Repeat these steps on the clamps. 

10. Cover the terminals with vaseline. 

11. Re-secure the positive side. 

12. Re-secure the negative side. 

To use professional supplies:

1. Grab a wrench, battery terminal cleaner, battery terminal protector, dry rag, wire brush, spray bottle filled with water. You can find these items at most automotive stores at superstores. 

2. Remove the battery cables from the terminals as mentioned in the above directions. Negative always before the positive side. 

3. Spray the terminals and the clamps with the cleaner. Let it soak for the amount of time specified on the bottle. 

4. Using the wire brush, scrub the terminals, clamps, and surrounding area until the debris is gone. 

5. Spray the terminals and clamps with water to clear away the cleaner and the debris. 

6. Dry completely with rag. 

7. Coat the terminals with a thin layer of protector as directed. 

8. Re-secure the positive side. 

9. Re-secure the negative side.

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    12 Rider Driver
     4 years ago

    I haven't needed to do this for 38 years, but when I lived in San Francisco, it was needed every other month. I had only one step:

    Before going to bed, I'd grab a can of coke and pop my hood. I'd pour the coke over each post making sure to cover the crud built up around them.

    The next morning, my battery was squeaky clean. After doing this every other month for the year I lived there, I quit drinking coke. :-)