Chances are if your car isn’t starting it can often be because of a dead battery or dirty battery terminals. Generally you should be able to tell quickly which one it is by popping the hood and taking a quick look. If its dirty terminals you should see a decent amount of corrosion built up. The corrosion of battery terminals occurs when the car is not used regularly. When a car is not used for a long time, the battery terminals have the tendency to oxidize rapidly. Therefore, it is rather important that one keeps an eye out for corrosion of the battery terminals. If you notice the terminals having white and ashy deposits, you should understand that your battery has developed corrosion, and thus you need to do something about it.
Commencing with the process of cleaning
If your battery does become greasy, it does not imply that you need to discard it. Instead, you have the option of cleaning the battery terminals. This is not something that many are aware of.
The things required
There are quite a few things that you will need, most of which can be purchased online with a lot of ease (or at any store with an auto department). Some tools you can use are a terminal cleaner which generally comes in aerosol can for 5-8 bucks. Or some hose hold items. Which one you need to use is something that depends on what you are comfortable with. The house hold items you would need are a toothbrush, some baking soda and water, a clean and lint free piece of cloth, a wrench, grease, and locking pliers.
What should be done?
Start off by removing the battery cables from the terminals which is done by loosening the nut on each side of the clamp. You ought to remove the clamp from the negative terminal first. On the other hand, when you replace the cable, you will need to clamp in the positive one first. There is a chance that the cable does not come off with ease. In such a scenario, you will need to wiggle it and then lift it upward till the point that the clamp comes off. Locking pliers come in handy if there is a lot of corrosion.
Make sure that you conduct a thorough examination of the battery cables and clamps for corrosion. If you think that the damage is extensive, it is advisable to replace the cables and clamps so as to insure that you do not encounter more problems. Similarly, the battery case and terminals should also be checked for potential damages and replaced if required.
If you use the store bought terminal cleaner is pretty easy, spray the terminals and follow the instructions on the can to clean it up. Else with the household items method you will need to pour the baking soda on the posts. Next, use a toothbrush to scrub the baking soda at the terminal posts and cable clamps after dipping it in water. During this process, it is advisable that you take measures to protect your skin and eyes. If the toothbrush fails to bring your desired results, you can use a battery terminal cleaner brush (3-4 bucks at an auto store). Make sure that you clean the inside of the cable clamps as well. You can make use of a clamp cleaner or a wood pad for the purpose.
One the cleaning is done, insure that everything is dried off thoroughly by means of a dry piece of cloth. You will then have to smear grease on the posts which would serve to delay the formation of corrosive deposits in the future. All the exposed metal surfaces should then be covered and the clamps replaced. A wrench can be used for tightening the clamps.