Close up of corrosion on a car battery terminal

What is the Flaky Substance on My Car Battery?

How to Clean Corrosion Off Car Battery Terminals

Whether you open your hood to perform regular maintenance or check up on components, take a look at your battery. Do you notice a white or blue flaky substance on your car battery? This substance, called corrosion, forms over time and can block the flow of electricity. While a little may not affect how your car functions, a lot can some headaches down the line. Here’s how you can clean corrosion off car battery terminals safely.

Step by Step Guide on Removing Corrosion from a Car Battery

Mechanic replacing a car battery
  1. Power off the vehicle – For your safety, never leave the car running while cleaning the battery.
  2. Disconnect the battery with the negative terminal first – with a wrench, you will need to carefully disconnect the battery. Start with the negative terminal and never allow the wrench to come into contact with either terminal. Remove the cable after it is loosened. Then, do the same for the positive terminal.
  3. Inspect the battery for cracks or tears – Even with a good cleaning, a battery may not work properly if it is damaged. Inspect the battery and its cables for any cracks or tears that could cause it to not work properly. Get any damaged components replaced.
  4. Make a cleaning solution and scrub – mix a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of hot water and stir until completely dissolved. You can scrub the terminals with an old toothbrush or, if the corrosion is hard to remove, a battery terminal cleaner brush.
  5. Completely dry the battery – water and electricity don’t mix well, but chances are, you already knew that. Make sure the battery is completely dry before you start the reconnection process.
  6. Reconnect the battery with the positive terminal first – this step is opposite of step 2. When reconnecting a car battery, you should always start with the positive terminal. Like before, be very careful with where your wrench moves.
  7. Make sure the battery works – To confirm that you reconnected it properly and the battery is still good to use, you will need to test it by starting up your vehicle. If your vehicle starts up fine, you should be good to go. However, if you haven’t replaced it in awhile, get it tested so you have a rough estimate on when you should buy a new one.

If you feel uncomfortable with disconnecting and reconnecting the battery, have your local mechanic take care of the job for you.

[ READ MORE: Why is My Car Leaking Oil? ]

For more tips and tricks like this, browse the Broadway Credit blog! If you are in need of a vehicle that is both affordable and of high quality, contact us and we will help you find the right car for your budget and needs.