How to Clean a Car Battery

Believe it or not, car batteries need cleaning once in a while. Although it may be hard to tell when a car battery is clean, it still needs to be cleaned. The reason you have to bother is that gunk (yes, that’s a technical term) blocks off the connections that the battery has with the rest of the car. If your battery has enough gunk on it, then it’s the same as having no battery in the car at all. It’s best to do this chore about every six months.

However, if you cannot figure out how to open up your car’s hood or recognize where the battery is, then sell the car and take public transportation. You’ll be doing yourself and the general public a great favor.

The Coke Method

After doing this, you will never look at a can of Coke in the same way. Some auto mechanics prefer to use Coke because they say Pepsi has too much sugar in it. Some other auto mechanics say there is no difference. Take your pick. Put the reason we are using Coke to clean the car battery is that it will effectively dissolve the gunk. The gunk may look light grey, like ash. That’s corrosion and it’s not good.

First off, make sure the car engine is cold. If it’s hot, you can get a nasty burn. Look at the terminals, which had the plus and minus signs on them when the battery was new. Disconnect the cable (usually black) going to the minus sign. Use a wrench. Giving a couple of light taps with a small hammer can also help to loosen the terminal. Now disconnect the white cable leading to the plus sign.

You can just pour the Coke directly onto the battery’s terminals. Then take the toothbrush of someone you hate and use it to scrub the gunk off of the terminals. Reconnect the cables and cross your fingers.

The Baking Soda Method

This follows the same steps as with the Coke method, only baking soda and a cup of water is used, instead. Sprinkle the dry baking soda onto the dirty battery terminals. Dip the toothbrush into the water and then begin to scrub. The baking soda will turn into a paste and be far more effective than just trying to scrub it dry. Also, baking soda will not harm the environment.

The Coffee Method

This is the same as the Coke method, only hot coffee is used. It has to be hot in order to help remove the gunk. Be careful not to burn yourself.

Betsy Cline

Betsy Cline has been a professional house cleaner for 15 years and also a mother of 4 amazing kids (who make lots of messes). She is the founder of How to Clean It and loves to share tips and advice for cleaning up anything life throws at you.

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