If you’ve popped your hood and taken a close look at your car’s sealed lead acid battery lately, chances are you’ve noticed a build-up (unless your battery is new) of corrosion caused by acid condensation. The crusty-looking whitish or greenish appearance is actually easy to clean, and most likely you already have everything you need. But while it is easy enough to accomplish, you’ll need to make sure you keep safety protocols in mind so that you don’t hurt yourself—or your car—in the process.
While some batteries may be so corroded that they require disconnection of the cable clamps or terminals, we’re not recommending that and instead talking about general maintenance and cleaning that you can do while keeping your car’s battery still in place. A severely corroded battery may require additional maintenance and cleaning beyond what we are discussing here today.
- Safety goggles/protective glasses
- Box of baking soda
- An old toothbrush or similar bristled brush
- Cleaning rags or sponges
- Ordinary household cleaner such as 409 in a spray bottle
- Small scraper
- Bucket of water (or proximity to clean water supply such as from a garden hose)
- Gloves to protect your hands
Before getting started, don your safety glasses and gloves to keep safe from any sulfuric acid. Be aware that the build-up can also harm your car’s paint, so make sure you don’t get it on your car’s exterior.
First, simply scrape off the corrosion build-up with a scraper or a brush. Next, mix a solution of basing soda with water with an approximate ratio of one tablespoon baking soda to one pint of water and then apply it to the outside of the battery and its cable connections. A small baster, funnel, or even a small measuring cup with a spout can work just fine.
Scrape and brush any corrosion from the exterior battery and connections with the mixture, and once accomplished, rinse the area with water. Then, use your household cleaner to get rid of any grease or dirt that may still remain. Once clean, dry off the battery and parts with a towel or sponge.
Sealed lead acid batteries often used with marine, golf carts, wheelchair, and powersport applications such as motorcycles ATVs and snowmobiles typically do not need to be cleaned as they do not vent and are maintenance free. Automobiles can also use these corrosion free AGM (absorbed glass mat) style batteries. They often last 2-3 times longer and save you time and money in the long run.
At Impact Battery, we carry a wide array of batteries to meet your battery needs. Our customer service representatives can also help answer questions about your battery and assist you with a purchase when it is time to consider a replacement. We also offer free ground shipping on orders over $50.