How to Control Build-Up on an Auto Battery

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Automobile batteries serve as the foundation of an automotive electrical system. Batteries provide the electrical power to start the engine, provide emergency power in the event of alternator failure and serve as an electrical grounding point for the vehicle chassis. Therefore, it is important to keep the electrical connections to a battery clean and without oxide buildup.

Things You'll Need

  • One tablespoon of baking soda
  • Two cups
  • Sixteen fluid ounces of water
  • Old toothbrush
  • One pair of slip-joint pliers
  • One adjustable wrench
  • Paper towels
  • Petroleum jelly

Oxide Removal

  • Place baking soda into a cup, and add eight ounces of water. Stir the mixture with an old toothbrush. Pour half of this mixture on the positive terminal on the battery. Pour the other half of the mixture on the negative battery terminal. Brush the connections for approximately ten seconds each.

  • Brush the connections for approximately ten seconds each using the old toothbrush.

  • Hold the positive battery terminal retaining bolt with the slip-joint pliers. Loosen the positive terminal retaining nut with the adjustable wrench. Repeat this step for the negative battery terminal.

  • Brush both battery posts with the toothbrush, and wipe clean with a paper towel. Rinse the battery terminal connectors, and wipe the terminal connectors dry with a paper towel.

Oxide Buildup Prevention

  • Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to both battery posts. Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the exposed metal surfaces on the battery terminal connectors and battery cable.

  • Reinstall the positive battery terminal to the positive battery post, and tighten so that the battery terminal is snug.

  • Reinstall the negative battery terminal to the negative battery post, and tighten the retaining nut.

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