Keeping That Battery Clean
When it's time to clean off that corrosion on your battery terminals, a little water and baking soda makes everything look clean and you are done, right?
Actually, you are just getting started. There is more to do besides just the cosmetic part. To begin with if there is corrosion on the outside of the terminal, it has probably accumulated between the cable clamp and the terminal. To clean this, the cables need to be removed from the battery and both the clamps and terminals need to be wire brushed until shiny. Don't breathe the dust, It is very corrosive.
Note: disconnecting the battery may cause you to lose your radio presets and possibly cause the vehicle to run different for a little while as the computer relearns. Acid residue or a build up of dirt on the battery case can cause a small electrical discharge and weaken the battery, so it should be cleaned off also. It's a good idea to remove the battery and clean the battery tray, as acid running down it can cause it to eventually rust out.
If it's a top post battery install battery protectant pads on the terminals below the battery cables. This will help prevent gases from getting back to the terminals. A little battery protectant spray on the terminals is a good idea also.
Battery corrosion is the main cause of cable failure and will in time completely eat through the battery cable clamps used on the newer cars and should be attended to as soon as it's noticeable. Some of these cables can be more than $500, so maintenance can really save money as well as prevent a breakdown.
Make sure the battery hold-down is installed properly. Not only does it keep the battery safer in accidents, it makes the battery last longer by keeping vibration down which is very hard on the battery plates.
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