Before you can learn how to clean battery corrosion, it is important to know what causes it. Corrosion is the result of hydrogen gas vapor and sulfuric acid. The vapors escape from the battery forming corrosion around posts. While batteries do have built-in vents to allow the vapors to release, sometimes they leak out around the posts. The escaped vapors then mix with other gases, heat, and chemical compositions to create corrosion.
Battery Cleaners Make a Big Difference
Usually, it is the fluctuating temperatures that allow for the severity of corrosion, but when a battery is under a seat or in the car trunk, it rarely experiences corrosion. The different locations protect the battery from damage. Still, corrosion is a problem for many vehicle owners, so learning how to clean a battery for Jeep Cherokee or other vehicles is necessary.
While you can always take your car to a mechanic and have them do the cleaning for you, some would rather attempt DIY cleaning first. Battery cleaners can make quick work of corrosion. That said, before attempting any cleaning, inspect the battery and its connections for signs of leaking. Wear protective gloves and ensure your skin does not come into contact with any leaking battery acid.
If the battery is not leaking, you can use the cleaners as directed. You will want to have old rags and brushes on hand to make the process easier.
Battery Terminal Brushes
To clean the battery terminals, purchasing a battery terminal brush or brushes is best. The brushes are typically encased in a steel housing with stainless steel bristles. The tough bristles prevent flattening and ensure long-term use. You can use wire brushes when cleaning the terminals for a battery for Honda Odyssey or another vehicle, but having a terminal brush is usually more efficient.
DIY Battery Cleaning Solutions
Try a baking soda mixture if you do not want to buy a battery-cleaning solution. Mix one cup of water with a single tablespoon of baking soda. The solution can help with mild corrosion, but more severe cases will likely need a commercial cleaning solution. You can talk to an auto service professional to learn more about battery cleaning and tools.
Depending on the severity of the terminal, you may need to replace it completely. To inspect the terminals, scrub away all the corrosion and then use WD40 to penetrate the bolts and help to loosen them. Remove the terminals and clean them thoroughly. If necessary, you can replace the terminals and terminal ends — there are kits available.
You can prevent damage and protect your battery against corrosion by using felt washers and grease. The washers are often chemically treated to absorb corrosive gases and chemicals. The protective grease is a silicone grease and lasts longer when exposed to under-the-hood temperatures.
Battery corrosion can result from battery acid, gases, other materials, and temperature shifts under the hood. Corrosion is not the end of the world and can be cleaned with the right products and tools. Contact a local auto parts store to learn more.