Car battery – How you can safely check and clean it


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Checking and cleaning your car battery requires some safety tips to avoid getting shocked or damaging the battery beyond fixing. Read here to find out how.

Paying attention to your car battery is a reliable medicine for better engine performance and durable battery. Just like most parts in your car, car battery is subject to periodical wear and drop in its efficiency. That is why it is so important to always check your car battery to increase its lifespan. Here on Naijauto, you will get to know how you can be safe while checking and cleaning your car battery at the same time.

1. Safety measures when checking/ cleaning car battery

  • Do not smoke when working on car battery

Never must you hold a cigar in between your lips when working on a car battery. This is because a car battery contains high deposit of sulphuric acid that is very much used to generate hydrogen gas. That is why you will need to wash your cloth or any part of your body that comes in contact with the deposit of acid.

  • Power off the car engine

For your safety, before you work on the battery, you need to remove any form of connection from the car battery and be sure that the engine is powered off. For modern car which the ignition system, fuel system, automatic transmission and engine are controlled by a computerized device, you should be wary of destroying the computer by sending harmful voltage into it.


Make sure you power off the engine before you remove or replace your car battery

  • Remove negative cable from the battery

If you plan on working under the engine hood especially wiring, you need to remove the negative cable in order to avoid getting shocked or damaging the electrical components. Also when you are attempting to replace the battery cables, make sure you start by removing the negative clamp and when you are about to replace it, end with the negative clamp. This is because it will be catastrophic if you start with positive cable and you mistakenly touch anything metallic.

  • Protect the terminal posts from metal

When working on a battery, you need to make sure you have connected the cables back. This is because the battery might get damaged if anything metallic touches the terminal post.

2. Steps to check the car battery

  • Step one

You will need to clean off any residue or deposit of powder on the negative and positive terminals. When you want to clean the deposits that are made up of battery acid, you will need to detach the cables from both terminals, starting with the negative cable. When you have successfully removed the cables from the terminals, you will need to sprinkle the terminals using baking soda and disposable brush to clean off the deposits from the battery terminal posts.

Note: if by any chance the baking soda could not completely clean off the deposits on the cable and terminals, you will need to find and rotate a cheap terminal brush to polish each terminal so that electrical connection will be possible. It is also important you clean the inner part of the cable clamp using a designated clamp cleaner or a non-soap steel wool pad.


It is advisable you replace a corroded battery terminal 

  • Step two

You will need to get a clean rag to dry all the parts you have washed. For your safety, do not allow your body to come in contact with anything residue from the battery.

  • Step three

This is the time you will have to connect the cables back to the terminals. You should do this by starting with the positive clamp. After which you have to apply petroleum jelly or grease to the terminals to prevent it the re-occurrence of corrosive residue.

  • Step four

You will need to check the battery cables for any form of corrosion. When you notice extensiveness in the damage, you may need to replace the cable or clamp. Since any short circuit could have a serious negative effective on the onboard computer. At this point, you might probably need the attention of an expert to help you check it out and fix it right away.

How to safely replace a car battery

  • Step five

Whether the battery is working or not, if you discover any damage or crack on the battery terminals, it is best you replace the battery.

>>> If you found this post helpful, then you should check out our other useful car maintenance tips and advice.

Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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