Clean those battery terminals!

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A friendly reminder to clean your battery terminals as you're poking around under the hood this spring. Some baking soda paste mixed 3 parts soda to 1 part water (or a can of cola) will take care of the acid buildup nicely. Be sure to rinse well! And you can apply some dielectric grease to slow further corrosion while you're in there.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
After you clean them up, get some of those felt pads under the cables and you won't have the problem again! At least in my experience.
+1 What's in those pads?
 
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Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great on battery terminals too; and it is cheaper than terminal grease. Correct me if I am wrong, but dielectric grease is not what want on the batter terminals, since it impedes the current flow. It is used to insulate the connectors, like spark plug boots. You want actual battery terminal grease, or petroleum jelly---same thing.
 
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 Originally Posted By: XS650
 Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
After you clean them up, get some of those felt pads under the cables and you won't have the problem again! At least in my experience.
+1 What's in those pads?
Felt?
 
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those red and green felt pads are nice, but it didn't help in my dad's 03 Sentra 1.8L XE. there's an anti-corrosion spray that I got from walmart that leaves a red residue on the terminals. 3 months later, no corrosion.
 

jaj

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 Originally Posted By: Ursae_Majoris
Vaseline/petroleum jelly works great on battery terminals too; and it is cheaper than terminal grease. Correct me if I am wrong, but dielectric grease is not what want on the batter terminals, since it impedes the current flow. It is used to insulate the connectors, like spark plug boots. You want actual battery terminal grease, or petroleum jelly---same thing.
I've kept battery terminals clean and corrosion-free with Vaseline since the 70's. It works just fine. Technically, anything that doesn't conduct electricity is a "dielectric", so Vaseline or any of the spray on products (WD-40 for instance) are "dielectrics". What's important for this application is the "grease" part of "dielectric grease" - it keeps moisture and sulfuric acid fumes from the battery vents out of contact with the metal terminal and clamp and prevents corrosion.
 
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Here's what I do... I take the terminals off, clean them with a Terminal/Post cleaner tool available at your local auto parts store for cheap. Then I spray the terminals and posts with a good penetrating fluid (Rust Check). I put the terminals back on and tighten back up around the battery posts. Then I coat the terminals and the exposed part of the battery post with a generous amount of Vaseline or Dielectric grease or Wheel Bearing grease as this keeps the moisture and vaporous battery gases away from the posts/terminals. I find I only need to do this once over the life of the battery and just touch up the grease/Vaseline each year during my annual check. It works very well and I never have the white/yellowish buildup and/or electrical connection problems.
 

sciphi

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The dielectric grease I used says to slather onto battery terminals and connections. Which I did. Anyhow, I'm happy knowing the terminals are clean and protected better than they were before touching them. My battery is a side-terminal battery, so the felt pads are a no-go.
 
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Glue a penny next to each battery terminal. It will draw the corrosion away from the battery posts and real cheap. Just my two cents.
 
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I was told if your chassis grounds were good, there should be no build up on the terminals. I have never had build up on my 2000 dakota, 05 Neon SRT4, or our 03 Xterra. All of them have had their grounds wires upgraded to larger wire and a cleaned grounding spot.
 
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I used to use wheel bearing grease, but I bought some of the spray stuff from WalMart that was mentioned here before and it seemed to work decent. I never really had that good experience with the felt pads though.
 
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Toyota dealer uses blue spray stuff on terminals, never had any problems since. And my battery used to foul up good.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Ursae_Majoris
Correct me if I am wrong, but dielectric grease is not what want on the batter terminals, since it impedes the current flow. It is used to insulate the connectors, like spark plug boots. You want actual battery terminal grease, or petroleum jelly---same thing.
The connectors make a mechanical connection and squish the grease out of the way. The dielectric only impedes flow where a mechanical connection doesn't exist.
 
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