Hello ALL…I decided to sit down and write up a little “How-To” because SO many problems reported here are due to the basics when it comes to Battery Maintenance. Now that Winter is upon us, we will inevitably see more and more issues related to Dirty Batt terminals and the subsequent issues that follow. This Forum receives HUNDREDS of car questions that are directly related to what is in this tutorial. SO hopefully people will read this and save themselves, their Battery as well as their Sanity. HOPEFULLY this becomes a “Sticky” so that this same advice is not continually given out…over and over again…at least that was my point anyway.
It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for your electrical system that all of the connections be clean and tight. The issues that arise from not having the connections “in proper order” are too many to list. I can guarantee you that hundreds if not thousands of perfectly good alternators and batteries have been prematurely replaced because of poor Battery Hygene. Not to mention all of the vehicle towing that is totally not needed.
OK… BEFORE any of you get caught in a snowstorm, cold winter night (HEAT/SUMMER is a batterys enemy as well), or the rain with a STONE DEAD BATTERY…PLEASE READ THIS…
Batteries DO go bad with age…they dont last forever…so keep in mind how old your batt is and replace if needed. A TEN YEAR OLD Battery that is working properly most likely does NOT have another TEN YEARS of reliable service to offer you. You DO have a say in how long your batt lasts…it will last MUCH longer (from new) by following this tutorial.
You can go to any auto parts store and buy whats needed here. First obtain a small Battery wire brush…they are usually made of metal and look sort of like a bullet. Cost under 5 bucks. They have both an internal and external wire brush.
Use this tool to clean your battery posts as well as the inside of your battery cable clamps. INspect your cable clamps…are they cracked? If so replace any that need attention…either by replacing the actual clamp or buying an OEM…pre-crimped cable and clamp combo…more expensive but worth it as quality is FAR superior. Once you have wire brushed all these surfaces until they literally SHINE, you should now apply some GREASE to them…and dont skimp. Hell BLOB it on there…you wont hurt anything…and the grease can actually stop or slow battery acid leakage if present. White Lithium Grease is adequate and its nice and clean looking compared to black axle grease. Next you can purchase some of those chemically treated Red and Green “donuts” they go around your battery posts to deal with any acid seepage that may be present. They will prevent any of that WHITE FLUFF you may see around your posts…THIS FLUFF IS BATTERY ACID…DONT GET IT ON YOUR SKIN…CLOTHES…EYES…NOSE…ETC…You get the picture HINT…wet the stuff down with water before it becomes airborn…and you breathe it in!..Yes…it happens…ask me how I know.
IF you see White FLUFF.....there is a chemical in the Battery section that will neutralize this immediately upon contact... The stuff is usually Red and in a small bottle...works phenominally. You can also neutralize this with Baking soda and water.....then hose it all off....get it off your vehicle as it will eat right through it in time.
Now that you have cleaned your posts and clamps and greased everyone…reassemble your battery clamps and tighten them! Not too tight…just good and snug so that you cannot move them with your hand alone. You’re almost done…You REALLY need to make sure ALL Of your electrical connections are treated the same way…so dont ignore your ground cable to the vehicle frame they are just as important as at the Battery…maybe even moreso. Try to treat all of these the same if you can get to them.
Thats about it…you have just ensured that your Alternator has the ability to charge the (good) Battery in your vehicle and keep it properly charged (IF you have a good alternator) These steps will give you the best odds that your vehicle will have a STRONG and Healthy Battery and that the car will start on those COLD days and nights that are around the corner. Many dead or weak battery problems are caused by corroded terminals and posts…Your alternator is trying its best to charge your battery but it cant get the electricity to the battery through all of that corrosion. So your charging system my be working just fine…it is due to poor battery hygene that it cannot maintain proper battery voltage. This KILLS batteries over time…so let just avoid it…OK?
*** If you are finding that your battery cable clamps do not tighten around your Batt posts even when the cable clamp is “Bottomed Out” They actually make “post fatteners” These are usually made of lead and slip over the posts on your battery…fattening them up so that the cable clamp has the ability to squeeze down tight on the post… Hey its better than flattening out a penny to do the same thing…Like my Grandfather taught me to do as a Young Buck…LOL.
The fattening of the battery post is a very important thing…as none of my above advice will work if you then have a loose connection in the end. Just remember that your electrical connections to and from the Batt…Need to be CLEAN…TIGHT…and protected with GREASE… Feel free to add to my list guys if you think I left something out. HOPE THIS HELPS PEOPLE… HAPPY MOTORING !!!