There is nothing more frustrating than getting into your vehicle just to discover that your car battery has died. Many things can drain the life from your battery, including extreme temperatures, leaving electronics on, and even severe corrosion. While some of these issues can’t be avoided, battery corrosion can be, and it doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. In fact, some very basic car battery maintenance can cost only a few dollars, and it can save you from having to replace your battery sooner rather than later.
Use a lubricant on the car battery terminals
The corrosion you see on the battery terminals is caused by the metal of the terminal and the metal of the cables touching — though this process is obviously necessary to ensure the battery can power the vehicle. One way to mitigate the negative effects of the battery’s operation and minimize corrosion is to use lubricating grease. Some authorities, such as Firestone, suggest that you can use a simple product that many people already have around their home: petroleum jelly. But, you can also get a small package of dielectric grease specifically designed for this application for around $0.99 to a few dollars at most automotive part stores.
Replace worn and corroded battery cable connectors
If you’ve started to notice the signs of heavy corrosion on the car battery terminals, you may have also noticed it on the cable connectors coming from the vehicle. In some circumstances, you can safely remove this corrosion without causing any further damage to the surface, but heavily corroded cable connectors that are damaged beyond repair sometimes require a complete replacement. This doesn’t mean having to replace the entire wire, either, as you can remove the old connectors and replace just this piece on both the positive and negative cables — another quick fix that you can find at most automotive part stores for only a few dollars.
Those little felt corrosion prevention washers you see in the battery section of the store
If you’ve decided to stop by your local automotive store to pick up dielectric grease, replace your battery altogether, or any other reason, a quick stop by the battery section may have you wondering about the small package of felt washers you can find here. A set of these costs a few dollars and can be combined with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to help minimize the risk of corrosion. These felt washers are often treated with a corrosion preventative, and for the low price, it doesn’t hurt to add them to your cart.
If you’ve followed these inexpensive and basic steps but you are still noticing a quick and severe buildup of corrosion on your car battery terminals, there could be an underlying problem that is worth checking out. In extreme circumstances, battery corrosion can reduce the life of your battery, leading you to spend money to replace them sooner rather than at the end of their full life expectancy.