How to Safely and Thoroughly Clean Your Vehicle’s Battery Terminals

When you turn the key in your vehicle’s ignition and it won’t start, a number of components could be the culprit with your BMW. One of the simplest and least expensive to fix, though, is dirty battery terminals. Battery terminals can often become covered in corrosion due to small leaks in the seals around the posts. Cleaning this corrosion is a simple process that can restore your vehicle’s battery to a like-new condition.

Isolate the Battery

Before doing anything, you’ll want to ensure that it’s safe to touch the battery. To begin, turn off the ignition to your vehicle so that there’s no power being added to or drawn from your battery. After that, carefully disconnect the battery cable, using a wrench to loosen the nut that holds the clamp in place. Start with the negative terminal, usually marked by a (-) symbol, followed by the positive terminal, usually marked with a (+) symbol.

Check for Problems

After you’ve removed the cable clamps from the battery terminals, carefully inspect the battery itself for any signs of cracks or leaks. A battery with a visible crack should be replaced instead of cleaned. This will help to avoid issues that may require BMW repair in Chicago down the road. Additionally, you’ll want to inspect your battery cable to ensure it is in good condition and free from corrosion.

Clean the Battery

Assuming you don’t find any issues with the battery or cable that would require BMW repair in Chicago, go ahead and clean the corrosion off of the battery. You’ll need to use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda thoroughly mixed into one cup of plain water. Swirl an old toothbrush in this solution, then use the toothbrush to scrub the terminals until all the corrosion has been removed. When the terminals are clean, dry them carefully. Then re-attach the battery cable, starting with the positive terminal.

For assistance with this and other repairs big and small, contact the service specialists of Chicago Motors Auto Service at

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