Is It Necessary To Disconnect The Wires/cables When Cleaning Corrosion From My Car Battery Terminals

Posted in Car Batteries
  • I noticed a significant amount of blue-green corosion on the + positive battery terminal. All auto articles I’ve read say to disconnect the cords to be sure you clean all the corosion off. Would it be helpful if instead I just cleaned the surface corosion off? The reason I’m hesitant is because I’ve never attempted to disconnect the cables and heard that sometimes it causes problems (such as the performance chip resetting, etc). It’s likely that I don’t have the right tools (or arm stregnth) to handle the task. Nor do I have the money to take my car into the shop. I have a maintenance free battery if it makes any difference. I appreciate any advice, thanks.

    There are 12 Answers for "Is It Necessary To Disconnect The Wires/cables When Cleaning Corrosion From My Car Battery Terminals"

    1. goldwing127959 says:

      I would say yes. Here is why.
      The corrosion builds between the post and the clamp and you loose the connection.
      If thy are that bad, cut them off and replace with new clamps. Before clamping the new clamps to the post, be shure you clean the post first for a nice clean and tight fit.

    2. Hey You says:

      I was taught many years ago that all you had to do to keep the connections clean was to pour boiling water over them once a month.I would not worry about disconnecting them.The runoff might stain your parking area.

    3. thebourne_id says:

      No you got to take the cables off the clean them all away, there is corrosion and deposits on the posts of the battery also, not just across the tops of the terminal posts. The thing you heard about is just the electronic thing in your car (like your radio and car clock) that will need to be reset since the power was disconnected while you have the cables off. Its also safer to clean them this way too since if you happened to touch both of them at the same time you would zap yourself with the car’s battery. I take it you don’t want that happening either.

    4. abe says:

      u will get a fuller clean if u do BUT NOT MANDATORY , U A WIRE BRUSH AND BRUSH THE CORROSTION OFF THEN GO TO ANY AUTO SHIP AND BUY A BATTERY TERRMINAL PROTECTION SPRAY AND JUST SPRAY ON THE METAL ENDS OF CABLE AND BATTERY POST….GOOD LUCK OS PS. TO REMOVE CABLE ALL U NEED IS LIKE A 10 MM OR A 12 MM WRENCH REMEMBER NEVER TOUCH A BATTERY END WITTH THE WREENCH AND OTHER METAL IT WILL SPRAK AND HURT

    5. DAN H says:

      Some will debate this, but if you want to “thoroughly” eliminate all corrosion then the answer is YES! Corrosion can get between the contact surfaces of the battery cable clamp and the battery terminal post. If you don’t remove the cables then you will only be cleaning the outside. when disconnecting remember to remove the negative (black cable) first and then the positive (red cable). When reconnecting reverse the order, positive first and then negative. As far as the performance chip I recommend you contact the manufacturer or the whom ever sold it to you and ask.

    6. Richard S says:

      Battery corrosion is a common problem and it must be dealt with properly or you will end up with more problems. Removing the battery terminals is not a hard task, unless the corrosion is so sever that it requires replacing the terminal ends. If not sever, remove ends and combine a tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of water. Take an old tooth brush and use this mixture to clean the corrosion, the soda will neutralize the acid and a foaming action will be seen when the two make contact. Continue applying the soda until this foaming action stops, this will signify that the area is clean. Flush with fresh water and allow to dry. Reinstall terminals and apply a light coat of vaseline petroleum jelly to prevent this from happening again. Good Luck
      A note of caution; do not get this acid on your clothing, it will eat through clothing.

    7. bobweb says:

      Just clean the corrosion off as best you can using an old tooth brush and a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. As long as the engine cranks over ok and then starts ok, there’s no need to disconnect the battery cables, but it is a good preventive care measure every two years or so. Apply a coating of grease or vaseline jelly to the metal terminals after cleaning them to help prevent corrosion buildup.

    8. Rocket says:

      My vote would be for removing them. It’s super easy (usually) plus you need to clean two things that are in contact with each other. How do you clean something well that is covered up? A little baking soda and water will seep down in there, but still, not the best solution.