Any favorite tricks for battery terminal care?

Do the baking soda deal bout once a year but the acid slowly creep further up the cables. Is the terminal paint worth the money?
TIA

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When I had the old lead connectors, I used to slather Vaseline on the terminals and about an inch up each cable. The engine heat would slowly soften it, melting it into the cracks and sealing the area where the cable went into the head. Worked well on both the clamp type and the bolt-through ones. I haven't had that problem on my newer vehicles with the steel cable connectors. Other than that, I just keep dirt and stuff off the posts. One thing I tried long ago was the green and red treated felt washers. Waste of money.
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SC Tom


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Ditto on the green & red washers & Vaseline. I put a new battery in about 12 months ago with new clamps and felt washers, and had hard starting the other day. Turns out the ground terminal connection was already starting to corrode enough to break the connection. I plan to clean with baking soda and sand paper, coat with Vaseline and check again next year.
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I agree with SC Tom that cleaning and neutralizing around the terminals annually is a good idea. I don't use grease, vaseline, etc., on mine because they pick up dirt which in turn holds moisture and can cause problems. Keeping the terminals and connectors clean is the key. Also, be sure to check the cables for corrosion and clean and tighten the connectors at the other ends of the cables, that is, at the ground point and at the starter or starter switch (Ford). Lastly, clean and tighten the connections on the cable from the starter switch (Ford) to the starter itself. Dirty, loose or corroded cable or ends on any of these can cause hard starting and battery problems. Just my two cents worth.
DaveD
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A very long time ago I found some stuff called Corrode Cure, or something like that. It came in a small can, was black and gooey and smelled really bad. It had an applicator attached to the lid. A coating of that on each terminal prevented corrosion for as long at it was on there. That was when I only drove British cars and worked on them myself. Now I just let my mechanic do what he wants at each oil change. So far so good. I just mention the battery whenever the car goes in.
Baking soda definitely gets rid of corrosion, but you have to be careful that the liquid mixture does not get "into" the battery itself, and then your squeaky clean terminal must be coated with something. Be sure to go as high on the cable as necessary. Corrosion can get between the wire and the insulation. And, don't forget to check the ground cable wherever it connect to the body or frame.
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Connections are the first thing I always look at when a problem. I remember the battery was not charging and the Kragen dude came out and checked everything with their tester, saying it was a bad alternator. I took it to my regular mechanic and he checked it and said the same. Turns out they were both measuring at the battery connections and it was a bad connection at the alternator that was the problem. Moral of the story - always trust your own judgment with your own vehicle first.
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On 1/19/2011 11:33 AM, Sheldon wrote:

I seem to recall a few years back having a can of special paint that worked real well, red, I think. I think I had it so long the label fell off and it wound up getting accidentally dropped off at the traveling toxic waste dump we have around here.
http://www.aervoe.com/paints_coatings/Battery-Terminal-Coating.html
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