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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.