RV Battery Care & Maintenance - Steps for Cleaning Battery Terminals

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How to Clean RV Battery Terminals

Some RVers think if the battery terminal connections look clean then everything is okay. However it is the corrosion that develops between the posts and the cable clamps that needs to be checked and cleaned. Skin and eye protection is advised. Be sure you wear old clothes... one very small drop of battery acid can make a good-sized hole or at the least bleach them.

Tools & Supplies
  • A combination battery post and clamp brush, obtainable at any auto parts store. Even the best brushes are inexpensive so there is no excuse not to get a good quality one.
  • Battery post clamp puller or large pliers.
  • Toothbrush or similar brush.
  • Baking soda or commercial cleaner
  • Water.
  • Clean cloth.
  • Wrench.
  • Light grease or petroleum jelly

Battery terminal brush
Battery Terminal Brush

Battery terminal clamp puller
Battery Terminal Clamp Puller

Step 1 Loosen the cable clamp nuts remove the cable clamp from the negative terminal first then the positive cable. The best we to remove the clamp is with a clamp puller. If you don't have on you can spread the clamp with a larger screwdriver and use pliers to twist and lift the terminal clamps off.

Be careful using pliers to remove the clamps, twisting too hard on the post can break them off.

Step 2 With the cables removed from the terminals, check the battery cables and clamps for damage or corrosion. If the damage is extensive, replace the cables and/or clamps to avoid future problems.
Check the battery case for cracks and the terminals posts for damage. Replace the battery if necessary.

Step 3 Apply baking soda directly onto the posts. Dip a toothbrush in water and use it to scrub the baking soda into the terminal posts and cable clamps. If the toothbrush isnt doing the job use a battery terminal brush. You can also use course sandpaper. Dry everything off with a clean, disposable rag.

Step 4 Replace the positive clamp first and then replace the negative clamp. Tighten them down with the proper sized wrench.

Step 5 Smear grease or petroleum jelly to cover the exposed metal surfaces on the battery posts, cables, and clamps. This will slow the formation of corrosive deposits.

Step 6 Replace the rubber or plastic shield that covers the positive terminal. If you dont have one, they are available from your local auto parts store.

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