Introduction: Corrosion Off a Car Battery.

Picture of Corrosion Off a Car Battery.

Here is a easy way to clean corrosion off a car battery......

(NOTE: You may never drink pop again!)

Step 1: What You Need....

Picture of What You Need....

1. A corroded car battery
2. A can of pop.


Step 2: What You Need to Do....

Picture of What You Need to Do....
Pour the pop on both battery posts, and wait 5 min.

Here is the video to see how:


jnlocke (author)2012-05-01

For all you folks worried about getting a fatal shock off the 12-volt car battery (the following from Wikipedia):
The minimum current a human can feel depends on the current type (AC or DC) and frequency. A person can feel at least 1 mA (rms) of AC at 60 Hz, while at least 5 mA for DC. The current may, if it is high enough, cause tissue damage or fibrillation which leads to cardiac arrest. 60 mA of AC (rms, 60 Hz) or 300–500 mA of DC can cause fibrillation.

Additionally, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:
Under dry conditions, the resistance offered by the human body may be as high as 100,000 Ohms. Wet or broken skin may drop the body's resistance to 1,000 Ohms.

Ohm's law (basic electricity) tells us: current = voltage / resistance. Using the above numbers, this makes current = 12 / 1000 (wet or broken skin). This results in a current of 12 mA (0.012 Amps). You'll feel it, but it is a LONG way from killing you. With normal, dry skin, current = 12 / 100,000; a current of 0.12 mA (120 µA, or 0.00012 Amps).

Seems pretty safe to me, just don't suck on the battery cables.

rrobson (author)2011-10-15

Baking soda and water to the consistency of a paste smeared on the terminals gets the corrosion off and in a pinch Vasaline smeared on the post and terminals keeps them clean, also most auto parts stores sell the felt pads which works fine..

Infinitevortex (author)2011-10-15

Your video has been removed :-(

Can you repost it? Thanks.

PeoplesCar (author)2011-10-14

Uhhhhhh ... as a fellow bug owner (mine is a 1971 standard bug, not super, and also yellow like yours) ....

1. I probably would have taken the battery out of the car first, no matter what method I used.
2. Soda isn't the best cleaning agent. The carbonation and acid will remove surface corrosion, but you're also inviting future corrosion (and a sticky mess). A toothbrush dipped in a super concentrated solution of hot water & baking soda is a good option, or if it's REALLY bad, start with a wire brush - GENTLY.
3. I would be hesitant to spread any type of petroleum products on the terminals that was not meant for an electrical situation. Dielectric grease (the same stuff you would use to lube the horn contact ring that rotates against the terminals in the steering column in your bug) would seem safer ... it's a grease, but it's designed to be conductive, and designed to be used in electrical situations.

Personally, I wouldn't bother spreading ANYTHING on my terminals ... it took THAT long to build up, so I would just add checking the battery terminals to your regular six month or twelve month checklist. You know as well as anyone else with a classic bug that these cars are super reliable, as long as you keep up with the HUNDRED BILLION tiny irritant maintenance checks they require.

Other than all that, I heart your bug. I never was huge on the Super Beetles (hence why mine is a 1300 / standard), but 1973 was the only model year I would have considered owning. Plus, yours is the right color :-)

RemieD. (author)2010-03-28

._. uh boiled tap water? i talked with my auto shop teacher he said that's a dumb idea since that would kill the battery

Diabloscope (author)2010-02-07

Ordinary Boiled  Tap Water   !!   its free  

PLANTJOE (author)2009-03-29

thanks people. the comments are easily worth as much as the article. I used pop on my VW a couple of months ago, and now i get a invidious black corrosion in the pos post. its gummy and has to be scraped-off after removing the cable. i bet its the sugar. i hot-soapy-watered the cable and battery. now things are great. a wire-brush corrodes terribly after using it on a battery. the better choice may be a 1" X 4" strip of sand-paper around a pencil, which can be discarded after one use. Does any-body know whats in the red felt donut sold by auto-stores to prevent corrosion on battery posts?

bigmark (author)2009-03-16

I had a 76 superbeatle in high school & loved to take people home who didn't know about my bug.when we hit a bump they went up & shocked on the way was soooo funny !!! long live the bug!!!

jamesccostello (author)2009-03-14

or you could just rub some petroleum jelly across both terminals, and you won't have corrosion in the first place.

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-11-15

Aren't you worried about the pop seeping inside the battery?

adamazing (author)2007-07-25

Ummm...should I be worried about the possibility of electrocution/electric shock? It occurs to me that pouring a (conducting fluid)* onto the positive terminal of a car battery is not the most sensible thing to do...

Even if there is minimal risk of the Dr. Pepper conducting electricity up a stream, would it not be a good idea to warn against the dangers of touching the can against the engine bay when pouring on the terminals? Or do I misunderstand electricity? : /

*I assume that Dr. Pepper/Cola etc. still conducts electricity, no matter how much more unhealthy than water it is.

hack124x768 (author)adamazing2007-07-25

12 volts wont go through water (or skin, for that matter) hardly at all. That's why it is safe to jump start a car in the rain.

acantine (author)hack124x7682008-07-22

I'm no electrician, but isn't it the amperage that counts rather than the volts when you're talking about getting a shock? Also, what's this business about lifting a battery out by it's terminals? That's just, weird.... In any event, if you've ever accidentally crossed the + and - terminals on a car battery with say, a tire iron, you'll be able to see there's plenty of juice in there by your melted battery terminals. I wouldn't use this instructable if I were you, Joe Reader.

nicholast (author)acantine2008-11-01

You need voltage to get amperage, and the reason you get lots of juice from a tire iron is because the metal has an extremely low resistance, your body has a very very high resistance.

Aargh (author)hack124x7682007-07-25

Bullsh*t . an electric shock from an auto battery will ruin your damn day.

nicholast (author)Aargh2008-11-01

12 volts WILL NOT hurt you unless you lick it, lol

hack124x768 (author)Aargh2007-07-25

Dude, You are SUPPOSED to lift car batteries by their terminals out of most cars. As long as you don't lick it, you will be just fine. Wall power won't even hurt you much, but it will scare the crap out of you. Or maybe you were talking about a 200ish volt hybrid car battery...

LasVegas (author)hack124x7682007-07-26

I have never seen instructions anywhere advising that a lead acid battery be lifted by its terminals! If you want to shorten the life of the battery considerably, go for it. A car battery should always be lifted by the sides of the battery. The voltage of a power source is not what injures. When you get a static shock you're dealing with 20,000+ volts! Why doesn't it hurt (much)? Because it's very low current. A 12v lead acid battery can supply enough current to stop your heart , given a good enough connection (wet hands.)

lemonie (author)LasVegas2007-07-28

I'm doubtful that 12V will drive enough current. Maybe if you poked electrodes into your flesh? Theoretically, a car battery can supply enough current to thouroughly cook you to the point of 'crispy', but the human body has a bit too much resistance (through fatty-skin anyway)? L

hack124x768 (author)LasVegas2007-07-26

It isn't advised, but I know of no other way to get on out of a japanese car (honda, nissan, etc) and some newer fords and chevys. All it is doing is putting a very small amount ot load on it (microamps, not even milliamps), a cars clock would have more draw. About the wet hands, that would make no difference, because you skin is still in the way between the battery and the bloodstream. For that matter, water isn't so good of a conductor anyway. Heres a thought, have you ever carried a battery by the terminals? I have, I'm still alive. I didn't feel anything actually. I don't know what kind of experience you speak from. Lastly, voltage gets through to you, amperage hurts you. You need a good bit of both to get injured.

thorn (author)hack124x7682007-07-27

That wall power won't hurt you much is a dangerous claim to make. If that comes from personal experience you have been very lucky in your encounters with it, which any professional electrician can tell you.

Some external info;
Electric shock
Health and safety executive

Punkguyta (author)Aargh2007-07-25

Have you ever actually gotten shocked by one? I had more fun shocking myself off a 110 outlet.

civilpd (author)2008-09-06

Pop will make the corrosion come back with a vengeance (I tried it) and you can not use a petroleum base to coat anything electrical which is exactly what I thought too except I said vasoline in a light bulb which is completely moronic when you think about it because of the flammability issue. You have to use the anti-oxident especially for electrical connectors. Wire brush is the right thing to clean with but I usually just bang on it with whatever I can find and hope it works.

theburn7 (author)2008-06-16

WARNING! do not use this method unless if your car breaks down

Elastometer (author)2007-07-26

Glad there are some sensible guys like Vegas here. Indeed the current from a standard car battery let alone a heavy duty is enough to fry you even if the voltage is less than the standard 'Lethal voltage' as published by UK H&S.; In any respect if the battery is corroded and the car won't start, is the Dr Pepper going to re-charge your battery? I mean let's be serious here. As far as lifting the battery by it's terminals - That's a new one on me. 35% concentrate sulphuric acid spashing about when you drop the battery is really going to impress your wife when her toes disappear. I consider 'Instructables' to be a great wealth of great knoweledge, however, it's absolute crap like this that totally astounds me. This instructable should be confined to the trash can before someone suffers a serious injury or worse. I apologise if this does not meet the 'Be nice' policy and ultimately get's me banned but I don't really think the likes of this should be published.

hack124x768 (author)Elastometer2007-07-27

It's 12 frinkin' volts! It CAN'T get through your skin. If you grab a wire with a rubber coating, will it zap you? No. Your skin is the same way, just with less resistance than rubber. I see no reason why putting pop on you battery would be a bad thing, as long as you clean it off and spray some kind or anti-corrosion spray on the terminals, like WD-40. Let me ask a question to anyone that cares: Have you EVER been shocked by 12 volts?

austin (author)hack124x7682008-06-15

yes 12 volts can get through your skin if its wet.

themeatloaf (author)Elastometer2007-07-28

Dr Pepper going to re-charge your battery?

No for that you need red wine.

Car Battery Charged With...

LasVegas (author)2007-07-26

Cleaning your battery terminals with soda pop will actually increase corrosion. It might appear to remove the surface corrosion, but soda water would do that too. Soda pop will leave behind sugar, a corrosive and cause a larger problem later on. Also, removing the surface corrosion will do nothing to improve the connection to the battery. If the car wouldn't start before you wasted that can of Dr. Pepper, it won't afterward either.

capn (author)LasVegas2008-02-03

exactly my thoughts, I had worked at Advance Auto for years and people ask me if they can clean the car battery with soda I ALWAYS say NO. Although it does remove corrosion it leaves sugar behind which is terrible to have on any surface. I have always been a firm believer in baking soda and water.

writerlady (author)2007-11-30

A wire brush would be cleaner in long run. Speaking of long run, what are the acids from the pop going to do to the floor pan - look ma, no floor! I would never pour any kind of liquid on the battery in my '73 std. bug (shudder).

themeatloaf (author)writerlady2007-11-30


writerlady (author)themeatloaf2007-12-02

ah, I've heard of that. I'll look into getting one for both my bugs - (73 and 68)

killerjackalope (author)2007-08-03

ok meatloaf you are a lunatic but I guess luck has been on your side because a supposedly dead car battery ran it last juice through my hand and it was useless for a week I couldn't write without twitches ruining it also sandpaper is a much safer way of cleaning the terminals and does it well and by the way 12volts can easily get through the skin when it's backed by how many amps of current could be up to a 1000amps and the smallest I've seen lying around is 550amps which is still enough to force it's way up one arm across your chest and down the other arm by the way 230volts mains (UK) hurts like hell car batteries hurt more... take it from a complete idiot

Cryptonat (author)2007-07-29

Im not meaning to flame, but you should be able to clean corroded terminals with just about anything to make it wet.

Punkguyta (author)2007-07-25

What was ever wrong with the wire brush?

themeatloaf (author)Punkguyta2007-07-25

Do you carry a wire brush in you car? Corrosion does not always mess with your battery at home. Plus it gets in the cracks without pulling your cable off.

Punkguyta (author)themeatloaf2007-07-25

Actually I do have one in my truck, and I'm sure most people will have one at home they can put in the car as they only cost a few bucks. Pooring pop on your battery terminals will not only be less effective than a wire brush is (and they do work well). If the cables are attached properly (tightly, not just dangleing) then I assume that the pop is more dense then moisture that causes the air reaction and forms the corrosion because of the zinc or whichever in the terminal. This being said, it should barely or not even get between the cable and the terminal and that's where your connection is bud. You can clean the outside corrosion off with paper towel or a kleen-ex (if you don't have one in your glove box you deserve to be kicked in the knee) and throw it out (you can touch corrosion with your hand, it's not gonna burn you). Then unscrew the battery cables, wire brush BOTH sides of the rounded spade connector, then the side of the terminal the cable is attached on, and the other sides too if you wish. And if you really want to you can get some pliers or vice grips and grab onto each bolt and then wirebrush away (I'm sure a lot of people have those too on their car). Re-attach, tighten the bolts with the said pliers if that was the route you chose. Start up, you'll be amazed how much louder (due to more power) it is and faster, even compared to when it was still working. Now tell me what is wrong with that?

themeatloaf (author)2007-07-25

Keep in mind we don't all have tools with us all the time. And some people say like your wife may not be good with tools. So will you tell your wife when she calls you on her cell phone at 11pm, (and you are 75 miles away) "Honey, the car will not start! I open the hood and the battery has fuzz on it what should I do?" "OK Dear, walk back in to Wal-mart and get a wire brush" Not me I'll tell her get a can or bottle of pop......

Scott_Tx (author)2007-07-25

When your terminals are clean coat them in grease to prevent corrosion from happening.

About This Instructable




Bio: ***Look for new video's and Instructable on the 2nd and last Tuesday's of every month.***
More by themeatloaf:How To Clean Your Computer KeyboardC-Cell into D-cell Battery hack.Eavesdrop on a room from 1,000 miles away.
Add instructable to: