If your bike has been sitting in storage for a long period of time, you’ll need to run through your battery maintenance checklist before hitting the road. One important element of a battery’s function is the condition of the terminals. By learning how to clean corroded battery terminals, you can keep your battery functioning properly and extend its lifespan.
What Causes Battery Corrosion?
The most common cause of battery corrosion is when hydrogen gas released from battery acid causes a chemical reaction with the metal terminals. Corrosion typically looks like a flaky layer of white or green discoloration that sits on your battery terminals.
It’s important to note the color of the buildup that’s collected on your terminals because different colors can indicate the difference between corrosion and sulfation.
What’s the Difference Between Corrosion and Sulfation?
Although these two processes produce relatively similar-looking discharge, there are a few key differences between corrosion and sulfation.
- Corrosion occurs when hydrogen gas released from the battery acid reacts with the metal terminals. It is white or blue/green in color.
- Sulfation Test your battery’s power with a battery tester to make sure it’s functioning properly.
It is important to identify the difference between these two chemical reactions because corrosion can be easily removed as part of a regular maintenance routine, while sulfation typically indicates deeper damage to the battery. When a battery reaches the sulfation stage, the best thing to do is to replace the battery.
Steps for Cleaning Corroded Battery Terminals
Cleaning corroded battery terminals is easier than it sounds. Follow these easy steps to get your battery back into peak condition:
- Make sure your motorcycle is turned off, then you can remove the battery.
- Avoid touching with your bare hands and use a wire brush to remove the majority of the corroded material.
- Using a rag, apply a mixture of water and baking soda. This acts as a base to neutralize the acid.
- Scrub the baking soda mixture into the terminals using your wire brush. You can also use a toothbrush if you want to get more detailed.
- Wipe off any excess solution from the terminals with a rag or paper towel.
- Let your battery dry completely before reconnecting the terminals to your motorcycle.
Overall, removing corrosion from your battery is an easy way to get the most out of your battery. Complete this process after long periods of storage to ensure a complete connection between the battery and the machine.
How to Prevent Motorcycle Battery Sulfation
Make sure you use a battery maintainer to prevent the battery from becoming too deeply depleted over long periods of storage. This is because the lead plates that become lead sulfate during the discharge cycle are turned back into lead during the charge cycle. So if the battery is discharged too deeply without being recharged, sulfate crystals will build up and cause sulfation.
Maintaining your bike’s electrical system and keeping the terminals free of corrosion are both good ways to prevent sulfation and extend the life of your battery. It’s also important to note that using a high-quality battery, like any product from Yuasa’s AGM series, will provide reliable power for longer than other battery brands because of the sealed lead acid, maintenance-free design slows the release of gas and preserves the liquid inside.
Whether you store your bike for long stretches of time or ride throughout the year, taking care of your battery terminals is an important part of battery maintenance. Checking in periodically on the condition of your terminals can go a long way toward improving the lifespan of your battery and provide you with a more reliable ride.