5 Easy Ways to Clean Electric Contacts

The car is put through a lot of abuse, so it’s no wonder that the electrical contacts get dirty over time. It is possible to maintain a strong connection between the battery and your car's electrical system by learning how to clean them. 

A mixture of baking soda and water will remove corrosion, oxidation and dirt as well as grease. For loose dirt, compressed air can be used. Other options include rubbing alcohol or sandpaper, as well as one of many specialty cleaners. 

This guide will discuss the top reasons to clean your electrical connectors. These essential connections need to be cleaned regularly. We will also discuss the most effective ways to get rid of corrosion and dirt. Finally, we will quickly address some of the most common issues that automotive owners have with dirty electrical contacts. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Why you should clean electrical contact
  2. How to Clean Electric Contacts
    1. 1. Cleaning products for specialties
    2. 2. Baking Soda/Water
    3. 3. Compressed Air
    4. 4. Alcohol rub
    5. 5. Sandpaper
  3. Automotive Issues Due to Dirty Electric Contacts

Why you should clean electrical contact

There are many connections in your car that allow you to keep essential functions running smoothly. There are many electrical connections that make everything run, including the car's battery and sound system. Dirt can build up over time and make it harder to establish a connection.

Sometimes, malfunctions are possible when the connector is blocked. One example is a blocked connector that can prevent the engine from starting. A contaminated wiring harness might also stop the lights from working properly. It all depends on how badly the connectors have been cleaned and what part of them are damaged.

If the connectors aren’t kept clean, the dirt can start to cake on. Contacts can become harder to clean as time passes. That’s why regular maintenance is more important. If you stay on top of the cleaning, there’s less chance that you will deal with malfunctions. 

RELATED: Battery Terminal Corrosion Causes (How to Fix & Prevent It)

How to Clean Electric Contacts

1. Cleaning products for specialties

Many specialty cleaners can clean your contacts and keep them free from debris. It is important to select a trusted brand and one that has proven safe. Additionally, it’s critical that you follow the recommended instructions to ensure the components are protected. 

WD-40 Electrical contact cleaner is a very popular alternative. It can be used to clean areas regularly exposed. Because it will penetrate tough corrosion, it’s great to use if nothing else seems to be working. Plus, there’s a handy nozzle included, ensuring it reaches into the toughest areas.  You can purchase it from Amazon by clicking the link below. We may earn a commission for qualified purchases. This affiliate link is available.

You can restore electrical conductivity with products like this. This product also lowers the likelihood of a short-circuit. With the rapidly evaporating non-conductive formula, there’s nothing left behind, so the rubber, plastic and metal surfaces can always be kept intact. 

2. Baking Soda/Water

To clean contacts and terminals on batteries, you can use water and baking soda. It’s simple to make and couldn’t be any easier to use. While it can be used with other electrical contacts, let’s look at the best way to use it with the battery terminals and connectors.

  1. Lock the bolts that secure the cables to the posts. Use pliers, or a wrench.
  2. First, remove the negative cable. This cable is black and is indicated with a – sign.
  3. Next, disconnect the positive cable. The cable's color is typically red, and it is marked with the + sign.
  4. The baking soda can be mixed ahead or applied directly to the connectors. Sprinkle baking soda onto the connectors and posts. Add a bit of water to the baking soda and let it fizz.
  5. Take a stiff toothbrush and scrub the connectors. To avoid irritation, protect your hands with gloves. 
  6. As needed, add more baking soda to the water.
  7. Cleanse with distilled waters.
  8. You can dry it with a microfiber towel. 
  9. Once everything is dry, attach the cables to the battery posts. Attach the positive red cable first.
  10. Make sure to tighten the connections. 

Other areas can also be cleaned with the baking soda-water solution. Not only can it be used to perform interior cleaning and freshening, but it’s also helpful when cleaning carbon deposits off of various engine components. 

Don’t forget to add Dielectric grease after you cleaned it!

RELATED : What Battery Cable should be removed first, and installed last?

3. Compressed Air

Compressed air may be the best option if you have contacts that are clogged with debris. To remove dirt, you can either use compressed air cans or your home air tank.

When trying multiple methods, compressed air can be helpful. If you need to wet the contact surfaces, compress air is a good option. 

4. Alcohol rub

To remove debris and dirt, you could try using a little alcohol on your electrical contacts. This works the same way as acetone to remove contaminants from connectors. 

Acetone and alcohol both easily cut through the residue, carbon, and oil. Some people use brake cleaner in the same way, but this shouldn’t be used. This can cause damage to electrical connectors, and crack any plastic parts it comes in contact with. 

5. Sandpaper

You can use a little bit of fine sandpaper to rub the connector pins. This will help you get rid of any debris or imperfections. You don’t need a piece bigger than 1” x 2”. You can also use a pencil eraser to do the same thing. The contact will look shiny and clean if you do it correctly.

You should brush the connector gently with a toothbrush after you have used the sandpaper. This will help you get rid of any remaining sanding dust. For the final step, you could also use an alcohol- or vinegar-based cleaner. Make sure that the connectors dry completely before you place the parts back together. 

Automotive Issues Due to Dirty Electric Contacts

Contacts that are dirty or corrosion can lead to more problems than you think. A lot of novice mechanics replace components when simple cleaning is sufficient. The problem might be corrosion in the connectors or a defective alternator. It is important that you clean the terminals before replacing them.

Poor connections could also prevent electricity from reaching vital systems in cars. There are many aspects to an electrical installation. These include sensors, relays and fuses, as well as switches. The transmission can be disrupted if an element becomes blocked or dirty.

Dirty contacts can cause intermittent visibility issues, even in exterior lighting components. You should inspect the connector for dirt or debris if the turn signals, headlights and fog lights are not working properly. The connector can be cleaned much more easily than the replacement of the bulb and assembly.

It is a good idea to inspect any part that has gone wrong before replacing it. Try cleaning any dirt and debris off your part with a suitable solution. The best-case scenario is that you won’t have to replace the part after all.

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