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LEARNLETS
I know my car battery is charged, but I still have trouble starting the car. What should I do?
Check the battery terminals, the positive and negative knobs that the wires leading to the alternator are bolted onto, as well as the clamps. Older batteries can produce a sulfate build-up (a whitish-looking residue) that corrodes the terminals and clamps and leads to a bad connection.

To fix the problem, undo the clamps and try a gentle tap with a hammer on the terminals--this should break away the residue. Or you can scrub the terminals and clamps with a pasty mix of baking soda and water using a wire brush or an old toothbrush (always wear rubber gloves if you do this--the sulfate build-up can burn skin). Wipe the terminals clean with a moist cloth, let them dry, then reconnect the clamps.

If you're installing a new battery and want to avoid this build-up, coat the terminals and terminal clamps with a thin coat of petroleum jelly or high temperature car grease. This will help prevent future sulfate corrosion.


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