5 Car Battery Tips and Tricks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Uh oh! A dead car battery spells trouble. But don’t despair—these car battery tricks are as handy as a pair of jumper cables.

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If you get behind the wheel only to discover that your car’s battery has given up the ghost—and there’s no one around to give you a jump—you may be able to get your vehicle started by dropping two aspirin tablets into the battery itself. The aspirin’s acetylsalicylic acid will combine with the battery’s sulfuric acid to produce one last charge. Just be sure to drive to your nearest service station.

Plus: The Reader’s Digest Ultimate Roadside Emergency Guide

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Baking soda
Photo: Shutterstock

Baking Soda

Eliminate the corrosive build-up on your car’s battery terminals. Scrub them clean using an old toothbrush and a mixture of three tablespoons baking soda and one tablespoon warm water. Wipe them off with a wet towel and dry with another towel. Once the terminals have completely dried, apply a bit of petroleum jelly around each terminal to deter future corrosive build-up.

Plus: 9 Strange Car Sounds—And What They Could Mean

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Epsom salt
Photo: Shutterstock

Epsom Salt

Is your car battery starting to sound as if it won’t turn over? Worried that you’ll be stuck the next time you try to start your car? Give your battery a little more life with this potion. Dissolve about an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water and add it to each battery cell.

Plus: 20 Secrets Your Auto Mechanic Won’t Tell You

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White petroleum jelly
Photo: Shutterstock

Petroleum jelly

It’s no coincidence that your car battery always dies on the coldest winter day. Low temperatures increase electrical resistance and thicken engine oil, making the battery work harder. Corrosion on the battery terminals also increases resistance and might just be the last straw that makes the battery give up. Before winter starts, disconnect the terminals and clean them with a wire brush. Reconnect, then smear with petroleum jelly. The jelly will prevent corrosion and help keep the battery cranking all winter long.

Plus: 13 Things You Should Know About Car Maintenance

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Photo: Shutterstock


Yes, it’s true, the acidic properties of soda pop will help to eliminate corrosion from your car battery. Nearly all carbonated soft drinks contain carbonic acid, which helps to remove stains and dissolve rust deposits. Pour some soda over the battery terminals and let it sit. Remove the sticky residue with a wet sponge.

Plus: 7 Ways You’re Completely Wasting Money on Your Car

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest