Home»Car Care»How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

Pinterest WhatsApp

In this modern world, none can deny the importance of batteries, because they can power our entire lives. While alkaline batteries power our devices, car batteries power our automobiles. Now we are living in a time when we can not do without batteries. That is why we should keep batteries running.

In this post, we are going to discuss how to clean car battery terminals. Hopefully this post will help you do the right thing when you need to clean car battery terminals.

Why should you clean your car battery terminals?

The functionality of your car depends to some extent on the functionality of it battery. As a car owner, if you understand the cleaning procedure of your car battery terminals, you will not have to go to the mechanic frequently. And it will help you save a lot of money.

All car batteries are not easily affordable. A car battery costs around $100. So, frequent replacements will cost you much. You can extend the life of your car battery by keeping the battery terminals healthy. 

These terminals are basically electric contacts that carry electric current to other parts of the car. But battery contacts are susceptible to dirt and grime, and you have to be careful about them. They will slowly get damaged if your car faces dusty country roads and city smog.

If you do not regularly maintain the terminals, you will have to deal with battery corrosion. How do you know that your battery is corroded? If your terminals have powder-like substance on them, you should take it as a sign of corrosion.

This problem occurs if your vehicle is not regularly used. Car corrosion is also a problem faced by rideshare drivers. You may also have to deal with this issue if the batteries are overcharged.

To much battery water and poor maintenance can also lead to this problem. To maintain smooth functioning of your car, you have to learn how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar or something else.

When to clean your car battery terminals

Step 8: 2012 Jeep Wrangler JK stability control / traction control / ESP kill switch installationThere are some signs that indicate your battery needs immediate cleaning. Now we are going to discuss the most obvious signs

  • Around the terminals, you will notice dirt, corrosion and debris
  • Terminals may turn greasy
  • The battery area of the car will give off an odd scent

Cleaning the battery terminals should be a part of your overall car maintenance. Your monthly car maintenance will be incomplete if you do not clean your corroded battery terminals.

If your car battery has these issues, dive into action immediately. There are a few methods of cleaning corroded battery terminals, but in this post we will discuss only one method.

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar (easy steps)

When it comes to cleaning your battery terminals, you can use some kitchen products. Baking soda and vinegar are two of them. Vinegar is an amazing cleaning agent, and it works best when combined with baking soda.

Things you will need 

  • Basic tool kit
  • Safety gear
  • white vinegar (1 cup, distilled)
  • Baking soda (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Clean rags

The procedure

  1. At first, look at the battery case. If the case is visibly leaking or bloated, cleaning is not enough. In this case, installing a new battery is the only solution to the problem.
  1. Remove the negative cable from the battery terminal and then remove the positive cable. Pay close attention to the grime, build-up and corrosion. If the level of corrosion is very high, do not try to clean it. Rather skip to the section where we are going to discuss the procedure of cleaning corroded battery terminals.
  1. Take a spray bottle and then pour your vinegar into it. Moisturize the baking soda by using the spray bottle. Alternatively, you can wet the baking soda by pouring vinegar onto it.
  1. Take the wet baking soda with a scrub brush and scrub away the corrosion. When the build-up dissolves, foaming will appear.
  1. Once you have removed the corrosion, rinse and dry the terminals. Then lubricate the terminals. And once you have lubricated the terminals, re-attach the cables.

As a car owner, you should know how to take care of your car, at least how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar. This is one of the simplest ways to take care of your car battery.

Cleaning corroded car battery terminals

You will find it hard to remove the cables if the terminals are badly corroded. The baking soda and the vinegar will work very effectively when the cable are removed. But, if the clamps are not removed, they will not work.

Before you start cleaning, you must disconnect the battery from the vehicle. If the battery is not disconnected, the consequences can be hazardous. If you find it impossible to remove the clamps from the terminals, make sure the cables are disconnected at the other ends. Then you can focus on the cleaning the corroded area.

In most cases, you can get the job done with some elbow grease. To loosen the clamps, you can use a pair of pliers. Do not forget to wear gloves when doing this work. Do not touch your car’s frame or other metal objects. And if you think this is too much work for you, take your car to a mechanic.

Additional tips

  • To clean your car battery terminals, you have to use materials that contain citric acid. You may be surprised to know that Coca Cola can also be used as a battery cleaner. If your car battery suddenly stops working, using Coca Cola can be a very convenient way to clean the battery terminals.
  • You can easily learn how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar. So you do not need to hire a professional mechanic to get the job done. However, hiring a mechanic can be a viable option if you do not have enough time to clean the battery terminals.
  • Vinegar alone many not be very effective. If corrosion is stubborn, you must use baking soda with vinegar.


  • Be careful when handling batteries because they contain strong bases or acids, which can burn your skin and eyes. Use protective gloves when removing corrosion from the battery.
  • When cleaning battery terminals, do not use water. You must keep them dry. This is one of the most important things to know if you want to learn how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar. If that is an issue for you, do not hesitate to take the battery to a professional mechanic.
  • Car batteries are dangerous because they can be explosive. When charging and discharging, they release hydrogen gas. Make sure that there is no open flame anywhere near the battery.

 In conclusion

Before you clean the car battery terminals, assess the level of damage. If it seems a lost cause, may be it really is. In such a case, you will have to buy a new battery. However, most of the time, cleaning your battery terminals is a better option that buying a new battery.

Previous post

What to Do If a Mechanic Overcharges You

Next post

Is RainX Bad for Your Windshield?

No Comment

Leave a reply