How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

Corroded battery terminals can cause havoc to your vehicle’s functionality. Find out How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar to solve this issue!

Car battery terminals play an important role by connecting the charger and other electrical components of a vehicle to the battery. Corrosion, dirt, and other residues get deposited on the terminal clamps, impacting the battery’s performance. If you are facing such an issue, learn How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar below.

Learn how to clean salt cells with vinegar here

Symptoms of Bad Battery Terminals

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar1

By noticing the below symptoms in your car functionality, you can easily identify bad or failing battery terminal ends that need cleaning.

  • If you’re facing difficulty in starting the car, it can possibly be due to corrosion in the battery terminals.
  • Bad or failing battery terminal clamps cause a decrease in electrical power. For instance, your vehicle’s headlamp fades or flickers, the audio system stops working, or any other electric-driven component fails.

Why Cleaning Car Battery Terminals is Important?

Every functionality of your car somehow depends on the battery and its terminals. Over time, the battery terminals develop rust, dirt, and other coatings, which hinder the electrical flow between the battery and the car. Eventually, your vehicle faces different issues, from not being started to various component failures. To prevent such problems, frequent cleaning of battery terminals is necessary.

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar?How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar2

Just like your car needs routine care, its battery requires special attention too. Over time, battery terminals get corroded and build up residue, making the battery’s performance poor. Use the below method to rejuvenate the car battery with vinegar.


  • Two Tablespoons of Baking Soda
  • A Cup of Vinegar
  • Clean Rags
  • Vaseline
  • Wire Brush
  • Basic Tool Kit


  1. Turn off the car and remove the negative and positive battery terminal cables.
  2. At the same time, separate the battery from your car, and keep it aside.
  3. Now, cover the terminals with a coating of baking soda.
  4. Then, add vinegar into a spray bottle, and spritz it on the terminal clamps.
  5. Leave it for 1-2 minutes to allow the fizzing action to take place.
  6. After that, scrub them with a wire brush until they become completely clean.
  7. Once you’re done, wash, dry, and lubricate the terminals with vaseline.
  8. Scrub the battery posts with sandpaper to get rid of any buildup.
  9. Re-install the battery in the car and re-attach both cables.

Note: If you still face issues while starting your car, inspect the terminal clamps and their connecting cable for any damage. Buy and install new parts if necessary.

Why is Vinegar Effective?

Vinegar is acidic, which makes it an excellent cleanser. It easily removes gunk, tough residuals, and corrosion from the battery terminals. For a more potent solution, you can mix vinegar with baking soda. This induces a chemical reaction (fizzing action)  that eliminates all stubborn buildups.

Other Ways to Clean Car Battery TerminalsHow to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar3

If you’re unable to clean car battery terminals with vinegar, below are two more ways that’ll do the job.

  • Baking Soda & Hot Water – Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with 1/4 cup hot water in a bowl. After removing the cables from the battery, apply the paste to the terminals. Scrub them with a wire brush and wipe them with a wet rag. In the end, dry and lubricate the clamp and re-attach the cables.
  • Clean Car Battery Terminals with WD-40 – Disconnect the terminal clamps from the battery. Now, spray a generous amount of WD-40 on the clamps and battery posts. After waiting for a few minutes, scour with a wire brush. Next, clean with a cloth, lubricate, and reconnect the cables afterward. It’s the best way to clean battery terminals.


Before trying any of the above remedies, it’s vital to keep in mind the below precautions to avoid any complications.

  • Always wear safety gear such as good quality rubber gloves and eye protection.
  • If the battery is bloated or leaking, replace it with a new one.
  • While removing the positive and negative cables, ensure they don’t come in contact with each other.
  • Don’t forget to separate the battery from the car while trying the above methods.
  • For safety reasons, we highly recommend you call a service professional for help.

Proper maintenance and care of car battery terminals are necessary to avoid issues in the long run. For any suggestions and queries, please comment below; we would love to hear from you.

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  1. Constantly look for corrosion and dirt on your battery terminals. It is essential to clean them if you see that they have corroded and gathered dirt.


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