How To Clean Car Battery Terminals

Several guides to cleaing battery terminals on your car.

For many of us, it is almost an inevitable fact that we have or will encounter some trouble when it comes to starting our cars. Most of the time, it’s disappointing and frustrating when this happens. The good thing is that there is a common culprit why our vehicles won’t start, and it is usually car battery corrosion. So, in this post, I’ll share with you some of the most effective methods on how to clean car battery corrosion easily.

6 Steps Tips For Cleaning Auto Battery Terminals

Battery terminals that are clean will shield your vehicle from slowing down. If you maintain your battery terminals, you will decrease the chances of any issues showing up at the most inconvenient times such as when you’re in a hurry for a meeting. When you know how to clean and maintain battery terminals, then they will be free from build-up and will keep your car running smoothly.

Step 1 – Find the Battery. Most auto batteries are situated underneath the hood and are on the left or right half of the motor narrows. With a few models, for example, in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, BMW 5 Series, and the Chevrolet Cobalt, the battery is situated in the storage compartment.

Step 2 – Lift Terminal Hoods. To clean corroded battery terminals, you must get to the clips that connect to the terminals. There are plastic or elastic spreads that keep most batteries secure. You must remove those first. A development of build-up or corrosion, recognized as a white powder, must be cleaned up. Keep in mind to put on a couple of work gloves and wear your good safety glasses.

Step 3 – Remove Car Battery. Each clip affixed to the terminals must be detached. You may do this starting by disconnecting the negative clip first, then do the same with the positive clip. On the off chance that there is a lot of corrosion build-up, you may need to utilize metal forceps to detach them. While checking your battery, be sure that you’re not touching any other metal items, for example, the casing of the car because you might short out the battery. Exercise precaution always.

Step 4 – Select a Cleaning Agent. With regards to cleaning the car battery, you have a decision of two cleaning agents to use. Baking Soda is the most widely recognized one. Here, you will blend two tablespoons of Baking Soda with an equivalent measure of water in a spotless compartment. This will create a solution.

Get a toothbrush to apply the solution in cleaning the battery terminals. You will notice that the build-up will start to form bubbles. At this point, get a wire brush so that you can remove all the other corrosion build-up.

You can also use a soda such as Coke. A 12-ounce can will do. All you have to do is to pour the contents onto the battery terminals and leave it to do its business of cleaning it up. This is much easier than creating a solution from baking soda and water. Get a wire brush to remove any hard build-up, and that’s basically it.

Step 5 – Wash and Dry. With the terminals are almost free of build-up, you’ll have to remove the cleaning agent you used to get done with cleaning. A splash bottle comprising of water will be fine.

This step is easy to do. Just spray water to the battery terminal to remove the cleaning agent along with the dissolved corrosion build-up. To dry your battery terminals, use a cloth. Finally, slather a spot of oil on each of the terminals to prevent any future corrosion build-up.

Step 6 – Connect the Clamps. In connecting the clamps, link the positive clamp first and then do the same with the negative clamp. If you still see some build-up at this point, be sure to clean it up before you reattach. Finally, place the plastic covers on the battery terminals. You are now done cleaning your corroded battery terminals.

To keep your car battery clean, regularly maintain the battery terminals so you can prevent any build-up from happening. Usually, car batteries can last up to four years. However, do use a multimeter time and again to check it. In places with a hotter climate, you can expect your battery to die out sooner compared to areas with cold climates. So, a regular checkup is necessary.

Cleaning Agents To Use In Removing Corrosion Build-up In Car Batteries

There are several cleaning agents that you can use to remove corrosion build-up in your car battery terminals. Some of them include baking soda, cola, and vinegar. Let’s take a look at each of these cleaning agents and how you can take advantage of them to keep your car battery terminals clean.

Baking Soda

We know baking soda to be a great cleaning agent, especially in spring-cleaning your home. But aside from that, you can also use it to fix a corroded car battery. A car battery with corrosion could be the number one reason why you are having car issues. Rather than investing energy and cash at the auto shop, why not try the baking soda solution to settle your concern and help your battery last longer?

Before you begin, be sure to exercise precaution when working with your car battery. Check that your car is not running and don’t remove the car battery just yet. Inspect the parts first for any breaks, and the battery is leaking. In this case, do seek the help of a professional to replace it. Don’t try to repair it by yourself. But if you can see that the car battery is excellent, but with some massive build-up, you can try cleaning it instead.

Once you’re prepared to begin cleaning, the primary thing you need to do is disengage your car battery. Start by removing the negative clamp first, and afterward the positive one. Ensure that any metal devices you’re using do not have any contact with it. You may then proceed with the next step.

Make your baking soda solution. To do this, mix water with baking soda. You may then use a cloth or old toothbrush. When you see air pockets and foam, then that is an indication that the solution is working.


If you ever end up with a car that doesn’t start one morning, then check the battery terminals for corrosion. If you happen to have Coke in your fridge, get that and prepare your car battery for cleaning.

Perform the same process of removing the connections; starting with the negative clamp and then the positive one. Get your soda and then pour it little by little onto the parts that have build-up. You will observe some bubbling. This is Coke consuming the rust and corrosion. After some time, get a brush and clean the remaining build-up that has been stuck.

After you are satisfied with the cleaning process, pour some water over the terminals to flush away the sticky build-up caused by the reaction of the corrosion with the Coke. Finally, wipe the wet areas dry with a clean cloth.


Vinegar is easy and safe to use. A plus is that you surely have a bottle of vinegar in your kitchen. Here are the steps on how you can use vinegar to clean a corroded car battery.

1. Put on your gloves to protect your hands.
2. Open the battery compartment containing the corroded car battery.
3. Get the car battery and place it in a sealable plastic sack.
4. Use a towel so you can brush away any corrosion.
5. Place some vinegar in a bowl or glass.
6. With a cotton swab, dip it into the vinegar and then wipe the corroded areas. Repeat this process until much of the build-up has been removed.
7. With a new cotton swab, dip it into the water and then wipe the areas again. This time, to remove the vinegar.
8. When the battery is dry, you can now place it back in your car.


As a car owner, you would want your car battery to last long. That is why I recommended that you regularly check your car battery terminals for corrosion. Most of the time, your car battery can still go for another three years, but it has a corrosion build-up. If you can clean your car battery terminals, it will breathe in new life to your battery, and you won’t have to buy a new unit soon. You will save a lot of money if you know how to maintain your car battery.

Do you know other cleaning agents that we can use on how to clean car battery corrosion? If you do, feel free to share it with us so that I can include it in the next post. If you have any clarifications about the processes I shared above, do reach out and I’ll be happy to talk to you.