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How to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar? Detailed Guide

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

FAQs

how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar

Like any other car part, your battery degenerates over time. Once it is filled with dirt, mud, and filth, it loses charge faster and fails to produce electricity to keep your car running.

I am sure every car owner agrees with me if I say you do not want a dead battery in the middle of nowhere. Right? So, before your battery gives up on you, let me give you some tips on how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar.

Ways to Clean Car Battery Terminals With Vinegar

vinegar-to-clean-battery-corrosion

Cleaning battery terminals has never been this easy. Not only are the materials easy to find, but also the steps on how it is done. Why don’t we rejuvenate car battery with vinegar? After all, it is what gives life to your precious ride!

What you need to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar

  • Vinegar
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective glasses
  • Dry cloth (for insulation)
  • Dry cloth/rag (for cleaning)
  • Clean basin
  • Clean water

Step 1: Put on the protective glasses and gloves.

Safety first. Before you even touch your battery, wearing protective gear is a must.

Remember that car batteries contain chemicals that are harmful to your health.

Step 2: Disconnect the cables

Make sure to remove the cable wires from the battery terminals. Start with the negative connection and then the positive one.

Step 3: Insulate the removed cables with dry cloth

To prevent short circuits, it is important that you wrap the removed cables with dry cloth to insulate them. Better yet, place them somewhere away from your car and any metals.

Step 4: Ready the vinegar solution to clean the battery terminals

Pour 350 ml vinegar into the basin and set aside.

Step 5: Drop the terminals into the basin with vinegar

Submerge the terminals into the basin. Leave them there for half an hour. Then, flip the terminals to the opposite side before submerging them again for another 30 minutes.

Step 6: Wipe the battery terminals

After soaking them with the solution for an hour, take the terminals out and clean the accumulated gunk with water. Wipe them with a rag or cloth to thoroughly clean battery posts.

Step 7: Air dry before reattaching cables

Make sure that the terminals are air dried before reattaching them to the car cables. When reconnecting, start with the positive connection before the negative.

With just seven steps, you now have clean car battery terminals.

But, what if these parts have been heavily corroded? Is it possible for vinegar to clean battery corrosion? Yes! Try a baking soda, vinegar battery corrosion remover.

Steps to Clean Heavily Corroded Car Battery Terminals With Baking Soda and Vinegar

cleaning-battery-terminals

What You Need

  • Protective Glasses
  • Protective Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Spray Bottle
  • Used soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Dry cloth (for insulation)
  • Dry cloth/rag for cleaning
  • Plastic or wooden surface

Step 1: Choose a well-ventilated place to clean your heavily corroded battery terminals.

Step 2: Wear your protective glasses and gloves

Always bear in mind that your safety comes first. Your protective glasses and gloves will protect you from harmful chemicals.

Step 2: Disconnect battery cables and insulate for safety

Never start the cleaning without disconnecting the cables. In electronics, it is important to remove and wrap the cables like we described above for safety.

Step 4: Lift the battery from the compartment and wipe it clean

Remove the corroded battery from its chamber. Place it on top of a sturdy surface with a lot of clearance on the sides. This will give you enough room to move around and clean the battery.

Brush away hardened corrosion dusts and particles.

Step 5: Put baking soda on the terminals

Cover the terminals with baking soda. You can use your hands to sprinkle the powder or a brush.

Step 6: Pour vinegar into the spray bottle and spray just enough to wet the terminals

Pour vinegar into an empty spray bottle and distribute the liquid with the nozzle. Do not spray too much vinegar, just enough to wet the baking soda-coated terminals.

Step 7: Clean with Toothbrush

Using the soft-bristled toothbrush, scrub the terminals to release gunk. You may need to rinse the brush from time to time if corrosion particles stick to it.

Step 8: Wipe the terminals to remove all residual moisture and let them dry.

Step 9: Clean the battery compartment; let it dry before reattaching the cables.

Before reattachment, clean the compartment with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Wipe with a clean cloth and let the whole thing dry before reattaching the cables.

Doing these steps is a piece of cake! You have just learned a must-have skill for car owners.

Frequently Asked Questions

vinegar-battery-corrosion

Why should you clean your battery terminals?

Corrosion is the number one cause that shortens your battery life. If the battery is severely compromised, your car may not start at all.

Imagine not being able to move your vehicle in the middle of the road and being late to important events, or worse, stranded. To avoid these situations, battery maintenance is a must.

When to clean car battery terminals?

Always check your battery terminals for grime and corrosion. If you see that they have accumulated dirt and have corroded, then it is the perfect time to clean them.

Will white vinegar clean battery acid? 

Yes. White vinegar is known to neutralize battery acid. You can use a Q-tip dipped in vinegar for removing battery leakage.

Can I use vinegar and baking soda to clean battery terminals?

Definitely. White vinegar and baking soda are the best cleaning agents for heavily corroded battery terminals. However, avoid apple cider vinegar for this task.

Is there a product in the market that we can purchase to prevent battery corrosion?

Now, you may want to try a product like WD40’s Corrosion Inhibitor, but I recommend using a formula specifically made for batteries instead, like NOCO’s NCP2.

Can Coke clean car battery corrosion?

Yes, car battery corrosion can be cleaned with Coke. Just like vinegar, Coke contains acid that effectively cleans grime and corrosion.

Conclusion

Batteries play a vital role in our daily life, whether in cars, remote controls, in toys, or other gadgets. To extend their service life, we need to care for them. That means giving them attention, time, and maintenance.

You have learned how to clean car battery terminals with vinegar, with or without baking soda.

With a functioning battery, you can now ignite your engine and go on your next adventure!

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Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.