How to Clean Car Battery Terminals

If a car does not start, then there might be an expensive problem like a failed starter. Or on the contrary, the problem could be simple like the battery failing to properly initialize. By knowing how battery terminals are cleaned, the gunk build-up can be easily seen around the terminals which is affecting the performance of the car. Here is a moderately easy guide for cleaning battery terminals.

Things Needed

  • Screw driver
  • Razor blade
  • Wire-bristled brush
  • Cola
  • Electrical tape
  • Protective gloves

Clean Car Battery


  • Open the car’s hood and secure it. The battery terminals have to be disconnected from the battery. Don’t forget to wear protective gloves to avoid contact with battery acid. Use a wire-bristle brush for scrubbing off any visible corrosion around and inside the ring terminal and out. The inside of the ring terminal would have to be scraped with a screwdriver in case the wire-bristled brush is not effective.
  • The excess dust left by the cleaning form screwdriver or brush should be blown off. If the terminals are scraped properly, then a clean and shiny metal will be seen instead of a corrosive material.
  • The wires leading to the battery terminals should be examined. If the sheathing of the copper wire has corrosion in form of whitish or greenish powder, then this also has to be cleaned. The wire housing has to be sliced open about half inch from the top using a razor blade. If corrosion is seen, continue cutting until the clean copper is seen. Any corroded wire should be removed and leave enough wire that can easily reach the terminal. Use an electrical tape to seal the wire. If this looks impossible, then it is better to buy a new cable.
  • Pour water and baking soda solution or a can of cola over the battery terminals as an alternate way for cleaning them. The solution of water and baking soda and the acid in the cola eats the corroded material near the battery terminals allowing a better connection between the battery terminals and the battery.
  • Once cleaning has been done, the positive clamp has to be replaced first and then the negative clamp should be replaced. Tighten them with a wrench of proper size. The plastic shield or rubber boot covering the positive terminal can be now replaced.

Now when a simple guide has been explained for cleaning battery terminals, it can be cleaned often.

Tips and Cautions

Never work on the car’s battery with the engine switched on.