Temperatures are rising and you’re looking forward to summer sun and fun! The question is, is your car ready to beat the heat? Everyone knows that winter’s chill can kill a car battery faster than you can say Jack Frost, but did you know that high heat is the number one cause of a dead car battery?
In the same way that sweltering temperatures take a toll on your energy level, your car battery can also give out during the dog days of summer.
When Temperatures Go Up, Battery Life Goes Down
As the sun beats down, temperatures rise dramatically under the hood. The typical car battery performs best when temperatures hover around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but on a summer day, it can reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees or higher! High temps cause the battery’s vital liquids to evaporate, weakening its ability to release heat. With less cooling liquid in the battery, internal components cannot do their job as well, eventually resulting in irreversible damage. The hotter the battery gets, the greater your chances for a battery failure.
An Ounce of Prevention
According to almanac.com, Summer 2021 will be hotter than normal through mid-August. That means the time for preventative battery maintenance is now!
Car batteries last, on average, three to five years. CAA Members should take advantage of calling a CAA Battery Service Technician to inspect their car battery as part of their routine maintenance. The Technician drives to the Member’s location (e.g., home, work, etc.) to check the battery’s charge level. They also examine the condition of the terminals and cables, while ensuring it is mounted securely under the hood.
With a little proactive care, you can avoid sweating in a scorching parking lot with a dead battery.
Safeguarding Against Summer Heat
There are several important things you can do to protect your car battery from the summer sizzle.
1. Remove Corrosion
Corrosion is bad for your battery! Removing it can help extend its life. Look for a powdery white, green, or blue substance around the terminals, posts, or cables. Wearing safety glasses and gloves, use a copper brush or scouring pad to remove corrosion.
2. Keep It Cool
Parking in a shady spot or covered area keeps it cool under the hood and helps your battery to last longer.
3. Take a Summer Road Trip
Driving short distances, especially with lots of stops and starts, does not allow your alternator enough time to recharge the battery. Taking a drive on the open highway for at least 30 minutes helps your battery recharge.
4. A Little Polish Goes a Long Way
Dirt and grease trap heat around your battery like a hot wool blanket. Wearing protective gloves, wipe your battery with a clean cloth or paper towel at least once a month during summer to prevent power-sucking grime from depleting your battery’s strength.
5. Call CAA for a Battery Inspection
Before the summer heats up, call CAA for a preventative maintenance battery inspection. If you do find yourself with a vehicle that won’t start, CAA’s Battery Service Technicians come to you, wherever you are, to test your battery and replace it, if needed. Simply call *222 or visit caaniagara.ca/battery.