Most of us love summer; unfortunately, the batteries in your car or truck don't share that same sentiment. Intense summer heat can wreak havoc on your battery, shortening its lifespan significantly. In fact, car and truck batteries are more likely to fail in hot weather than in cold. So why do car batteries fail in hot weather? Excessive heat causes the fluid in your battery to evaporate, weakening the battery’s charge and causing plate corrosion. This eventually leads to sulfation (crystals forming on the battery’s plates), which will eventually make your battery unusable. Fortunately, you can prevent this by learning how the summer can affect your car battery and performing some basic maintenance. Here are our top 5 ways to prepare your car for summer heat.
Park in the Shade
A great way to maintain your battery is by taking simple measures such as parking your vehicle in a garage or an area where there is some sort of shade. When you leave your car in direct sunlight the hood quickly heats up and expedites heat damage. Avoiding areas of direct sunlight will help lower the temperature by a few degrees, which can play a significant role in extending the life of your car battery.
Clean Your Battery Terminals
Dirt and corrosion have a negative impact on your battery’s performance. Dirt will act as a conductor and will drain your battery power faster. Likewise, corrosion on your battery's terminals will act as an insulator, impeding current flow, causing your battery to work much harder to do its job.
There are a number of ways to keep your battery terminals clean. Terminal protectors and an anti-corrosion spray are great for preventing this. If your battery currently has corrosion (usually appearing as blue in color) you can clean it using a battery terminal brush and a solution of baking soda and water. In addition, be sure to regularly check your terminals year round to make sure that no new corrosion has appeared.
Avoid Driving Short Distances
Short trips put a greater strain on your car’s battery. This is because the alternator requires time to recharge the battery after starting the engine. If possible, avoid taking short trips where you are frequenting starting and stopping the engine.
Trickle Charge Your Battery
The use of a trickle charger with a maintainer throughout the summer months can help to offset the drain from high temperatures. This is especially important for vehicles that sit idle for long periods of time. The use of a car battery charger will help preserve the battery’s life and prevent it from going dead while not in use.
Choose a Replacement Wisely
When choosing a replacement car or truck battery, we recommend Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) types, as they are better than flooded batteries at preventing the buildup of sulfation.
Bring it to the Experts
If you have questions about the condition of your car or truck battery, or are in need of car battery maintenance, visit your local store for a free battery test and systems check. Let our trained, knowledgeable staff members test your battery and diagnose the problem – no appointment necessary.