Summer Battery Care Tips
Why is it that people only tend to think about their car battery in the winter? The fact is, summer heat can be even more damaging than winter’s cold temperatures when it comes to car batteries. And yet, few people give batteries a thought during the heat of summer. The cold hard truth is that:
- When the mercury rises, a car battery's strength goes down.
- Extreme heat, like 95° F outside combined with high temperatures under the hood, accelerates corrosion of car batteries.
- Heat causes the water to evaporate out of battery fluid, breaking down the battery grids.
Weak batteries can struggle on for months, turning over the engine while it's easy to start and generate a charge. The real test comes when temperatures drop. A weakened battery has to overcome cold temperatures and a harder-to-crank engine because the cold thickened the engine's oil. The heat's attack lowered the battery's starting power, meaning someone's going to have to call for a jump-start and a replacement battery -- unless you get there first.
The following tips help you keep your battery in shape throughout the hot summer months:
- Preventive maintenance goes a long way toward prolonging the life of your battery. Take a few minutes to read about your battery in your car’s manual and become familiar with what kind of battery it is, where it is, how to safely clean it and what the indicator lights inside your car might be trying to tell you.
- When working with your battery, always wear protective eyewear. Remove all jewelry and wear long sleeves to protect your arms from an explosion of battery acid.
- Do a visual inspection to see if the battery case is bulging, cracked or leaking.
If it is, it's time to replace it.
- The summer heat can speed up internal corrosion. Clean up the battery connections by removing any corrosion, lead oxidation, paint or rust from the top of the battery with a scouring pad or brass brush. Be sure to brush the corrosion away from you.
- If your battery has removable filler caps, open the caps and check the water level in each cell.
- Make sure the plates are covered by the fluid inside. This prevents sulfation and reduces the possibility of an internal battery explosion.
- If the water level is low, add distilled water until the plates are covered. Don't use tap water.
- Avoid overfilling, especially in hot weather, because the heat can cause the solution inside to expand and overflow.
Have your battery and electrical system professionally tested every three to six months and especially before heading out on a trip. Interstate Batteries has more 200,000 dealer locations where we'll test your battery life in about the time it takes to cook a hot dog. Get your summer started with Interstate Batteries.
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