Contrary to popular belief, it isn't necessarily the cold winter weather that is draining your car battery. Heat often causes the battery to corrode and liquid to evaporate, shortening the battery life. The Car Care Council recently reminded drivers that it's just as important to keep an eye on your battery and take preventative measures to prolong its life in the summer as it is in the winter.
"When most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Many battery problems start long before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life."
Heat is the culprit
According to Interstate Batteries, extreme exterior heat - temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit - coupled with the heat under the car's hood will make the battery corrode faster than usual. In addition, the water in the battery fluid evaporates faster in warmer weather, which in turn causes the battery grid to break down.
In most cases, the battery can last for a while even as it slowly wears out during the summer, but these issues will come to light in the winter when it's more difficult to turn the engine. In colder temperatures, according to the Car Care council, the engine oil thickens, making it more difficult to start the car and requiring more battery power to do so.
Take preventative measures
To save your battery power for the winter, Car Care suggested checking the liquid levels of your battery more frequently to find out if it needs to be topped off. If the levels are low, add distilled water until the plates are covered. However, it is important not to overfill, since the heat causes the internal liquid to expand and could potentially lead to overflow. Keeping the top of the battery clean is also important, as excess dirt can accelerate the corrosion process. Keep the connections free of corrosion by frequently clearing debris from the top with a scouring pad or brass brush.
If you are unsure of how to check the battery yourself or are in the market for a whole new battery, visit your local automobile service for a tune up or for additional tips of how to extend your car's battery life.