Most drivers think cold weather is the real car battery killer, but what they don’t realize is that the summer heat is really what starts the downfall. Because of the damage heat can do to your battery in the summer, by the time winter comes, your battery could well be on its last legs.
Here are the major factors that cause summer to wear down your car battery and how aspiring automotive technicians can prevent the damage, fix it, and prepare car batteries for the winter months.
Summer Heat’s Effect on Batteries
When it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter under your hood. If the outside temperature is 90 degrees, it’s probably around 140 degrees underneath your car’s hood. This heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure and speeds up corrosion. These two factors affect both the internal and external structures of the battery.
These effects from heat during the summer might not cause your battery to die immediately, but they can jump-start the deterioration and decrease the average life span.
How You Can Prevent Damage
You can’t control the weather and decide what the temperature will be, but you can take steps to prevent your battery from getting damaged by the heat.
Grease on your battery holds in heat, and the corrosion on the terminals caused by the heat will lead to electrical problems with your vehicle. Dirt can also drain a battery’s power, so cleaning your battery will help keep it functioning properly.
To properly clean the outer casing of your battery, water mixed with baking soda tends to have the strongest effect. Cleaning the terminals with a wire brush with allow for optimal connectivity. By keeping your battery clean in the summer, you inhibit grease and corrosion combustion.
By making an effort to keep your battery cool, you can keep it healthier in the hot months and the cold ones that follow. Keeping it cool means parking it in the shade or a closed garage. If neither of those are a possibility, simply propping the hood open for periods of time will cool your battery a little bit as well.
How You Can Tell If Your Battery is Damaged
If you failed to take any of these precautionary steps that will keep your battery alive long after the summer, there are a few ways to tell if the heat has already gotten to your battery.
- Your first step should be checking to see if there’s any visible damage to your battery. If you notice any bulging, cracking, or leaking, your battery needs to be replaced immediately.
- If you feel that your car is losing electrical power, is having trouble starting, or you need to frequently jump-start your car, your battery is probably damaged, and you’ll need a repair or even a new battery.
- Sometimes you won’t even be able to tell if your battery is damaged. Signs of heat damage might not show up until it’s too late, which could put you in a terrible situation, such as having your car die on the side of the road in a snowstorm. It’s important to have your battery checked by an automotive technician before the winter months to see if the summer heat did in fact damage your battery in any way.
An aspiring automotive technician should know how to take care of a car battery during any time of the year. Sustaining your battery is important for automotive care and being able to identify early signs of a damaged battery will save you a lot of trouble and money.
If you’re interested in other ways you can maximize the value of your vehicle, you can download our eBook The Car Lover’s Guide to Automotive Pearl Paint. Don’t forget to contact Automotive Training Center for more information or to sign up for classes!