by Mary Wimmer
Summer is here! And so are the sizzling hot temperatures. Along with sticky tires and scorching hot leather seats, the heat can also affect the performance of your car battery.
When a battery is exposed to heat for prolonged periods, some of the fluid inside of it evaporates. If the fluid level drops significantly, that can cause irreversible damage in the form of corrosion, which damages the internal structure of the battery.
Batteries die in the summer, but their funeral more often than not is in the winter – that’s when they’re most prone to going from being “on the fritz” to downright failing. Here are a few warning signs:
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your car’s battery from scorching outdoor temperatures.
Here are a few tried-and-tested tips to keep your battery in peak condition:
Limit short car trips. Your battery doesn’t have time to fully recharge on short, stop-and-go trips which can cause it to weaken sooner.
Ensure lights are off. Double check that the vehicle’s exterior and interior lights are off after you turn off the ignition.
Charge often. Hot weather increases the battery’s self-discharge, so you may have to charge the battery more frequently if you don’t drive the vehicle often.
Keep it clean. Your battery’s positive and negative posts should be kept clean. Dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power.
Keep it off. Don’t use electronics (radio, USB port, power outlets, etc.) when the ignition is off.
Avoid parking in sunlight. Whenever feasible, park in the shade or a covered garage, to protect your car from the intense heat that direct sunlight generates.
Check the heat barrier. Many batteries will have a heat barrier to protect them from excessive heat. Make sure that barrier is still in place.
Be sure to get your battery checked periodically, especially in the fall. You can do so at a CAA-Approved Auto Repair Garage near you. And remember that the best defense against a sluggish car battery is a new battery. It’s always better to replace an older battery when it’s convenient – not when you’re stranded. Having a CAA Membership means you have access to free battery testing*.
Additionally, CAA Members in Ottawa (Metro), Sudbury and Thunder Bay experiencing any signs of a failed battery can dial *222 from a cellphone and a trained CAA Mobile Battery Service technician will be dispatched to assist.
Through the program, a technician will test, replace and recycle an old car battery on the spot. Plus, CAA Members always get exclusive pricing on CAA Premium Batteries – and delivery and installation are included, at no additional cost.
*The tests can be performed on a request for roadside service, and the results are emailed directly to the member and can also stored in our cloud for future reference, if needed. If a CAA Member has called in for any type of initial service call and a test is performed, it will count towards their allotted service calls. However, if the test fails and a battery requires replacement, the member is not charged with an additional call at that time or any time in the future to replace the failed battery.