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How Weather Affects Car Batteries

How Weather Affects Car Batteries

How Does a Change in Weather Affect my Car’s Battery?

If you live in a four-season climate, you’re used to extreme changes in the weather. These shifts can take their toll on your health, your psyche, and of course, your car battery. A typical car battery operates best between 30 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so temperatures above or below that range can mean big problems for your battery.

Car battery problems due to cold

Here’s an interesting fact! Starting a car engine in cold weather can take up to twice as much current as is needed under normal conditions. This is why so many batteries die in the winter.

Here’s why:

  • In cold weather months, engines are harder to turn over (all the oil inside has turned thick and goopy) which means your battery needs even more juice than normal to get the job done.
  • The chemical reactions that produce electricity slow down as the temperature decreases, making it difficult for a battery to produce even its normal amount of energy, let alone twice as much.

Keeping your car in a garage and getting your battery and fluids checked before the winter months hit can help decrease your chances of getting stranded with a dead battery.

Battery problems due to heat

Contrary to popular belief, hot weather is even more detrimental to your car than cold weather.  An average car battery can last anywhere from three to seven years, but that lifespan can be significantly less in warm-weather climates.

Here’s why:

  • Excessive heat can actually accelerate the battery’s chemical operation, causing battery fluid to evaporate.
  • Loss of battery fluid can permanently damage the internal structure of the battery.

One way to help keep your battery functioning properly year-round is by keeping it clean. The terminals should be corrosion-free, and of course, be sure to have the battery checked regularly by a professional.

Tips for getting the most out of your car battery

  • Store your car in a garage if possible
  • Avoid charging things like cell phones and GPS devices through your car
  • Keep the battery clean. Excessive dirt can drain battery power
  • Always replace a battery with one that is of equal or higher quality than the one originally specified
  • Be sure your electrical system is charging the battery at the right rate. Undercharging and overcharging can be equally damaging

No matter where you live, what you drive, or how many miles you put on your vehicle, it’s important to feel confident in your car’s battery by getting routine battery checks. If the engine crank is slow, or you hear clicking, you might need a new battery. Learn about your battery options here, or schedule an appointment for a battery check at Sears Auto Center today!

 

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