Are Car Batteries Affected by the Heat Like They Are by the Cold?

Sun Devil Auto Expert, published on 10/20/2015

Many drivers are aware that cold weather can drain or even kill a car battery—but here in Phoenix, starting your car in a snowstorm isn’t really a concern. Is it possible, though, that hot weather can hurt your battery just like cold weather can? Here at Sun Devil Auto, we want to help you protect your vehicle from all sorts of weather-related issues.

Chilling Out

Cold weather can affect the chemical processes that occur within a battery to make electricity, slowing them down or stopping them entirely. This process reduces the battery’s ability to hold a charge and may make it completely unusable. Hot weather, though, can also affect your car battery.

Heating Up

Some studies suggest that car batteries are even more likely to fail in the heat of the summer than they are in winter. Why is this?  Extreme summer heat, or electric components putting a constant drain on the battery, can increase the amount of sulfates. By keeping the battery charged and in a cool location you can help prevent these things from happening.

Battery tests have indicated that for every 15 degrees Fahrenheit the ambient temperature rises, the life of a typical car battery is cut roughly in half. A battery that might last ten years at 77 degrees might only last for five years at 92 degrees - and if the temperature is increased to 106 then that lifespan drops to two and a half years.

Preserving Lifespan

Although we face a disadvantage when it comes to temperature in Phoenix, there are a few steps that you can take to help extend your battery’s lifespan. One good precaution is to park your car in the shade, in a carport or in a garage, instead of in the direct sunlight. Doing so will help keep the temperature a few degrees lower.

Also, try to keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt acts as a conductor and corrosion acts as an insulator, which can affect your electrical system as your battery alternately leaks energy and works harder to do its job. Also, if your battery is the type that needs to be periodically refilled with water, make sure that you keep it topped off. Finally, regular maintenance and correct installation can help you add quite a bit of time to your battery’s lifespan.

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