Caring for Your Car Battery in All Seasons

Many factors affect the lifespan of car batteries. One factor is how often and how far the vehicle is driven, and another is how old the battery is. Although car batteries typically last anywhere from three to five years, harsh temperatures can cause them to have a shorter lifespan. Each region has seasons that vary widely in temperature and weather conditions, but car battery maintenance is important throughout each one to increase the longevity of its lifespan. Performing battery maintenance on a regular basis, particularly during the harsh temperatures of summer and winter, can prevent premature wear and tear and help your device have a longer life.

Winter Maintenance Tips

Cold weather can cause drastic damage to car batteries. At freezing temperatures, a battery can lose anywhere from 35 to 60 percent of its charge because of the strain. During the winter, it takes more power from the battery to get your vehicle cranked and warm. When added stress is put on the battery by people charging smart phones in their cars, it is no wonder that, statistically, most battery failures occur during cold snaps. Car battery maintenance is essential to keep your vehicle functioning correctly.

Checking your battery often or choosing a cold weather car battery during winter can help you preserve its life so you are not left stranded. Check to make sure all of the battery connections are tightly secured. Check the cables, fasteners, and posts to make sure they are free of corrosion and in good shape. If you find corrosion, use a wire brush to clean off the battery. Finally, whether you are maintaining an old battery or installing the best battery for cold weather, secure the device to the battery tray to cut down on affects from engine vibration.

For regions with mild winters, it may not be necessary to inspect the battery thoroughly more than once. Using a battery charger to keep the device at full strength may help it retain strength during particularly cold snaps. For regions that experience harsh winters, it is usually a better idea to perform several maintenance checks during the cold weather.

Spring Maintenance Tips

With the mild temperatures of spring, the weather will likely not affect your car battery. However, it is still important to monitor the device. If your car is slow to start when you crank it, if the headlights dim only when the vehicle is idling, if you hear grinding noises, or if your battery is more than three years old, you may need to get your battery tested to make sure it stays strong for the coming summer heat.

Summer Maintenance Tips

Intense summer heat spells disaster for many car batteries. Sweltering temperatures often lead to corrosion. Hot weather can also cause problems with the liquid electrolyte inside a battery, causing the water to evaporate and the electrolyte levels to be unbalanced. Regular summer car care can help you find and repair potential issues before they become major problems.

To care for your car battery during the summer, it is important to test the strength several times to make sure that it is functioning properly. If your battery has a low charge, check the electrolyte fluid. The liquid should fill half of the battery. If it needs more fluid, add clean, distilled water until you have the right amount of liquid.

Fall Maintenance Tips

Similar to spring, fall brings mild temperatures, although they can be somewhat unpredictable. Now is the time to perform yearly vehicle maintenance to make sure your car is ready for winter.

Test your battery and charging system to make sure they are strong. If the inspection reveals a weak battery, replace it to get ready for the chill of winter.

Keep Your Car Running Smoothly

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Harsh weather can cause trouble with several essential car parts, including the battery. To get the most for your money and keep your battery working as long as possible, test it each year before severe temperatures arrive. When a battery passes the test, perform maintenance checks on a regular basis to keep it working correctly. If the test is failed, go ahead and replace the battery so that you are not left stranded unexpectedly. A little preventive care goes a long way.