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Car Batteries Get Beat by the Heat

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July 14, 2010
Source: Belle Tire and
Title: Car Batteries Get Beat by the Heat

How high temperatures hurt car battery life...

Myth - cold temperatures significantly shorten a car's battery life.

Fact - extreme heat leads accelerates car battery corrosion and shortens the 
average car battery life. 

Most people believe that colder temperatures threaten car batteries, but actual 
it isn't the cold that usually kills a battery; its excessive heat or a faulty 
component in the charging system. The average life of a car battery is around 
three and a half years, but warmer climates and high temperatures tend to 
shorten it. So why do more batteries fail in July versus January? 

When temperatures outside reach 90 degrees, the temperature under a car's hood 
reaches upward of 140 degrees. Heat causes car battery fluid to evaporate and 
that can damage the internal structure of the battery as well as speed up car 
battery corrosion. Specifically, if a component malfunctions in the charging 
system, that can force the battery to charge at too high of a rate year round. 

Adding to the strain on car batteries in summer months is the frequent use of 
various electronic devices by many drivers. Devices like satellite radios, GPS 
systems, portable DVD players and radar detectors are plugged in or in some 
cases hardwired to the electrical system – all of which add stress to car 

Car owners can visit local tire retailers and have an ASE Certified technician 
easily check their car's battery life, for free. This is definitely recommended 
at the three-year mark of the battery's life cycle (and every year thereafter) 
or if the car is having any electrical problems (battery dies, car won't start, 
power is weak, etc.). 

Having the car battery life checked when having electrical problems can 
prevent an unnecessary battery change as well. Tire retailers can test and 
isolate problems, so if the problem in the car is a bad alternator, and not the 
battery, you'll know. 

To get the best performance out of car batteries and help prevent car battery 
corrosion some good general maintenance tips to follow are:
  • Simply keep your car battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor draining the battery's power. Clean the battery case itself with baking soda dissolved in warm water.
  • Clean the battery terminals periodically with a wire brush to ensure good connectivity.
  • If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off (most modern cars don't require this kind of maintenance), check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
When maintenance is no longer an option and the battery does need to be replaced, new car battery prices vary in cost based on both their size and brand. The three most common group sizes are 24, 65 and 75. Standard car batteries can be as cheap as $45, with a two-to-three year replacement warranty, while premium brand car batteries can be priced as high as a couple of hundred dollars. One battery brand to consider when purchasing a new one is Exide Batteries. They are one of the world's largest producers of lead acid batteries and their deep cycle battery is great for car owners looking for longer battery life. The battery is built with denser material to reduce the effect of repeated discharging and recharging on the battery's life. Their specially designed glass mat separators project the battery from being damaged due to vibration and Exide Batteries' deep cycle models are also designed to be recharged without loss of capacity. Exide Batteries are great for cars with four-wheel drive and heavily used vehicles. Other brands include NAPA, DieHard and Kirkland Signature. Local tire retailers will be able to determine what battery is best for the vehicle and install it properly. Even if you don't live in a sunny climate like Florida, high temperatures in the summer in places such as Michigan and Ohio can really do a number on your car's battery. Maintenance can help prolong their life, but make sure to get it checked periodically so you're getting the most out of you battery. Visit http://www.belletire.comand also join our online communities: Belle Tire Cares BlogFacebookTwitter