Archive for the ‘car battery’ Tag

Feeling the Summer Heat? Your Car Battery is Too

If the heat of summer is wearing you down, it is likely taking its toll on your car battery too. Contrary to popular belief, summer highs rather than winter lows pose the greater threat to battery life, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

Sooner or later all batteries have to be replaced. Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

“When most motorists think of dead batteries that cause starting failure, they think of severe winter weather, but summer heat is the real culprit,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many battery problems start long before the temperatures drop. Heat, more than cold, shortens battery life.”

Colder temperatures increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.

To get the most life out of a battery, the Car Care Council suggests the following simple steps:

imageBe sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

Battery Test By A TechnicianDriving habits such as frequent engine on/off cycles will cause more wear on the starter than a simple back and forth to work. Other factors include driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems. Check the battery if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” and/or battery light illuminated.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/feeling-the-summer-heat-your-cars-battery-is-too/

Advertisements

How Long Does a Car Battery in a New Car Last?

Though battery problems are often associated with cold weather, Consumer Reports magazine says heat is a bigger enemy of car batteries and will take a bigger toll on performance and reserve capacity. The magazine recommends that vehicle owners in hotter parts of the country have their car battery tested after two years of ownership and then every year after. Those who live in colder areas can wait four years to test performance and capacity, and then every year after.

“Heat kills batteries,” according to John Banta, a Consumer Reports project leader and part of the team that tests batteries for the magazine. “Many times in cold climates your battery fails to start your car on a below-freezing day. The reason this happens is that the heat of the past summers has weakened your battery. When you use it in the cold, the starter requires more electrical current to turn over the cold engine with its thickened oil.”

Testing a battery’s performance and reserve (or amp-hour) capacity is not just a matter of seeing whether it will hold a charge (or checking the electric eye found on some batteries to see if it is green), so testing is best done by an auto technician.

Read more at: http://www.cars.com/auto-repair/expert-tips/electrical-and-lighting/how-long-does-a-car-battery-in-a-new-car-last/