Summer puts more strain on car batteries than winter. While a sudden change in temperature may zap a battery, excessive heat requires internal battery components to work harder to provide consistent power for critical electrical systems in your car or truck. Here are a few tips for vehicle owners and drivers in regions with hot weather to maintain a charge and prolong the life of lead-acid batteries.
Turn Off Unnecessary Accessories While Idling
The battery in any vehicle will last longer if it has a chance to recharge to restore the power drawn by accessories. Stock accessories such as the radio, door lights and headlights are sufficient to drain a battery, not to mention aftermarket devices or systems.
The alternator in your car or truck recharges the battery when you drive for longer distances. It should take about half an hour of highway driving or more than one hour of city driving to recharge most vehicle batteries. You do not have to drive this much every day. A few times a week should be sufficient to keep the battery in your car or truck charged and ready to go.
Keep Corrosion In Check
Drivers in humid climates may know how quickly rust or corrosion can form on battery terminals and other metal components. Auto supply brands make part cleaners and car paint scratch repair kits. You can also mix baking soda and water to form a paste and apply this mixture to terminals with a small brush. Scrub off buildup and rinse terminal ends with a spray bottle filled with cool water.
Charge the Battery When Necessary
If you don’t have an opportunity to drive for a sufficiently long distance for the alternator to recharge the battery, you should invest in a car battery charger. This tool can prevent a battery from dying even if you have to leave a car or truck parked for a long time.
Pick up a charger at an auto parts store near you by searching or browsing the inventory of an auto parts retailer online or looking up where to buy windshield wipers and other necessary parts near you.An automotive battery with a declining capacity or function will need to be charged on a temporary basis and ultimately replaced.
Select the Right Replacement
These hot weather battery maintenance tips are helpful for car and truck owners and drivers who live in any hot climate, from humid Florida to the Arizona desert. Even car batteries used under ideal conditions and only exposed to mild to moderate heat only have an expected operational life of two to five years. When you get a new vehicle, determine what oil filter do I need and check the battery specifications.
Make sure that the old battery from your vehicle gets recycled. Lead-acid car batteries are some of the most frequently recycled items, and plastic and lead from these components are reused to manufacture new batteries. The replacement battery you buy should have sufficient amperage and reserve capacity to function reliably in the weather in which you usually drive.