Have you ever blamed cold weather when your car batteries died? Most people do, but what they don’t know is that warmer temperatures do the most harm.
Why Car Batteries Die?
This happens because it can vaporize the electrolyte quicker than when it’s cold and it allows for corrosion of internal plates. What makes the battery die in cold days is the damage done by the heat in warmer months that may not show up until the battery is taxed out from constant exposure to the heat during the year.
Cold temperatures can condense motor oil, which makes it difficult for the engine to turn over. Plus, a cold battery has a lower cranking power.
Current fuel and electrical systems can hide a weak battery by starting the engine at a low cranking power, however, professionals say when a drained battery experiences cold conditions it’s more likely to fail.
Tips To Protect Your Car Battery
Here are some tips that mechanics recommend to protect your car battery:
Try to minimise heat exposure
A popular misconception is that cold weather kills car batteries – but this is not strictly true. Car batteries do have to work harder to start your engine during the winter months, but the reason why so many fail during winter is mostly due to damage they sustained during the heat of the previous summer.
Extreme heat is hard on batteries because it increases the rate of water evaporation from the cells – even in sealed top batteries.
So what can you do? Well, basically anything you can think of to reduce the temperature subjected to the battery. Parking your vehicle in the shade where possible and keeping your vehicle garaged while not in use are both great ideas – or you can look at ways to help insulate the battery from heat generated within the engine bay.
Change your car’s battery every three years
Firstly, mechanics recommend changing your car’s battery every three years – though you could get away with five years, depending on how much and how you drive. Many garages will test the battery using a computerised battery tester which will also assess the starting and charging system.
This will show if the battery needs to be re-charged or replaced. Your car won’t start if its battery is low on charge.
Keep your battery tightly fastened
Vibration can reduce the life of your car battery, so it is vital that you always use an approved battery clamp to ensure it is properly held down at all times. If not securely fastened, excessive vibration could damage your battery’s internal components – creating short circuits and reducing battery life.
But don’t make the mistake of over-tightening the battery clamp nuts to the limit of your strength – because you might damage the battery! Instead, simply tighten the nuts until you feel the resistance start, and then continue for only an additional half turn.
Keep battery at the correct charge when not in use
Not using your car for a long time. Attach a smart trickle charger to keep them topped up and protect your batteries from extreme temperatures.
Not only this will maintain your car battery life but also replenish batteries with energy for self-charge that goes to ‘float mode’ automatically when your battery is fully charged.
However, you need to keep an eye if the trickle charger is overcharged as it may damage the battery.
Keep an Eye on the Water Levels
Modern car batteries do away with the need for you to check the water levels from time to time.
However, if your battery needs water, make sure you keep an eye on the level and have it topped up whenever necessary. Failure to do so can reduce the useful life of your car battery.
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