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How Can the Summer Heat Affect Your Car Battery?

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 7/21/2023

Many cars in a traffic jam in the summer heat

It's the middle of summer, the mercury is rising and the sun and heat are relentless. You're hot, sweaty, thirsty and need to work harder to put out the same effort as in the spring. Your car is no different. Summer is hard on your battery and you need your car, truck or SUV to start up and run all summer long without fail. The heat can take its toll on your car just as much as it can take a toll on you. Keep your car battery healthy throughout the hot summer months by following the below tips and tricks.

How Does The Summer Heat Hurt My Battery?

Overexposure to high temperatures can cause several internal issues with your car battery that you can't always see from a simple visual inspection:

  • Increased Electrolyte Evaporation
    High temperatures can cause the battery's electrolyte (a mixture of water and sulfuric acid) to evaporate at a faster rate than normal, which can reduce the battery's overall performance and lifespan.
  • Excessive Corrosion Buildup
    Heat accelerates the rate of corrosion inside the battery, affecting its internal components and reducing its capacity to hold a charge. Corrosion will also build up on the terminals and connections at a faster rate when the temperatures are higher.
  • Sulfation
    Extreme heat can cause sulfation, a process in which lead sulfate crystals accumulate on the battery plates. These crystals can hinder the necessary chemical reactions for the battery to function correctly, leading to reduced performance and a shorter life.
  • Reduced Capacity
    The scorching summer heat can cause a significant reduction in a battery's capacity, the amount of energy the battery can store and deliver over time. High temperatures increase the rate of self-discharge, meaning the battery loses its charge faster when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Strain On the Charging System
    The summer heat can put extra strain on your vehicle's charging system, including the alternator. As the alternator works harder to meet the electrical demands of various components, it generates more heat. This heat, combined with the external temperature, can push the charging system to its limits, potentially causing needed repairs.

Tips To Keep Your Battery in Tip-Top Shape

Taking a few extra minutes to take care of your battery in the summer can greatly improve the lifespan of your battery.

  1. Park in the shade - If possible, park your vehicle in a shaded area or a garage to minimize direct exposure to the sun's rays. The sun is hot and is an easy way to heat things up. Parking in the shade can significantly reduce the temperature under the hood and alleviate stress on the battery.
  2. Limit short trips - Frequent short trips can prevent the battery from fully recharging, gradually reducing its capacity. Whenever possible, combine errands into longer trips to allow the battery time to recharge.
  3. Check for corrosion - Ensure the battery terminals are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. Loose or corroded connections can hinder the flow of electricity and increase resistance, causing the battery to work harder than it needs to.
  4. Insulate your battery - Consider using battery insulation kits or thermal barriers to shield the battery from excessive heat. These accessories can help the battery maintain a stable temperature and protect it from extreme heat.
  5. Regular maintenance is a must - Stay proactive with routine battery maintenance. Regularly inspect the battery for signs of corrosion or damage, and if necessary, clean the terminals using a terminal protection kit or a mixture of baking soda and water.
  6. Test it Regularly - If you have the tools you can test the battery yourself at home, or have the professionals at Batteries Plus test your battery's performance for you to catch any potential issues before they become major problems.

Watch For the Signs of A Failing Battery

The nice thing about batteries is that, if you are paying attention, they will give you hints that it may be time for a replacement. If you are starting to see any of these symptoms, you should drive over to your nearest Batteries Plus to have it tested and/or replaced.

  • Dimming headlights and interior lights.
  • Slow engine cranking.
  • Other electronics in the car starting to malfunction.
  • The battery light is lit up on the dashboard.
  • The battery looks swollen.

Another thing to consider is the age of the battery. Most car batteries last between 3 and 5 years. If you are starting to suspect that the battery is failing, take a look at the date sticker on the battery to see how old it is. If it's more than three years old it would be a good idea to have it tested to see if it is still in good condition.

Is There A Battery That's Better For Hot Environments?

Lead-acid car batteries will work in any climate, but, there are some types of lead-acid batteries that are better than others. If you live in an area that is consistently hot, over 80 degrees regularly, then it would be a good idea to use an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery in your vehicle.

AGM car batteries, like our very own premium X2Power AGM batteries, are designed with extreme conditions in mind. We spend years developing the very best car battery for not only the everyday driver but also the serious car enthusiast because, let's be honest, that's us too.

The Batteries Plus exclusive premium X2Power line of car and truck batteries features:

  • Relentless Power
    X2Power batteries feature a significantly increased Cold Cranking Amp rating than the minimum recommendations from the vehicle's manufacturer to help crank the engine even in the harshest environments.
  • Heat Resistance
    X2Power AGM batteries are designed to withstand higher temperatures. The materials used in their construction, such as the fiberglass mat and specialized separators, can better tolerate heat compared to traditional flooded batteries. This enables AGM batteries to maintain their performance and capacity even in the hottest climates.
  • Low Self-Discharge
    AGM batteries have a lower self-discharge rate compared to flooded batteries. Self-discharge refers to the loss of battery capacity over time when not in use. In hot climates and when batteries may be subjected to prolonged storage or infrequent use, AGM batteries hold their charge better.
  • Completely Sealed
    AGM batteries are sealed. In hot areas, where evaporation of electrolyte is more common, AGM batteries eliminate the need for monitoring and replenishing water levels. This makes them more convenient and hassle-free.
  • Virtually Maintenance-Free
    Thanks to the sealed design of the X2Power AGM battery, maintenance is almost completely wiped out. The only thing that you need to do for maintenance is to routinely check for and remove any corrosion that may form on the terminals.
  • Vibration Resistance
    X2Power AGM batteries are more resistant to vibrations and shocks compared to flooded batteries. Thanks to the fiberglass mat that holds the electrolyte in place, spillage or damage caused by vibrations is significantly reduced. In hot areas, where temperature fluctuations and rough terrain can contribute to increased vibrations, X2Power batteries provide better durability and longevity.

Pick up one of these amazing batteries at your local Batteries Plus and find out why they are some of the best batteries on the road today.

Batteries Plus Is Here to Help!

Whether you need a new car or truck battery, some terminal protection supplies, or are just stopping in to have your battery tested, we are here to help!

The professionals at Batteries Plus will take the time to help you get what you need to ensure that your car or truck battery is happy, healthy and ready for anything. Contact your store today to see how we can help you beat the heat.

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