How to Save Your Battery this Summer
As you know, the temperature can be pretty scorching in Australia and New Zealand during the summer months, so it should come as no surprise that high temperatures are one of the leading contributors of battery failure. Summer heat is tough on vehicle batteries because it accelerates the ageing process. In fact, the service life of a battery can be up to 25% shorter when operating in hot climates.
As an example, if the outside air temperature is 32°C, the battery temperature under the hood could be up to 60°C. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause the water in the battery’s electrolyte to evaporate which can accelerate corrosion and damage the internal structure.
The effects from the summer heat will not cause your battery to fail immediately however it will certainly decrease battery life over time. To avoid being stranded on the road or at home, you can take a proactive approach to looking after your vehicle’s battery just as you would with the vehicle. Here are some tips from the battery experts at R&J Batteries on how to help your battery survive through summer:
1. Keep the Heat at Bay
Avoid the blazing sun whenever possible to reduce the battery temperature. It’s best to park in the shade or in an undercover area. This is a simple step you can take to help maximise the longevity of your battery.
2. Avoid Short Drives Whenever Possible
Your driving habits can also contribute to battery failure. Driving short distances with frequent stops does not give the alternator enough time to replace the energy taken from the battery to repeatedly start the engine.
If you make lots of short trips, it is recommended that you should drive the vehicle for 20-30 minutes every couple of weeks so the alternator can recharge the battery. Another alternative is to purchase a multistage charger that will charge and maintain your battery.
3. Check the State of Charge Indicator
Some batteries have a state of charge indicator on the top of the battery. This is worth keeping an eye on – if it shows green the charge level is OK however if it is black, the battery needs charging.
4. Check for Corrosion Deposits Around the Posts
This is one of the basics of battery maintenance. Your battery’s terminals should stay clean however occasionally a battery post may develop some corrosion, which is a white powdery deposit.
This can lead to a poor contact between the post and terminal. The corrosion can be removed using a small brush to clean it with a combination of 1 tblsp of baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of warm water. If the corrosion returns, you should probably consider having the battery checked or replaced.
5. Don’t Leave Your Vehicle Unused for Long Periods
Leaving your vehicle unused for a prolonged period of time can lead to a flat battery. Batteries tend to slowly self discharge, and most vehicles will also draw a small amount of power when they are switched off.
This will discharge the battery and can lead to sulphation which shortens your battery’s service life. If you are not going to use your vehicle for an extended period, connecting a multistage battery charger will keep your battery charged and ready for use.
6. Find the Right Battery for Your Needs
If you live in a particularly hot region of Australia or New Zealand, you may want to consider having your battery checked every 12 months. At R&J Batteries, we carry a wide range of automotive and commercial batteries from world-class brands like ACDelco, Delkor, Fullriver, Hardcore, Koba, Mottobatt, Odyssey, Optima and Predator.
The abovementioned tips are simple ways you can take care of your vehicle’s battery yourself this summer. If battery maintenance is not your strong suit, the battery experts at R&J Batteries are available to help. Get in touch with your local R&J Batteries store today via our Store Locator below.