extreme weather and your battery

Most car batteries last for approximately 3 to 5 years under normal conditions. As the temperature drops or rises, however, you may experience extra strains on your battery.

Extreme Cold

The near-zero temperatures this week can take quite a toll on your vehicle’s battery.

Not only is your engine harder to turn over when it is extremely cold, but these temperatures can mean that your lead-acid battery is only operating with about half of its normal power output.

A weaker cold-weather battery, coupled with a stubborn cold-weather engine, can make it a lot harder to get your car started. So a battery that starts a car fairly well at normal temperatures suddenly stops operating as the temperature plummets.

At lowell’s, we see a lot of no-start or slow-to-start issues when cold weather strikes. If you notice that your car is struggling to get started, it may be a signal that you need to replace your battery.

Extreme Heat

Your battery actually gets a lot stronger in extremely warm weather, but that extra energy comes at a price: The accelerated chemistry inside your battery in hot weather can shorten your battery’s life.

The evaporation of the fluids (acids) inside of your battery under extreme heat can corrode many parts of your starting and charging system. If you see a lot of bluish-white gunk on or around your battery, that’s a sign of excessive evaporation.

What you can do

As your battery ages, it is a good idea to have it checked a few times a year to ensure that it is putting out the appropriate level of power. Have the battery terminals cleaned and battery cable ends replaced if you see excessive corrosion around the battery.

If you typically drive a lot of quick trips, consider mixing in a few longer drives. Very short trips often don’t recharge the large amount of energy used to start your vehicle. Over time, this quick-trip deficit can place ever-greater strains on your battery, and can shorten its life considerably.

Also, consider unplugging accessory cables (like phone chargers) when the vehicle is not in use. Faulty or low-quality chargers can drain your battery when not in use.