Seasonal Weather Impact On Your Car Battery
Checking the condition of your tires, brakes and windscreen wipers is standard practice for keeping your car on the road all year long. But battery maintenance can often be overlooked, and this can cause issues down the track.
Extreme temperatures can put excessive strain on your battery, which is already working to power over 150 electrical accessories. Whether you are driving to the snow in winter or heading on a road trip during the warmer months, the last thing you want is to get stranded.
How is your battery impacted by warmer weather?
The optimal temperature for a car battery is around 20°C, but during the summertime temperatures can soar to double this in some areas. Extreme temperatures can cause an increase in the battery’s internal chemistry and increased self-discharge, which speeds up the aging process.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the battery will fail right away, but the battery could be impacted by the heat. Avoiding these problems from progressing and leaving you stuck out in the cold means checking your battery year-round.
What happens to your battery in winter?
During the colder months, low temperatures cause the chemistry inside a battery to slow down, and it needs to work harder to get going. The need for a high level of power to heat your car, defrost your windows, use headlights in compromised road conditions and more can put more pressure on the battery as well.
Colder weather also makes the oil in your engine thicker. The consequence of this is that, again, your battery must supply more power to start the car than when it’s operating within optimal temperatures.
Preventative maintenance to keep your car battery performing well year-round
The best way to avoid the inconvenience of a breakdown – regardless of the time of year – is through periodically checking your battery and providing preventative maintenance as required.
It’s possible to reduce the likelihood of car battery failure in extreme temperatures by:
- Keeping your car under cover so it isn’t as exposed to severe weather;
- Turning headlights and other accessories off when the vehicle isn’t in use, to avoid unnecessary drain on the battery;
- Paying attention to early warning signs, such as a slow cranking engine;
- Periodically checking your State of Charge (S.O.C.) indicator. If it appears black, your battery will need to be immediately recharged;
- Checking the voltage of your battery every three months and making sure the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) doesn’t drop below 12.5V. If it does, your battery will need to be recharged.