This week’s 90-degree-plus temperatures will take a toll on automobile batteries. Many motorists are aware that cold weather is rough on auto batteries, but Triple-A of Colorado’s Wave Dreher says few people realize that heat is the number one cause of battery failure and shortened battery life.
Dreher says that with proper maintenance, most batteries have a three to five year service life.
- Ensure the battery cables have a clean and tight connection to battery terminals. Dirty, loose connections constrict the flow of current and are a common cause of battery troubles.
- Have a qualified technician check the battery fluid level. Most batteries are maintenance-free, but battery fluid level can still run low, leading to oxidation and a dead battery.
- Have the electrical charging system tested at the same time as the battery. A faulty alternator is one of the most common causes of battery failure.
- If you go weeks without driving your vehicle, get a trickle charger to keep the battery in good shape while it’s garaged. Most vehicles have electronic components such as security systems and clock and radio settings that drain a small amount of energy even when the car is turned off, often as much as 1% to 2% per day in optimal temperatures. In time, that small amount of constant drain on the battery adds up and can lead to a dead battery.