Is Your Car Battery In Danger of Dying?

Posted by at 14 September 2020, at 12 : 00 PM

Is Your Car Battery In Danger of Dying?

Car batteries are made better than they have ever been. Yet they also have shorter lives in many vehicles. This is especially true right now. What’s happening to cause this? Here are three reasons for car battery replacement that may surprise you.

Excessive Summer Heat

All across the United States and other parts of the globe, summers have seen temperatures the highest they have ever been. Los Angeles County registered 109 degrees in September. Phoenix was topping 115 degrees in August. There isn’t a region in the country that hasn’t suffered from high heat. If this includes your home, you will want to watch over your car battery carefully.

Here’s what’s happening. The battery has liquid in it. In a cool climate, the liquid would evaporate very slowly. Heat cranks up the evaporation process. This vital component wasn’t designed to take excessive heat, especially for a long length of time.

In addition to evaporation dangers, the starter and alternator that keep the battery charged are more likely to break down when high heat is a factor. A broken starter or defective alternator won’t deliver enough power to the battery.

To reduce the effect of heat on your car, you should park it inside an attached garage. Keeping the temperature in the garage cooler than outdoors is key. This winter, you may have forgotten about the high heat, but your battery may have been weakened by it. Given all of this, it’s wise to watch your gauges and take your battery for testing if there’s a hint of trouble.

Quarantine Driving Habits

Many people are working remotely. They aren’t using their vehicles very often. This causes a car to sit in a driveway or garage for days, weeks, even months at a time.

During this interval, an aging battery may lose its charge. To avoid this, rotate which cars are used by the family and make sure all of them get some driving time, even if it’s just running errands.

If this is the first time you have used your car in awhile, it is worth lifting the hood and just looking before you start. Among the signs of a dead battery, there may be a rotten egg smell or an obvious leak. You shouldn’t drive the car or touch the battery without getting some solid advice first. A sluggish start is an indicator that you need to get your battery checked. As you drive, watch for such warning signs as intermittent radio, flickering lights or a tell-tale dash light.

Entertainment Technology Overload

Responding to customer demand, car companies have added one, two or even three screens to our cars. With each system, there comes a demand for power. This constant drain on the battery is greater than in the past when it was just a simple radio.

Newer cars have many systems that may need power all at once. Let’s say you have a stop-start system. Your engine pauses, ceasing the electricity that charges the battery. While you sit at the redlight, you have one or more screens actively engaged. These are controlling your radio, your GPS, and more. Meanwhile, your ventilation system is working hard to keep you cool. The light turns green, and you push the pedal signalling the starter to engage. A weak battery will have trouble restarting the car.

Car manufacturers make sure all of this technology works as expected, but they have ignored the strain on car batteries. Some manufacturers have acknowledged that strain and have added a separate battery for these systems. You’ll find a second battery in many hybrids, including the Toyota Prius. However, most gas-powered cars do not have an extra battery and must rely on their one and only.

Monitoring your battery’s strength regularly can help you avoid a dead battery. Your vigilance will cost just a few moments of time, but you will be protecting the engine’s electric systems from strain. The cost of a battery is much less than the cost of a new alternator or starter.

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