Keep Your Battery Cranking All Summer Long

Published on May 06, 2019 12:00 PM in Maintenance
Keep Your Battery Cranking All Summer Long

Extreme heat, just like intense cold, puts tremendous stress on your vehicle’s battery.

Then it happens one day after work: The key fob won’t unlock the doors. And once you manage to get inside the cabin, you hear that tell tale click-click.

Your battery is dead, sapped by the stress of relentless summer heat.

This could be avoided with a trip to your trusted service center, where experts can check your electrical system and battery itself.

"Many drivers think cold weather does damage to the battery, but it's the heat that is the start of its downfall," says Dr. Christian Rosenkranz, vice president of engineering at Johnson Controls Power Solutions, a manufacturer of a variety of brands of vehicle batteries.

Vehicle batteries are tasked with far more than simply helping start the engine these days. It also needs to power a navigation system, charge your cell phone, operate a back-up camera and enable that plethora of 21st century conveniences to function.

It gets hot under the hood. Real hot. And that puts a lot of burden on the battery, especially when those summer heat waves hit.

Consider gridlock or slow-and-go driving, when the engine generates less energy and the alternator alone can’t handle your vehicle’s demand for electricity. It’s at these times that your battery gets pressed into extra service.

Day after day of that takes its toll.

Johnson Controls Power Solutions offers some tips and advice about helping your battery live its best life.

  • Ask your service advisor to test the battery’s power retention capability and assess its overall condition. This diagnosis should let you know if you’re going to be able to make it through the summer.
  • Preventative maintenance is always best. A vehicle’s charging system should be checked every three months, or every oil change. Your service center might even include a multipoint inspection with an oil change; this inspection would likely include the status of the battery and charging system.
  • Batteries sometimes give subtle warnings that they’re weakening. Difficulty starting the engine, low headlight intensity, and sluggish power accessories (think windows that roll up and down slower than usual) are all signs that the battery is weak or there’s an issue with the electrical system.
  • Corrosion kills. Rust and crust on the terminals can diminish the effectiveness of your vehicle’s battery. Corrosion accelerates at high temperatures, so battery maintenance is crucial during the summer. Don’t allow corrosion to build up on the terminals.