Tips For Avoiding A Dead Battery In Any Weather And Get Peak Performance Out Of Your Vehicle Battery
June and July saw record heat worldwide according to the World Meteorological Organization, and August is trending to be just as hot. As the summer heat intensifies, it’s not just our bodies that need extra care and attention; our vehicle batteries also require special consideration to ensure optimal performance and reliability. With scorching temperatures and extended road trips on the horizon, it’s important to understand the unique charging needs of your vehicle battery in the extreme heat.
Temperature always plays a significant role in the life expectancy and performance of 12V batteries. Exposing a 12V battery to high temperatures, such as those experienced this year, can lead to accelerated aging. Heat increases the rate of chemical reactions inside the battery, causing the electrolyte to evaporate more quickly and accelerating internal corrosion.
“It’s a common misconception that 12V batteries last longer in warm weather than they do in the cold, believe it or not it’s actually the other way round,” says Bobbie DuMelle, President, CTEK North America. “Batteries rely on chemical reactions to produce and store electrical energy. The rate of discharge is higher with heat that means we need to charge more often.”
Temp compensation will actually reduce charge going into the battery to protect against over-heating the battery that can cause something called desiccation: If a battery becomes overcharged, due to too high voltage being used during the charging cycle, the battery loses water due to evaporation. As a result of this, the batteries charging plates become exposed and begin to dry out, causing permanent and irreparable damage.
Sulphation, a process where sulphate crystals accumulate on the battery plates, can occur when the battery is left in a discharged state for an extended period. In the winter, the battery needs to work harder and you won’t be able to start with a discharged battery. That’s why many of you proactively charge and maintain your vehicle battery during the winter, to avoid breakdowns and a discharged battery. In the summer however, your vehicle will probably be able to start even if the battery is discharged. You’ll think your battery is doing okay when in reality, it’s dying. When your battery falls below 12.4V the sulphation process begins, and you won’t notice it until it’s too late.
CTEK has some top tips to help maintain your 12V vehicle’s performance, reliability, and safety during the hot weather conditions.
- Check the battery. Hot weather puts a strain on your battery, so it’s essential to check its condition. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can significantly shorten the overall lifespan of a 12V battery. It can lead to internal damage, increased self-discharge, and a decline in the battery’s ability to hold a charge over time. Regularly checking the battery’s condition and addressing any issues instantly can help ensure reliable starting power and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
- Understand how heat affects your battery: As temperatures outside heat up, so does the temperature under the hood of your car, truck, or SUV. This creates an atmosphere that can be harmful to your battery. This built-up heat can increase the chances of battery failure, as corrosion can speed up and intensify. In addition, water inside the battery in the form of electrolytes can evaporate. Battery related service calls tend to increase over the summer months for these very reasons.
- Be sensitive to changes. Be aware of any changes in the way your car starts, or the operation of the electrical system in general. Do the lights dim considerably when you try to start the car? Does the starter seem to be turning slower than normal? Any changes can indicate a weak battery or problems in the electrical system.
- Charge before you go. Make sure your battery is fully charged and in tip-top condition before you leave home. Driving around in your vehicle will only ever charge your battery to around 80 percent capacity so, to top it up to 100 percent, you’ll always need an efficient battery charger. When plugged into the outlet or another power source, a smart battery charger like CTEK’s MXS 5.0 will check how much charge you have in your battery and get you fully charged for your trip.
- Carry emergency supplies: Traveling off-grid during the summer can be wonderful, until breakdowns happen! Prepare for any unforeseen situations by keeping emergency supplies in your vehicle. These may include a spare tire, a portable battery charger and adaptive booster like the CTEK CS FREE®, flashlight, extra water, and a first aid kit. CTEK’s CS FREE® is a portable adaptive booster that can start a dead battery in only 15 minutes, without damaging your vehicle’s sensitive electronics. It’s actually a 4-in-1 unit that is a portable battery charger, smart maintainer, adaptive booster and a hi-tech power bank!
- Time to Replace Your Battery — Depending on where you live, how you drive and how you look after your battery, the lifespan of your vehicle battery could be greatly impacted one way or another. Extreme temperatures, frequent short trips and general everyday use could shorten the life of your battery to as little as two-three years, or the lifespan could be tripled by proper battery care. Pay attention to all the proactive ways you can prolong your battery life, and you could save time, money and the hassle of a dead battery at the most inopportune time.
- Invest in a Battery Charger/Maintainer — Charging your battery at least once a month prolongs its life up to three times, turning regular battery maintenance with a reliable battery charger into a smart routine for savvy motorists. When you consider that battery failure can damage or compromise a vehicle’s electronics, a charger makes a worthwhile investment for the long haul. The MXS 5.0 Charger/Maintainer from CTEK has an automatic temperature sensor to ensure the duration and rate of charge is exactly the amount needed. The MXS 5.0 with built-in functionality for both maintenance and troubleshooting offers a patented technology that can recondition your battery and remove sulphation to restore battery health for greater longevity and efficiency.
To find out more, visit www.smartercharger.com. CSFREE® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Established in Dalarna, Sweden, CTEK is the leading global brand in battery charging solutions, most specifically vehicle charging. CTEK offers products ranging from 12V and 24V battery chargers to charging solutions for electrical vehicles. CTEK’s E-mobility solutions range from individual EV chargers to larger corporate and commercial installations with multiple charging stations that require load balancing and integrate seamlessly with monitoring and payment equipment. CTEK’s products are sold via a carefully selected network of global distributors and retailers: as original equipment; supplied to more than 50 of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers; and through charge point operators, property owners and other organizations/individuals providing EV charging infrastructure. CTEK takes pride in its unique culture based on a passion for innovation and a deep commitment to supporting the transition to a greener mobility, by adhering to industry leading ESG standards.