Most of us have experienced that dreadful moment when the car simply refuses to start. While we often equate dead batteries with those frigid temperatures of winter, did you know that summer months are actually harder on your car’s battery? In fact, batteries in cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months, while those in warm climates are given just 30 months.
After you drive your car in warm weather, your battery begins discharging on its own in just 24 hours – something that takes several days in cold weather. That means you could easily find yourself waking up to a dead battery in extreme heat conditions if you don’t take proper steps to keep your battery healthy. Here are five ways to give your battery the TLC it needs this summer:
1. Keep it cool
Since heat drains a car’s battery, parking it in a cool or shaded spot can buy your battery extra time. (Added bonus: Your car’s interior will be cooler when you get in, too!)
2. Increase your driving time
Driving short distances is a sure way to kill the battery because the alternator needs time to recharge the battery after it’s been started. Short trips with lots of starts and stops don’t allow time for your battery to fully recover.
3. Cut down on car battery drain
These days, we’re asking a lot from our cars, with electricity-loving devices such as navigation systems, DVD players, MP3 players, smart phones and onboard computers draining the battery. Everything you plug into the system takes a toll, so re-evaluate what you really need and how often you use it.
4. Keep it clean
Dirt and grease serve as insulators that trap heat around the battery. Wiping it down with a paper towel or rag on a regular basis will help keep the power-draining grime from accumulating. Check out Car Care 101 for more engine cleaning tips to help keep your car on the road.
5. Get a car battery charger
Consider investing in a car battery charger. If you park your car for long periods of time, such as when you go away on vacation, a car battery charger will keep it from going dead while not in use. Learn more about extending the life of your car’s battery.
Even with proper car battery maintenance, a dead car battery can happen at an inopportune time. Learn how 24-hour emergency Roadside Assistance from Nationwide can assist you in the case of a dead car battery or other car troubles.