Posted on 29-09-2014
Filed Under (Industry News) by Chloe Davies

Battery

Andrew Webb, marketing director of First National Battery – parent company of the Battery Centre outlets – explained that it was the high ambient temperatures of summer, and the resulting under-bonnet heat, that really shortened battery life and were a major cause of battery failure further down the line.

JUMP-START TIME

According to Webb, most people don’t think about the damage the summer heat does to their car battery because the resultant problems only become apparent when the temperature drops in winter.

“A weakened battery can keep going for a few months,” he said, “but when cold weather further reduces power output, that’s when you find yourself looking for a jump-start or buying a new battery.”

There are, he said, preventative measures you can take to protect your car’s battery in the summer heat that’ll help them survive the winter months – here are Battery Centre’s top summer battery care tips:

KEEP IT CLEAN

To ensure your battery delivers all its power, keep the terminals clean of any corrosion (To remove that crusty deposit on the positive terminal, use warm water, baking soda from the kitchen and an old toothbrush) and make sure they’re tight – not forgetting the clamps that hold it in place.

And before you clean anything, make sure you know what type of battery it is and which terminal is which!

KEEP AN EYE ON IT

At least once a month, check the battery for evidence of problems such as leaks – not only will a leaking battery die the first time the temperature drops, the spilt electrolyte (which is actually quite a strong solution of sulphuric acid) will chew holes wherever it drips in the car’s engine compartment.

Fortunately the remedy is simple if you catch it early – replace the battery and flush out the engine compartment with lots of cold water.

CHECK YOUR LEVELS

Most modern batteries are ‘maintenance free’, meaning that under normal operating conditions you shouldn’t have to top up with water. If the battery shows signs of losing its cranking power, ask your nearest Battery Centre to check the electrolyte levels.

It’s important that the plates are covered by the electrolyte in order to prevent sulphation – that’s when the dry plates get covered in a coating of sulphur crystals, which drastically reduces their efficiency.

if the level is low, add distilled water (not battery acid) until the plates are covered. Avoid over-filling as this can lead to acid spill (see above!).

GET IT TESTED

The worst possible conditions for a battery are actually during your summer holiday trip – a heavily loaded vehicle, high ambient temperatures and high average speeds for long periods combine to turn the engine compartment into battery hell.

You wouldn’t hit the high road without having your tyres and shocks checked; do the same for your battery. Battery Centre outlets offer a free check with ‘smart’ testers that’ll tell you everything you always wanted to know about your car’s battery but didn’t know how to ask.

Webb concluded: “Regular battery checks are the most important thing you can do to make your car’s battery last longer.”

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