Long Live the Battery


Q. I’ve been arguing with a few friends about battery longevity. Could you shed some light on this?

I say that heat is the true killer of batteries. Summers of 200-degree under-hood temperatures eventually weaken the battery and it fails on the coldest day of the winter. My friends from the neighborhood claims it's not heat but cold that kills your battery.

My last few batteries have lasted five years or so. I always open my hood six inches or so on 85-plus degree days when arriving home in the evening. Thoughts?

A. Extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, are when we see the most battery failures. I must agree with you though; heat is the true killer of a battery. The battery could be overheated from extremely high under-hood temperatures or from an over charging situation.

Generally, we will see a marginal battery fail in the winter because the cold temperatures sap some of the cranking power; if you would warm the same battery up to 80 degrees it probably would start the car.

I don't know if leaving the hood up is what's giving you the long battery life, but, hey, if it's working and you don't mind doing it, keep it up.

I believe if you get five or six years out of a battery in our climate, you are doing well. It also pays to spend a little bit more on the battery so you can get more years out of it. It is also important to buy the proper size and CCA (cold cranking amps) for your car. 

  • Doug

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