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Don’t let summer be one big breakdown

Don’t let summer be one big breakdown

Today’s motorist knows the importance of proper maintenance procedures on their vehicle in preparation for the winter months but may not realize they are placing their car at risk of breakdown during the summer months due to lack of vehicle maintenance, according to CTEK, the leading global brand in the care and maintenance of vehicle batteries. 

When you consider that July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded in human history (based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), this July is proving to be equally compelling with Colorado, parts of Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, the Great Plains and the West experiencing heat waves to rival record temperatures. This makes protecting your vehicle from the summer heat more important than ever. 

If the temperature is hot outside, you can be certain it will be even hotter 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. 

And with these challenges, it’s easy to think that that charging your battery over the summer months is the last thing you need to do.  Bobbie DuMelle, Executive Vice-President of North America explains why it’s just as important and how you can beat the heat and keep your vehicle running all summer long.  

The warmer the environment, the faster the rate of self-discharge:  A battery being stored at an average temperature of 80 will discharge at a rate of 4 percent per week. Whereas a lead acid battery being stored at 65 will only discharge at a rate of approximately 3 percent per month. 

Heat gives you a false sense of security:  When it comes to the state of your battery during the summer months, you can think everything is ok when it really isn’t.  If the battery is undercharged during the warmer weather, it will still probably be able to start the vehicle as it doesn’t need as much energy to get the engine started. Motorists don’t realize, therefore, that their battery is becoming discharged, resulting in a dead battery at the end of the summer, the moment temperatures begin to drop. 

It’s important to maintain voltage – whatever the weather:  If your battery falls below 12.4V, a chemical reaction called sulphation will start to happen. This is where lead sulphate crystals start to build up on the battery plates, degrading the battery, reducing battery capacity, and cranking potential. Your vehicle will easily start if the battery is at 12.4V but beware because your battery is already dying. 

You risk overcharging your battery in the warmer weather:  Delivering an uncontrolled charge risks fluid loss through overheating or ‘boiling’, and the battery will become unusable due to dried-out cells. If temperatures reach 77 degrees Fahrenheit and above, batteries should be charged at a lower voltage to avoid this. 

DuMelle said “Not only is it important to charge over the summer, it’s also important to charge with the right charger to protect against over-charging. Our CTEK MXS 5.0 for example has built-in temperature compensation so it reduces the charge voltage going into the battery to eliminate potential damage to cells and prevent overcharging. Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a dependable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense, year-round.”