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How Heat Affects Your Vehicle's Battery Life

Many vehicle owners know that cold winters can be hard on their battery, but most don't know that heat is actually worse. It might seem counterintuitive, but higher temperatures actually have a more negative impact on a battery's internal chemistry. 

In the summer, hot external temperatures make for even hotter temps under the hood, accelerating the onset of battery failure. The graphic below shows the average lifespan of a car battery throughout each climate region in the United States. Batteries in southern regions with extreme heat have a lifespan of 30 months, while northern regions with extreme cold temperatures can last, on average, closer to 51-56 months.

Battery Life Expectancy By Region

  • Car Batteries in northern regions with extreme cold temperatures, shown in blue, last about 51 months on average.
  • Midwest regions that range from cold to mild climates, (shown in green and yellow) can expect their batteries to last anywhere from 47-56 months.
  • Southern regions shown in orange and red, have high to extremely high temperatures, and should be prepared to replace their car batteries every 30-41 months.

Battery Zones

High Heat Causes a Battery's Vital Liquids to Evaporate

High temperatures cause cause a battery's vital liquids to evaporate, thus weakening its charge. Additionally, extreme heat can also speed up the corrosion process, which damages the battery's internal structure. Once a battery is damaged by heat, the capacity cannot be restored. It's no wonder that many batteries fail by the time winter is in full swing!

Best Practices for Maintaining Your Battery

Due to the high variation of climate changes in the U.S., no matter where you live, extremely high or low temps are probably unavoidable during certain points of the year. While you might not be able to escape the heat or the cold, there are a few simple things you can do to help your battery perform at its best for longer. 

Limit Short Car Trips

During short car trips, your battery doesn't have enough time to fully recharge, especially with constant stop-and-go driving behavior in the city. Longer trips without starting and stopping your car can help recharge your battery more effectively. 

Turn off Your Lights

While this might seem like a no-brainer, leaving the lights on is one of the most common causes for drained batteries. These accidents can easily be avoided by either turning your lights onto the "Auto" setting most newer vehicle models have, or by double-checking to turn off all lights prior to exiting your car. 

Clean Your Battery

Just as you maintain the exterior and interior of your vehicle, give your battery some love too. Whenever you wash your car or clean out the interior, be sure to check under the hood as well. Clean out any dirt or dust you can see. If dirt is left to sit and build up on your battery, dirt can be a conductor which will ultimately drain the battery's power over time.

Charge Your Battery

Along with the other basic maintenance items listed above, charging your battery can go a long way in terms of keeping your battery in tip-top shape! Not only can charging your battery maintain battery life, regularly charging your vehicle's battery can also help increase the lifespan of the battery. If you're looking for an easy-to-use car charger to get you started, check out our CT5 Time To Go battery charger. Or for a more advanced battery maintenance experience, check out our highly coveted CTEK MXS 5.0

Take a look at our other battery charging products by visiting our vehicle page, and be sure to check back here every now and then for more battery maintenance tips and tricks!