AAA: Summer Heat Takes Toll on Vehicle Batteries

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PORTLAND, Ore., – Temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s and even into the triple digits across much of Oregon this week, and AAA Oregon/Idaho wants to remind drivers that hot weather heat can actually kill more vehicle batteries than cold winter weather.  Steve Fox, Director of Automotive Services for AAA Oregon/Idaho says, “Most drivers know that the cold is rough on car batteries, but most people don’t realize that heat is the number one cause of battery failure and reduced battery life.”

Fox says when temperatures climb above 90 degrees for a few consecutive days, we see a sizeable increase in drivers needing assistance.  He explains, “Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components, which can leave you stranded without warning.”

Basic battery care can help prevent unexpected battery problems.  So before you hit the road in the heat, Fox says you should follow these steps:

  • Make sure the battery cables have a clean and tight connection to battery terminals. Dirty, loose connections limit the flow of current and are a common cause of battery issues.
  • Get your electrical charging system tested at the same time as the battery. A faulty alternator is one of the most common causes of battery failure.
  • If you go weeks without driving your vehicle, get a trickle charger to keep the battery in good shape while your car is parked. Most vehicles have electronic components such as security systems and clock and radio settings that drain a small amount of energy even when the car is turned off. Over prolonged periods, this can lead to a dead battery.

Even with proper maintenance, most batteries have a three- to five-year service life. If your battery is nearing the end of its life cycle, have it tested by the AAA Mobile Battery Service. If you need a new battery, you can buy one and have it installed on the spot. We’ll even take away your old one. Visit AAA.com/Battery.

Or visit a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility to get your battery checked. AAA has about 7,800 Approved Auto Repair facilities in North America. Find the closest one to you at AAA.com/Repair.

You can also call 1-800-AAA-Help (800-222-4357), or use the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

AAA expects to rescue more than seven million U.S. drivers this summer with the top reasons being lockouts, dead batteries and flat tires. AAA estimates it will assist nearly 1.6 million motorists with dead batteries during the summer driving season—replacing nearly 500,000 batteries at the roadside.

“Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for those sizzling temperatures. When it’s hot outside, you don’t want to return to a parking lot to discover your car won’t start,” says Fox.