Understand why your car battery drains in the summer

Many people are not aware that the car battery suffers during the summer season and, as a consequence, it can be damaged. Regardless of the time of year, it is necessary to follow care and maintenance, so that this element that provides electrical energy to the car extends its useful life.


Most people know that on cold winter days it is more difficult to start the car and that there are batteries that are designed to perform better in these climates. However, what many ignore is that not only low temperatures can affect the normal operation of the car. High summer temperatures also have an impact on the performance of the car battery, which ends up affecting the vehicle’s electrical system, with the battery being the part most likely to be damaged. 

It may sound a bit strange and many feel confused by this information. However, it is a true and proven fact, which is based on two studies carried out in Spain by the companies Mapfre and Racc, which coincide in the fact that nearly half of the assistance on the road is the product of failures originated in the car’s electrical system.

According to the data in this report, about 30% of electrical failures are directly related to the car battery, either because it has been discharged or due to factory defects. Although it is true that, of this percentage, many of the discharges are due to the lack of attention of the driver, which leaves the lights on, there is also an important part that is due to high temperatures. 




Does heat really affect battery performance?

Unfortunately this is the case, heat and high temperatures do affect performance and, although you have the best car battery ( You can find some options to buy here ) , it is a constant that occurs because the optimal operating temperature of this part is about 25 degrees Celsius.

So that the variations in this standard temperature, either up or down, end up bringing direct consequences in performance and reducing the useful life of the equipment, up to 50%, if the temperature is higher than 50ºC. This condition occurs to a greater extent in older batteries and during hot summer temperatures they may simply stop working. 

If analyzed, this fact makes sense. The sulfur molecules inside the car battery break down faster and the plaque deposit on the electrical equipment increases, because the extreme temperatures produce an accelerated wear action on all the components. As a result, there is a rapid discharge and gravity is lost in the electrolytes. 

I feel this so common, it is possible that now the reason for a recent electrical fault in the car is understood. To avoid accelerated wear of the car battery in the summer, it is necessary that the vehicle be taken for maintenance and that a correct and exhaustive analysis and maintenance of the battery be carried out, as this will allow its useful life to be extended. 


Usage time influences 

According to experts, this pattern tends to occur more frequently in cars with batteries older than four years of use, so they recommend that you get a check-up before venturing out on a long road trip. 

There are different ways to check the working status of the car battery. For example, the newer models have a plastic viewer where you can see the status through color. This mechanism is not entirely secure and reading may throw errors. 

Another way is through a voltmeter, a device that measures the electric potential difference in volts, at two points in a circuit. Although its use is simple, it is advisable to protect your hands with rubber gloves, to prevent components such as lead and acid from damaging the skin. According to the recommendations, for this type of measurement the correct thing is that the car is turned off and with more than one hour of rest. 

According to the specifications of these devices, if the battery voltage is lower than 12 volts, this is an indication that the performance of the battery is no longer appropriate for the electrical needs of the car, being necessary to review the life of the battery and its usage time. If the voltmeter shows a low level of charge, it is appropriate to do an analysis of why. 

If the battery has been in use for a long time, it only needs to be replaced. However, if it is relatively new equipment, it may be a bigger problem, having to do with the car’s alternator or with the belts. 




Know the status of the battery

Similarly, another piece of equipment that can be used is the hydrometer. With this element you can have an idea about the state of charge of a car battery cell through the density of the electrolyte. In the case of batteries, they are composed of electrolytes with a 65% water content and 35% sulfuric acid.

Not everyone knows how this equipment works and measurements may not be a good idea if you are not familiar with it. In this case, the appropriate thing would be to go to the maintenance center of your choice and have them take stock of the battery status there.

If the model is damaged, it will be necessary to replace it with another battery, being necessary to obtain equipment that is of quality and whose specifications coincide with the electrical demands of the vehicle, in relation to size, starting power, weight and polarity of the terminals.

In case it only requires a little charging, it can be enabled with tweezers and another car battery. In any case, it is important not to take long routes if there is any damage.



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