Summer’s Sizzle Takes Its Toll on Your Car’s Battery

High temperatures drive up calls for roadside help due to overworked batteries.

Baby, it’s hot outside and even hotter under the hood of your car. According to CAA South Central Ontario, when the temperature reaches 32 C on a hot summer day, the temperature inside your car can hit 60 C and beyond. It’s why, CAA says, that they’ve noted an eight percent increase in car battery-related calls in the summer months over the last few years. And now that school is out for the summer, that’s quite possibly a whole lot of family road trips getting off to a bumpy start.

Too Hot to Handle

Hot temperatures, like that which Ontario is prone to, can lead to structural damage, corrosion and the breakdown of the charging system. "Many people worry about their batteries failing in the winter, but intense heat can be just as much of an issue as the bitter cold," says Kaitlynn Furse, manager of public relations for CAA SCO in a release. "A car battery can lose its charge 33 per cent faster in extreme heat compared to the frigid winter, draining the power necessary to start the car."

Keep Cool and Carry On

CAA offers the following tips to drivers to maximize your car’s readiness for the summer months ahead:

  • Have your car, and its battery, regularly maintained.
  • Keep your car cool by parking in a garage, carport or under a car canopy. If these are unavailable, even a large tree can give the shade needed to keep cool. Window coverings will help keep the cabin of your car cool too.
  • Clean the top of your car battery and the connections to prevent discharge.
  • Flush your cooling system with fresh coolant periodically. Coolant can become acidic over time which can eat away at hoses and seals and lead to an overheated engine.
  • Keep an eye on your vehicle's air conditioning. If it is not maintaining the interior temperature well, it may mean the refrigerant level is low. Have your air conditioning system inspected by a certified technician.
  • Ensure your tire pressure is spot on to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Driving with improperly inflated tires affects the handling and braking of a vehicle. It can also cause tires to overheat and increases the chance of a blowout.

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