When summer comes, drivers lose their vigilance – mistakenly assuming the batteries are safe on hot days. Meanwhile, high temperatures have a negative effect on their fitness. To avoid unpleasant incidents on the road and avoid self-discharge, it is enough to follow a few simple rules.
Do you drive away and leave your car in an open-air parking lot in full sun? When you return, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises in the form of a dead battery. Why? The answer is simple. In hot weather, the temperature under the hood rises and chemical reactions take place more quickly. When the air temperature reaches 30°C or more, self-discharge occurs much faster in an unused car. If we drive the car every day, the battery is systematically charged while driving. A few days in the parking lot is enough to bring the charge level down. How to avoid forced downtime and the need to use jumper cables?
Check the battery charge status
The voltage of a properly charged battery is 12.7 volts or higher. When the value falls below 12.5 V, it is a signal that it is starting to discharge. Check these values systematically to avoid self-discharge. You can do it yourself, using a voltmeter plugged into the cigarette lighter socket, or with the help of a proven mechanic with a new generation intelligent tester. This intelligent device is multifunctional and also allows the assessment of: the vehicle’s electrical system, the correct operation of the alternator and starter.
OUR TIP: When using a voltmeter, keep in mind that you will get a reliable result by measuring the parking voltage at least half an hour after your ride. Otherwise, its value will be overestimated.
Use conservative charging
If you do not use the vehicle for several days in the summer, try not to discharge the battery by trickle charging. This minimizes the effects of heat self-discharge. You can use an intelligent charger for this, with which you can easily charge your battery. The device does not require user control. It not only sets the parameters and charging time, but also stops charging by itself, which prevents the battery from being overcharged.
OUR ADVICE: When using an older generation device to charge the battery, do not forget to check the process, which in this case is not automated. Overcharging can lead to an uncontrolled rise in electrolyte temperature and damage to the battery.
Take care of cleanliness
When the battery is in use, dirt (eg oil residue) and dust accumulate on the housing or between the terminals. Systematically uncleaned terminals tarnish over time, resulting in limitations in the flow of electricity. A dirty battery can discharge itself faster. To avoid this, you just need to take care of it – clean it regularly with a cloth and a special clamping brush, which can also handle dirty or dirty clamps.
OUR TIP: When cleaning the clamps, check that they are not loose and retighten if necessary. Loose terminals can impede the flow of electricity and cause problems starting the vehicle. An unstable mounting can even drain the battery quickly.
Park in the shade and keep the fluid level under control
If you want to protect the battery against discharge and extend its life, do not leave it in direct sunlight for too long in the summer. The influence of sunlight on the batteries is so great that manufacturers recommend regulating them at 20 ° C after sun exposure, because every 10 ° C above this limit accelerates the self-discharge phenomenon, even twice.
Engine overheating can also have a negative effect on the car’s performance. To prevent this, it is good to check the oil level and top up coolant in the cooling system.
OUR TIP: If you have an older lead-acid battery with access to cells, check the electrolyte level in each cell. If this is not enough, it is necessary to top up the liquid with distilled water.
Source of information: Exide Technologies, own elaboration