Modern cars are designed to be dependable transport for everyday use and to sustain all weather conditions. This doesn´t mean that the weather doesn‘t affect car batteries and electrical systems. In fact, it does, pretty much and it could cause problems with starting and loss of battery power. The temperature differences and air moisture are the car battery‘s worst enemy, especially if you don‘t drive your car often. Today, we will explain what cold or hot weather does to your battery and how to prevent problems.
Low temperatures really affect car batteries mainly due to slowing down chemical reactions needed for recharging and storing electrical power. This means that a car battery needs twice as much recharging time and is prone to failure twice as much in winter. That is why so many car batteries die during winter months since they are under a lot of stress to produce enough power under tough conditions and low temperatures. For example, if you don‘t drive your car over winter holidays and you leave it outside, you will probably experience slow cranking and possibly failure to start once you sit behind the wheel, so be ready for jumpstarting your car after Christmas.
Extreme temperatures can damage a car battery due to the fact that heat can make battery fluid boil and affect its chemical potential. If the car battery loses its fluid some way or another, it will cause the battery to die immediately. During hot summer days, engine makes a lot of heat already and due to high outside temperature, the car battery is under a lot of stress. Not to mention the fact that it has to power headlights, car audio, air conditioning and charge your phone at the same time.
In most cases, car battery is located just under the bonnet and despite the fact it is not directly exposed to the elements, it is definitely affected by them. Rain and moisture is the biggest enemy of the car battery and can cause several problems. First, the battery can drain all by itself if the car is left for long in moist surroundings. The reason is chemical reaction between air and water molecules and electricity. Also, excessive amount of water near the car battery will affect the wires and electric modules. That is why all modern cars have their electric components in waterproof boxes for safety.
Even if the battery isn´t drained by the presence of rain or moisture, battery internals or connectors can oxidize. Oxidation, which is a form of rust, can appear on wires and connectors and it is easily identified by white or green residue. This is nothing serious but if could affect the flow of electricity since it acts like isolation. The best solution is to clean the residue with iron brush and spray some anti corrosion compound which will keep the connectors clean and in perfect working order.