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Hot weather true culprit behind battery trouble
Hot weather true culprit behind battery trouble

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Don't be stranded and inconvenienced -- make sure you take care of your car battery during the summer …

Intense early-summer weather has baked areas from Missouri to New York to Georgia with record-breaking heat. Summer has officially arrived, and with it, record-breaking temperatures soaring into the triple digits.

While the sizzling heat may be tough on us, it's even harder on our car's battery.

Summer is the season for major car battery problems.

Contrary to belief, heat, not cold, shortens battery life. Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That's slow death for a battery.

"An average of one out of four vehicles gets a new battery every year," Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council said. "Sooner or later all batteries have to be replaced, but having to so prematurely can involve more than the cost of a road service call and a new battery, it can be inconvenient as well."

To get the most life out of a battery, try the following:

-- Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.

-- If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.

-- Always replace a battery with one that's rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

-- Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power.

-- Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.

Don't let your vehicle's battery become a victim of the triple-digit heat this summer. Visit for more helpful battery tips.

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