You may not be in the deep freeze of Whitehorse or the sauna of a Regina July, but prepping your auto battery for temperature extremes is key to keeping you moving.
Your auto battery checked out fine during your last scheduled maintenance service. You didn’t leave your lights or radio on all day while you were working. So why isn’t there even one spark when you turn the key in the ignition?
Check the temperature. Bundled up against record cold in Calgary? Breathless from the hottest summer day in Kamloops? Your battery is suffering too, drained and needing a boost. Anywhere you live or travel in Canada, from time to time you and your battery may have to endure extreme cold or heat.
Before you get dead silence instead of your engine turning over, here are some tips to keeping your batter going longer.
Your battery can fire up in the cold
Do temperatures much lower than freezing mean certain death for any battery? Wouldn’t you feel great having an auto battery built to stand up to the coldest winter mornings? You may not have to drive in Whitehorse when it’s -52 C, but here are some major points to look for in a good cold-weather battery for your family car.
Ask your mechanic or techs at the auto supply store about the cold cranking amps – the CCA right on the battery sticker. They tell you how the temperature will go and your battery will still start. You want the highest CCA you need. Rule of thumb: A 700 CCA means that battery will start at -17 C. You measure how much lower you want to go from there.
An auto tech will have to find this information for you, but also check a battery’s reserve capacity. That tells you how long your car can run off that battery’s power if the alternator fails. Once again, the higher the capacity, the better.
Can your car battery die of heat?
Simply, yes. You feel sapped of energy at 35 C or more and so does your battery. In fact, heat can zap your battery faster than cold. The good news is you live in Canada and don’t need a hot-weather battery all year round. Still here are some tips so you can rely on your battery during scorchers:
- Use an extreme-temperature battery with a good warranty – two years
- Buy a battery with a deep reservoir
- Buy a corrosion-free battery or clean your battery regularly
- Get a regular battery inspection and charge check
- Have your mechanic charge up the battery or DIY with a battery charger
Stuck with a dead battery anyway? Call for help.
Know how to safely boost your battery? Great. If you have a portable jump starter kit in your car, you won’t have to find a friendly driver to share their battery juice with you. Don’t even know which end is which on a booster cable? Be safe. Call your motor club or nearest road service for a battery boost.