We all know the consequences of poor battery maintenance during cold winter months. But high summer temperatures can be just as damaging to a vehicle battery.
“Excessive heat causes the fluid in your battery to evaporate and can weaken its charge, causing plate corrosion,” explains Brandon Klassen, a supervisor with automotive services at AMA. “If you pop the hood and notice corrosion built up around the terminals, it may be a sign of a weakening battery caused by excessive heat.” In Alberta, batteries typically last three to five years. If yours is at or approaching that age, get it tested.
Checking your battery’s health is particularly important if you’re planning to head out on a summer road trip—especially if you haven’t been driving as often due to COVID-19.
“When you drive your vehicle daily, you help maintain your battery because it’s being recharged by the alternator,” says Ian Potyondi, owner of Snow Auto, an AMA Approved Auto Repair Service (AARS) facility in Edmonton. “But with COVID, people may leave their vehicles sitting for a week or two, only taking it out on grocery runs.”
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That’s not enough to maintain the battery: The charge slowly gets lower until the car won’t start anymore. “Sometimes we can charge the battery for a full day to bring it back to life,” Potyondi explains. “Other times, we’re not so lucky and have to change it out.”
CHECK OR REPLACE
AMA members can book a Mobile Battery Service appointment in Calgary, Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. Elsewhere, the service is available by requesting Roadside Assistance at ama.ab.ca/Battery. Or if you’ve taken your vehicle for maintenance at an AARS shop like Snow Auto, just ask for a battery inspection too. Potyondi says it takes as little as 15 minutes.
“We start by ensuring the posts are clean of corrosion and the cables look good,” he says. “Then we load the battery to about half of its cold cranking amps rating. If it drops below 9V, it’s either weak or has failed, at which point it’s time for a replacement.”
AMA offers CAA Premium Batteries at competitive prices based on your membership tier. Plus members save $20 and Premier members enjoy a $40 discount. Installation is free for Battery Service replacement.
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“CAA’s battery manufacturer is one of the best on the market for quality,” Potyondi adds. “They have a three-year replacement warranty, plus another three years of pro-rated warranty, which is hard to beat. We have very few warranty-related issues with the batteries.”
SUMMER VEHICLE PREP
Because you should check more than your battery.
Tires: Before a big road trip, ensure they’re inflated to the correct pressure. Check the sticker inside the driver’s door for the right PSI.
Windshield: Dusty back roads and muddy mountain passes can wreak havoc on your windshield. Be sure to top up your wiper fluid.
Fluids: Top up other fluids, like oil and coolant. Consider getting a full inspection when winter tires come off to ensure there are no leaks.