What to Know About Heat and Car Batteries

Like people, car batteries age over time and have a set lifespan. Even in the best operating conditions, batteries gradually break down until they can’t power the engine.

One key factor in battery life is heat, which causes the chemical reaction batteries use to create electricity. However, it also causes batteries to degrade faster. In cooler northern climates, a battery may last five years or more. In hot southern areas, three years is more typical. Car batteries in Ohio typically last about three-five years depending on usage and driving conditions.

Batteries also live in a harsh environment where temperatures can easily reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit in hot weather. To protect them from this heat, automakers may put the battery in an isolated area, install a heat shield over it, or move the battery outside the engine.

You may have a battery problem if the engine cranks slowly (or not at all) or the Battery/Charging warning lamp lights up. Another weak battery sign on older cars is dim headlights, especially at idle. However, not every failing battery reveals itself through such obvious symptoms.

While it’s common to hear of batteries dying in the winter, summer heat can be harder on them than the winter cold. After three years, have your battery tested annually. Members can schedule a free battery test with AAA Mobile Battery Service, and a new battery can be installed on-location or at any of our AAA Car Care Plus repair facilities in Columbus.