Mechanic Tips

How to Keep Your Car’s Battery Going Strong, Even in Brutal Aussie Weather

Have you ever jumped into your car on a scorching Aussie summer day, turned the key in the ignition, and been met with nothing but a sad little click? Or maybe you’ve run into trouble on a frosty winter morning, cursing under your breath as the engine sputters but refuses to turn over. There’s nothing worse than being stranded because of a flat car battery. But there are plenty of things you can do to protect your car battery from extreme weather conditions. Follow this guide to keep your battery in good nick, no matter what the weather throws at you.

Battery Basics – How Batteries Work and Why Weather Matters

First things first – let’s cover the basics of how a lead-acid car battery works. Inside the battery are lead plates submerged in an electrolyte solution of sulphuric acid and water. When the battery is providing current, a chemical reaction occurs: lead reacts with the sulphuric acid to produce lead sulphate, releasing electrons and creating electricity.

This chemical reaction is impacted by temperature. In hot weather, the electrolyte evaporates faster, drying out the battery. In cold weather, the electrolyte thickens, making it harder for the chemical reaction to occur properly. Both high and low temps hinder the battery’s ability to provide power.

Extreme weather also speeds up corrosive build up on the lead plates inside the battery. This corrosive sulfation eventually prevents the battery from charging properly. That’s why taking steps to protect your battery from intense heat and cold is so important.

Beat the Heat – Keep Your Battery Cool

On scorching hot Aussie summer days, the temperature inside your engine bay can reach extremely high levels. This heat zaps your battery’s strength. Here are some ways to help your battery keep its cool when the mercury rises:

  • Park in the shade – Keeping your car in the shade whenever possible prevents the interior from heating up excessively in summer. The cooler the better for your battery.
  • Use a windshield sunshade – Pop a sunshade in your windshield when your car is parked. This provides insulation and keeps the interior temps down.
  • Crack the windows – Leaving your windows slightly open allows hot air to escape the cabin and reduces the sauna effect on your battery. Just make sure no rain can get in!
  • Give it a rest – Avoid running nonessential electronics like the stereo when the car is turned off in hot weather. This prevents added drain on your battery.
  • Check connections – Make sure battery cable connections are clean and tight. Corrosion and loose connections create resistance which hinders charging and produces extra damaging heat.
  • Consider a battery blanket – You can purchase insulated battery blankets that wrap around the battery and shield it from engine bay heat. This prolongs battery life in hot climates.

Defeat the Cold – Keep Your Battery Cozy

Frigid Aussie winter temps can also wreak havoc on your car battery. Batteries lose capacity in cold conditions, and the slowed chemical reaction makes it hard for your engine to turn over. Here are some winter battery care tips:

  • Park in a garage – Get your car out of the elements by parking it in a garage whenever possible. This protects your battery from temperature extremes.
  • Warm it up first – If your car has been sitting out in the cold, let the engine run for a few minutes before driving. This warms the battery and gives it a boost.
  • Check the charge – Cold weather is hard on your battery’s charge. Use a tester to check the charge level and top it up if needed.
  • Insulate the battery – You can purchase insulated battery wraps that provide an extra layer of protection from winter temps. This helps your battery hold a charge.
  • Keep it charged – Run the engine regularly throughout winter to keep your battery charged. Go for a short drive at least once a week if your car sits unused.
  • Lube the terminals – Apply a thin coat of terminal protector grease on your battery posts and cable clamps. This prevents corrosion and keeps connections trouble-free.

Give Your Battery Some Extra TLC

In addition to weatherproofing steps, make battery maintenance a regular part of your overall car care routine. Here are some tips for keeping your battery in top shape year-round:

  • Inspect battery posts and cables monthly. Clean any corrosion buildup with a wire brush or baking soda/water paste.
  • Check the charge level and top up with distilled water as needed. Only use distilled water in your battery – tap water contains minerals that increase corrosion.
  • Test the battery every 6 months or so. Many auto parts stores and workshops will do a free battery test for you. This allows you to spot problems before your battery leaves you stranded.
  • Consider replacing your battery proactively every 3-4 years. Battery capacity diminishes with age, so you’re better off swapping in a fresh one occasionally.

Our expert mechanics at SNC Automotive keep Aussie drivers in Brendale and surrounding suburbs motoring along smoothly. We know batteries cop a beating in Queensland’s extreme weather conditions. That’s why we offer top-notch battery testing, maintenance, and replacement services to help maximise your battery’s lifespan. Our transparent pricing and friendly service aim to take the stress out of auto maintenance. Give us a call or swing by the workshop to ensure your battery withstands whatever Mother Nature throws its way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Caring for Your Car Battery

How can I tell if my car battery needs to be replaced?

Signs your battery is on its way out include slow cranking when starting your engine, the need to jump start frequently, flickering headlights, and battery tester results consistently under 12.4 volts. As batteries age, their capacity to hold a charge diminishes. Average battery lifespan is 3-5 years.

What type of battery is best for hot climates?

Look for a high-capacity battery with thin lead plates. These batteries withstand heat better. An AGM or gel battery can also outlast standard lead-acid batteries in hot Aussie conditions. Discuss options with a qualified auto electrician.

Should I disconnect my car battery when I go on holiday?

It’s a good idea to disconnect your battery if your car will be sitting unused for a few weeks or more. This prevents gradual battery drain from systems like alarm and radio memory. Just be sure to disable any anti-theft systems first or you could encounter issues.

How can I revive a dead car battery?

You may be able to revive a battery that is accidentally drained by giving it a slow charge for 8-10 hours. But a battery that dies due to old age and loss of capacity needs to be replaced. Trying to recharge an old battery that has sulphated is usually ineffective.

Keeping your car battery in good working order is crucial, especially with Brisbane’s extreme summer heat and winter chill. Follow these battery care tips to maximise performance and prevent getting stranded with a flat battery. And be sure to schedule regular maintenance checks to catch any brewing troubles early. With some simple diligence, your battery will keep turning over for years to come.

this page: