What Causes Batteries to Fail?

Your car's battery always seems to go dead on the coldest day or the year, so it must be frigid temperatures that sound the death knell, right? While it's true that lots of batteries tend to quit in cold weather, extreme temperatures are the real culprit, and that means hot as well as cold.

Lead acid batteries are built to withstand a wide range of temperatures, but the colder temperatures get, the more the battery's cranking power decreases. The reverse happens when temperatures are extremely hot. Your battery's capacity increases as temperatures rise, but that phenomenon actually stresses the battery instead of helping it, resulting in decreased life.

Reduced battery capacity, increased draw from the starter and your vehicle's accessories all contribute to battery failure in the winter. In the summer, older batteries are prone to fail when they overheat or when they overcharge in hot weather.



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