Does temperature affect battery life?

0 votes
in Autos & Vehicles by (2.9k points)
how does heat affect battery life
does temperature affect phone battery life
does temperature affect battery life science fair

1 Answer

0 votes
by (1.4k points)
The automotive battery is a very interesting device in an automobile.  There is no other part that is more neglected and then expected to perform at peak capability.  On top of this, the automotive battery responds to certain outside elements depending on the climate in which it is installed.  

For example, living in the Northwest, we are subjected to a moist and mild climate.  This affects battery life in many different ways.  For instance, moisture contributes to corrosion on the posts of a battery.  This can drastically affect the starting capability of the battery, due to the electrical current having resistance to overcome before reaching its destination, which is usually the starter motor.

This mild climate we live in also produces cooler weather.  Cooler weather can cause starting problems due to a battery's inability to respond by warming itself up. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery loses up to 50% of its starting ability.  Insulation blankets are available, but most of the buying public does not invest in such preventative maintenance items.  

When the season changes in the Northwest, warmer weather appears.  Although more of an ideal climate, when the heat is excessive, it produces resistance.  This is a battery's number one enemy!  Too much resistance and a battery simply will not be able to release its charge to the starting components of an automobile.  The same insulation blankets that keep a battery warm in cool weather also reduce heat when the weather is warmer.  Please invest in one to maximize the life of your battery!

There are areas in the United States that have what is known as extreme climates.  These areas typically require that car batteries be made especially for them.  For instance, in Alaska, where temperatures can reach 60 below zero, a battery needs extra insulation.  In this region, batteries have an extra layer of material inside the cover to maintain some semblance of protection against extreme cold.

Battery warmers are also available in these climates.  If not used, a battery simply cannot be relied upon to start any vehicle.  The chemical reaction inside a battery that is necessary to provide power to accessories must be stimulated by some sort of temperature in order to happen.

Arizona is at the other end of the battery damaging spectrum.  Here, temperatures approach more than 130 degrees!  Resistance is the main enemy of a battery in this climate.  Manufacturers of batteries will typically add more lead to the plates to be able to resist melting.

This melting shorts the plates out, which causes the battery killing resistance I spoke of earlier.  Brass terminals are also standard equipment in this region, as lead can sometimes melt when combined with the normal heat in an engine compartment. Go to your nearest auto - parts store for more information.

In summary, the climate plays a large part in battery life and maintenance.  Consumers must be aware of the inherent battery killers in their climates.  They must also respond with the proper maintenance techniques and items to counter these killers.  What will result are more satisfied consumers, and less perfectly good batteries being recycled.