AZ Car Battery Basics – Keep That Battery From Withering in the Arizona Heat
Your car battery, like most car parts, receives little consideration until there’s a problem with it — for example. . . your car won’t start.
Unfortunately, your car battery has a fixed lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. Most batteries last around three years, but with excellent care, they can function for up to five years.
The desert heat in Phoenix can be particularly hard on batteries.
- Service your battery regularly & properly — be sure to ask your mechanic to check it when you take your car in for an oil change.
- Check the water level inside your battery. This is often forgotten, and letting it run dry can do considerable damage. Refill it with distilled water when necessary, being careful not to overfill. Filling it with tap water and/or overfilling can cause major problems.
- Ensure your battery terminal and leads are clean and well-connected. Clean with a steel brush and baking soda, when needed.
- Check the battery straps. Rocking and/or bouncing car battery will die much faster than a secured one.
- Always install the appropriate battery for your car’s power requirements.
- Never use car stereo amplifiers, and avoid running lights or music when the car is off. Its life is shortened by anything that causes the battery to drain faster than the alternator can recharge it.
- Avoid short trips and starting your car frequently, as these drain your battery’s power without giving it enough time to recharge.
- Some batteries don’t require ANY care at all! …thanks to advancing technology, but just be sure to know which type you have.
Extreme cold and extreme heat take a toll on your battery’s life.
An old battery in Phoenix barely stands a chance in the summer!
- While car batteries dying due to extreme cold often show signs of their impending failure, batteries dying of extreme heat often give no warning at all.
How Do I Know Which Car Battery Is Best for my Car?
When it’s time to replace a car battery, keep several things in mind to help you decide which battery is best for your car.
New or Refurbished?
Many Arizona auto parts shops will offer to sell you a refurbished battery, but it’s important to understand the difference between a new battery and a refurbished one. Refurbished or used car batteries are unlikely to last as long as a new one due to “memory effect,” where it cannot hold a full charge. Although it can be less expensive, you are likely to replace a used car battery much faster than a new one. It may not be cheaper in the long run.
Chose the Right Size.
Choosing the right car battery is very important, as choosing one below your car’s specifications will cause you to have to replace it sooner, and choosing one above your car’s needs will do nothing except cost you more. Your mechanic or the car’s owner manual will tell you what size and capacity your particular car requires. Universal fit batteries fit most cars and are designed to supply large amounts of a current draw over short periods of time, but these can be two to three times the cost of a normal battery.
Investigate the Warranty and the Battery Date.
Ask about the warranty offered on the battery you are considering. A good warranty will offer a free replacement if the battery dies within a specified amount of time, and a prorated replacement if it dies after this period. Discount stores sell batteries for slightly less, but they are usually older models. Check the date on the battery before purchasing one from a discount store.
Don’t Buy It Just Anywhere.
Who wants to be stuck on the side of a highway (or parking lot) in 110 degrees Phoenix weather? Buying a good quality battery is too important, so don’t buy it at a discount store, or even just any Phoenix auto parts store. Professional quality parts have a MUCH longer lifespan than retail quality auto parts. Ask any good mechanic why not, & we promise you’ll learn something you didn’t know! As in all major car decisions, having a mechanic you trust is imperative. A good mechanic will walk you through the process, helping you make the best decision for your needs.
More automotive repair tips & advice articles to come: Finding the Best Air Conditioning Repair (A/C Repair) Service in Scottsdale, Break Repair 101: ABS Break Service Shop Questions for Glendale – AZ Residents, What’s is an Engine Tune-up & service in Gilbert, Learning to Care for your Transmission to avoid the Repair Shop, Why Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement go hand and hand.