Reliable starting depends on battery care year-round, including during the hot summer months
Work truck owners most often associate battery care with the cold winter months, when low temperatures make engine oil thick as molasses, degrade a battery’s efficiency, and make that first start in the morning a hopeful experience.
And all of that is true.
But some are surprised to learn that hot summer weather takes its toll on a battery’s ability to start your truck as well.
Experts at Penray, Inc. a leading supplier of automotive chemicals, point out some surprising hot-weather issues that can affect a battery’s efficiency and starting ability.
“Heat is the enemy of all things electrical,” explains Steve Muth, Chief Chemist for Penray. “Heat in wiring, electric motors, and accessories translates into resistance, which can diminish the flow of electricity throughout a vehicle.”
“That’s why, after a hot summer’s day with the air conditioning running, a re-start after hot shut-down often reveals a sluggish starter motor trying to crank a hot, tight engine,” says Muth.
“As a result,” adds Penray’s Muth, “the battery can lose some of its electrolyte (acid) which can be replenished with distilled water or ordinary tap water as recommended by the battery manufacturer. While some batteries are permanently sealed, others have caps that can be removed for topping off.<
“There’s typically a narrowed ring an inch or two below the top of the battery that designates the fill point. Don’t overfill, and exercise care since the acid in the battery can cause burns if splashed on skin or clothing.”
“The other issue of concern with batteries, in hot weather as well as cold, is the formation of white or green corrosion where the battery cables join with the battery posts,” says Muth.
“This can eventually compromise the electrical connection there, limiting the current that can reach the car’s starter motor and other electrical accessories, resulting in a slow-crank or no-crank condition.”
Fortunately, explains Penray’s Product Manager Sarah Cooper, there’s a simple solution to the problem of battery terminal corrosion. “Our Penray Battery Cleaner and Battery Protector afford a quick and easy means of cleaning and preserving these vital connections. And the process couldn’t be easier.”
“When you see corrosion at the battery terminals, just spray on Penray Battery Cleaner, allow it to work for 2-3 minutes, then simply wipe off the residue with a brush or rag. It’s suitable for all types of batteries, and removes corrosion and neutralizes acid build-up,” instructs Cooper.
Cooper then says to spray on a coating of Penray Battery Protector, which forms a shield around the area, sealing out moisture and preventing future corrosion and oxidation.
“No one wants to get stuck with a vehicle that won’t start while on a jobsite, or even on a family vacation trip, or any time else for that matter,” explains Penray’s Cooper.
Muth adds that diesel pickups with dual batteries are sensitive to even small variations in supply voltage. So it’s important to properly maintain both batteries for reliable starting and driving.