Houston's temperatures can reduce your car battery's life by one-third, auto shop owner says

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Batteries are struggling to operate in Houston's heat
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Experts share tips on taking care of your car and electronics' battery life amid the brutal summer heat.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mike Yu said he's owned Midtown Auto Service on Almeda Road for 25 years, and each summer, he receives cars that don't start due to the climate.

"Everyone thinks batteries die in cold weather, but, normally, heat kills a battery faster," Yu explained.

Rob Milstead, president of Texford Battery Company, which is located across the freeway from the University of Houston, elaborated on hot temperatures and their effect on your car, phone, and laptop batteries.

"(The heat) prevents your battery from operating as efficiently," he said while explaining how heat ruins batteries by damaging their internal parts.

SEE ALSO: Heat and mental health: Doctors urging mindfulness about your sleep amid soaring temperatures

A quick internet search will show you a car battery is expected to last between three and five years, but Yu said Houston's temperatures can reduce that number by one-third.

He said a car battery should usually sit in temperatures of 90 to 110 degrees but are regularly surrounded by temperatures of 140 degrees in southeast Texas.

Milstead said consumer-electronic batteries like the ones found in laptops or cell phones run at their most efficient when used in temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees.

Both men said there isn't much you can do to protect your batteries from being damaged by these temperatures, though you have a few options.

Yu said it can be effective to point a fan at your car's radiator when it's parked.

SEE ALSO: Extreme heat causes city to be behind schedule on projects and maintenance, Houston officials say

Milstead said batteries on your laptop or phone are actually better off when they aren't fully charged, as keeping them on the charger for hours and hours creates more heat within a battery.

"A lot of lithium batteries operate better at about 75% charged," he said.

Milstead also said it's necessary to put more thought into where you're charging batteries, saying it's best to charge batteries inside or place them in the coolest place possible when charging them outside or in a vehicle.

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