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Extreme temperatures can bring ‘battery season,’ mechanic says

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Courtney Griffin | Herald staff writer

Bradley Sims demonstrates a battery’s electrical charge by causing sparks to fly out of it at Ben’s Service Center in Copperas C

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No one wants to be stuck with a dead battery on a cold winter’s night — or in Texas, on a 100-degree day — but unfortunately, those are the times your car battery is most likely to call it quits.

“Battery season” has arrived thanks to recent temperature fluctuations, said Bradley Sims, mechanic at Ben’s Service Center of Copperas Cove, one of the oldest auto repair shops in the area.

Hot temperatures cause battery currents to speed up, he said, which wastes a battery’s charge.

Cold weather doesn’t allow batteries to recharge as quickly.

In addition, when cold weather strikes, drivers are more likely to turn on headlights, heaters, defrosters and rev engines to keep warm — all things that drain a car’s battery, according to AAA.

“Usually after the battery is 4 years old, the weather will start having an effect on it,” said Russell Mickan, owner of Ben’s Service Center.

The best way to avoid getting stranded, Mickan said, is to do routine maintenance checkups to prevent a host of extreme weather problems.

With the cold, he said, belts and hoses can rot and crack. Engine blocks and radiators are also in danger if antifreeze fluids get low.

Tire pressure also can vary widely because of the slight amount of water droplets in compressed air, which can affect a tire’s ability to grip roads, Sims said.

“If (drivers) do their normal maintenance regularly, they can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars,” Mickan said.

Contact Courtney Griffin at cgriffin@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7559

1 image

Courtney Griffin | Herald staff writer

Bradley Sims demonstrates a battery’s electrical charge by causing sparks to fly out of it at Ben’s Service Center in Copperas C

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