I had to replace my wife's car battery his week because the summer heat killed it!

This summer’s extreme temperatures can not only over heat you, it can also destroy your vehicle’s battery. Excessive heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy a battery.

This has happened to me on several occasions, usually while in the middle of a long hot road trip during summer vacation. You should have your cars’ batteries tested periodically and replaced, if necessary, to avoid being stranded.

Here are some suggestions to get the most life out of your vehicle's battery:

• Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.

• If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary. (Special note: Also do if your traveling takes you to extremes to elevations, i.e. desert to mountain trips)

• Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.

• Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Clean off corrosion on the battery terminals to keep the power flowing.

These simple steps will help prevent the major inconvenience of having to replace a dead battery on the side of the road. But if you do have to replace it, make sure you don't wear your dress clothes; the acid tends to eat holes in anything it touches, including you!

Photo by Spencer