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Apr 30, 2021

7 min. read

Prep for summer road trips by checking your vehicle’s battery performance

We all know the consequences of poor battery maintenance during cold winter months. But high summer temperatures can be just as damaging to a vehicle battery.

“Excessive heat causes the fluid in your battery to evaporate and can weaken its charge, causing plate corrosion,” explains Hamish Barrit, owner of Berrydale Auto Centre, a CAA Approved Auto Repair Services (AARS) shop. “If you pop the hood and notice any corrosion built up around the terminals, it may be a sign of a weakening battery caused by excessive heat.”

In Manitoba, batteries typically last three to five years. If yours is at or approaching that age, get it tested.

Driving less

The COVID-19 pandemic has made life tougher than ever for batteries. “When you drive daily, you maintain your battery by recharging it with the alternator,” Barrit says.

“With COVID, people may leave their vehicles sitting for a week or two, only taking it out on grocery runs.” That’s not enough to maintain the battery: The charge slowly gets lower until your car won’t start anymore.

“We can sometimes charge the battery for a full day to bring it back to life,” Barrit says. “Other times, we’re not so lucky and have to change it out.”

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Check or replace

CAA Members in Brandon and Winnipeg can book a Battery Service appointment to have their battery tested.* Or if you’ve taken your vehicle for maintenance at an AARS shop, ask them to inspect the battery too. Barrit says it takes as little as 15 minutes.

“We start with a visual inspection to ensure the posts are free of corrosion and the cables look good,” he says. “Then we load the battery to about half of its cold cranking amps rating. If it drops below 9V, it’s either weak or has failed, at which point it’s time for a replacement.”

CAA offers CAA Premium Batteries at competitive prices for Members—meaning you’ll get a great price on top-notch batteries, plus free installation.

“CAA’s battery manufacturer is one of the best on the market for quality,” Barrit adds. “There’s also a three-year replacement warranty, plus another three years of pro-rated warranty, which is hard to beat.”

Summer Vehicle Prep

Because you should check more than your battery


Before a big road trip, ensure they’re inflated to the correct pressure. Check the sticker inside the driver’s door for the right PSI.


Dusty back roads and muddy terrain can wreak havoc on your windshield. Be sure to top up your wiper fluid.


Top up other fluids, like oil and coolant. Consider getting a full inspection when winter tires come off to ensure there are no leaks.

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