Temperature and Its Effect on Bowling Balls: A Quick Guide

Frozen Bowling Ball

How to save your bowling ball from certain disaster when the temperatures change.

The temperatures outside can have an effect on your bowling balls. Chiefly, this happens when bowling balls are stored in areas where temperatures fluctuate. For instance, keeping your bowling ball in the trunk of your car or storing it in your garage, exposes it to temperature changes. And, those changes can have a devastating effect on bowling balls.

Do Cold Temperatures Affect Bowling Balls?

Yes, cold temperatures do affect bowling balls. To elaborate, a cold bowling ball is harder. As a result, the bowling ball will actually slide and skid more when throwing. Additionally, if the ball is too cold, it can potentially cause permanent damage.

Does Heat Affect Bowling Balls?

Yes, extreme heat can affect bowling balls. Because they are made from a porous material, bowling balls will expand when exposed to high temperatures. In addition, heat causes bowling balls to become soft which can result in more hook when you’re throwing. Finally, heat can affect bowling balls by causing them to sweat. In turn, dirt and oils leak from the bowling ball’s surface, giving you a dirty ball and poor performance at the lanes.

Why Do Extreme Temperatures Affect Bowling Balls?

To understand why extreme temperatures affect bowling balls, we have to look at how bowling balls are made.

To begin, the core of a bowling ball is made of a denser material. This is achieved by adding bismuth graphite or barium to resin, polyester or urethane. Hence, the bowling ball core becomes a super dense material that still can absorb impacts. Similarly, bowling balls can have cores made of ceramic. These type of bowling balls are hard-hitting and don’t absorb impacts.

Next, we look at the outer layer, or coverstock, of bowling balls. To explain, coverstocks are made of urethane or polyester; both materials being porous and able to absorb dirt and oils. Consequently, this means that the core and the coverstock can expand and shrink with fluctuating temperatures. However, because of the differing density of each, the core and coverstock will expand and shrink at a different pace.

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Can Bowling Balls Crack in Cold Weather?

Yes, bowling balls can crack in cold weather. But a bowling ball can crack in warm weather too. Notably, this happens because of the expanding and contracting of the bowling ball materials in fluctuating temperatures. Therefore, it has little to do with either heat or cold respectively. So, if the core of the ball expands more quickly than the bowling ball’s cover, the pressure has to be released somewhere. As a result, your bowling ball cracks. Particularly, the ball will crack in places where the coverstock is less dense, like the finger holes. Furthermore, if your bowling ball has been exposed to constant temperature changes, it can crack around the entire circumference of the ball.

More Bowling Ball Damage from Extreme Temperatures

Once the damage has been done by changes in temperatures, the integrity of the ball is compromised. Moreover, your bowling ball may crack as soon as it hits the lane or it could have damage you can’t see. In fact, the expanding and contracting of the core can cause it to separate from the cover, turning your bowling ball into a 12-pound paper weight.

Additionally, cold temperatures can cause bowling balls to discolor. For example, the bowling ball may be covered in white spots, have swirls in between colors or have an all-over discoloration. Despite the look of the ball, sometimes normal color will return as the bowling ball warms up. However, there have been some instances where the bowling ball was frozen and the discoloration was permanent. In that case, take your bowling ball to a pro shop and have it resurfaced, as that may fix the discoloration.

How Do You Warm Up A Cold Bowling Ball?

When you’ve left your bowling ball in freezing temperatures, you need to warm it up before you use it. Nonetheless, this must be done slowly to avoid potential damage to the bowling ball.

Here are a few tips for warming up your bowling ball:

  • Bring the bowling ball inside and allow it to acclimate over the course of a few days.
  • Use a warm towel to cradle and rub the bowling ball.
  • Use the submersing bowling ball cleansing method but start with tepid water and slowly warm from there.
  • Try putting your bowling ball in the ball polisher at the bowling center.
  • Use a bowling ball revivor, which slowly heats up bowling balls for cleaning.

In the End, can a Cracked Bowling Ball Be Repaired?

If your bowling ball has succumbed to the extreme temperature changes, it may be repairable, depending on the overall damage.

First, if your ball has a slight crack or is cracked on the bridge, it can be repaired. However, if you have a crack that goes around the circumference of the ball, it’s time to get a new bowling ball.

Secondly, if the core of your bowling ball has cracked or separated from the coverstock, you may not even notice the damage. Granted, some bowling balls may not hook as a result of a separated core, but oftentimes it will affect the balls performance very little.

Finally, it is possible to repair small cracks yourself using super glue. But, if the crack has traveled into the finger holes, you will likely need your bowling ball to be plugged and the holes re drilled. In either event, check with a bowling pro shop first as they are the professionals.

Save a Bowling Ball

Serious bowlers love their bowling balls. Therefore, if you live in a climate where temperatures can go from one extreme in summer to subzero temps in the winter, save your bowling ball. To put it another way, protect your bowling ball by bringing it inside. Your ball will repay you with good performance and no hefty repair bills or replacement costs.

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