Proper battery maintenance during the hot summer months is just as important as it is during the frigid winter months. Your truck battery powers your business. Follow this checklist to extend the life of your battery:
During scheduled preventative maintenance (PM), check and confirm the following:
- Battery connections are clean and free of debris
- Battery connections are tight
- Hold-downs are properly secured
- Battery pack is fully charged
Inspect the truck battery pack as part of your regularly scheduled vehicle inspection, any time the operator is experiencing ‘hard starts’ or the truck is being used for shorter runs with hotel loads. When the battery pack is tested, look for the following factors:
- State of charge of the battery pack
Full charge is 12.6 volts for flooded batteries and 12.8 volts for AGM batteries
- Hold-downs and battery connections are securely fastened
- Batteries are fully recharged and tested with either a load or conductance tester
- Evaluate what loads are being used and how much power is being taken by the additional use of air conditioning during warmer months
If the battery pack is 2-3 years old, the user may want to consider replacing batteries to reduce the risk of a no-start situation or emergency repairs.
Conductance uses the battery’s response to a very small signal in attempt to predict the effects of a much larger current. Conductance testing is ineffective on a discharged battery. If the battery is known to be discharged, or if the tester tells the operator to charge before testing again, the battery must be completely recharged.
State-of-charge is estimated from the open circuit voltage (OCV) and is used to determine if the battery is in a testable state or to estimate how long charging will take. Worth noting:
- Battery design varies
- Typical values are shown on the charging time tables
- A true 75 percent or better charge state is needed for most testing
- Any recent activity will cause the OCV to be elevated from the true equilibrium value
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