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Avoiding a frozen battery

When batteries freeze, the water in the electrolyte expands and can break connections and/or cause other damage inside the battery.

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According to Bruce Purkey, principal at Purkey Electrical Consulting Inc., a battery that is at a full state of charge is almost never going to freeze. If a battery is discharged, it will freeze very easily. With many electronic components on a truck, there are two things that should be done before parking for extended periods:

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1. Make sure the batteries are at a fully charged state and test well.

2. Disconnect the ground cable from the battery pack. This will eliminate parasitic loads. Good batteries should be capable of holding a good state of charge for at least six months. If the ground cable is left connected to the battery pack, the pack will be discharged in one month.

When batteries freeze, the water in the electrolyte expands and can break connections and/or cause other damage inside the battery. Indicators of a frozen battery include:

1. Sides “puffed out”

2. You cannot hear the electrolyte slosh around when you shake the battery.

Purkey reminds fleet to thaw the battery before recharging. Never attempt to charge a frozen battery. When connecting the charger to the battery, unplug the charger first, then plug the charger in away from the battery.

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