Dead truck battery? How you ensure your truck starts in cold weather

Cold weather starting tips for truck batteries

The colder the battery is, the less efficient it is.

When choosing your battery, it’s important to pay attention to the reserve capacity and the cycling ability. 

If you only ever asked your batteries to crank the engine when they were at a high state of charge that would be one thing, but in cold weather batteries often power cab loads overnight before cranking the engine in the morning. The colder the battery is, the less efficient it is. 

Sometimes battery companies put the cranking amp number in a bigger font to draw attention to it, and people tend to think “this is a big, bold number, so it must be a better battery.” However, depending on your application, this isn’t always the best number to look at.

Once you have the right battery, it’s important to look at the age of the batteries. Most fleets running a bank of flooded cell batteries typically get an average battery life of 24 months. A bank of AGM batteries can have around double the life of a flooded cell battery, depending on usage and application. The question then becomes: if you have a truck with batteries almost at the end of their life cycle and you’re going into winter, do you want to chance using batteries before the season starts?

It’s also important to keep up on your preventative maintenance checks. Batteries (and the whole charging circuit) should be checked twice a year: once in the fall before it gets cold and once in the spring before it gets hot. When performing the battery checks, make sure to clean the batteries at the same time. Batteries are often tested without the cleaning, which allows grime to build up around the terminals. Grime buildup allows a path for electrical flow, which in turn allows the batteries to self-discharge.

According to TMC RP129, the preventative maintenance check should also include checking for voltage drop. You are allowed half of a volt drop for 500 amps for the cranking cables, and a half of a volt at the alternator’s rated output. (Note: if your tractor has remote sense, you will need to test that wire as well to make sure that it is also working properly.) The last part of the test is to test the alternator.

This article was contributed by Larry Rambeaux, sales application engineer with Purkey’s.

You May Also Like

Peterbilt introduces Digital Vision System-Mirrors

Available on Models 579 and 567, Peterbilt says the DVS-M uses HDR cameras integrated into the mirrors to display video on interior monitors.

Peterbilt-new-Digital-Vision-Mirror-System

Peterbilt launched its new Digital Vision System-Mirrors (DVS-M) in the Models 579 and 567. The company says the DVS-M uses one High Dynamic Range (HDR) camera integrated into the driver side mirror head and two HDR cameras integrated into the passenger side mirror head. All three cameras feature hydrophobic lenses to repel water, ice and dust, which ensures visibility during harsh conditions.

Hendrickson acquires Reyco Granning suspension business

Hendrickson expands its suspension solutions portfolio for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles while maintaining brand independence.

ReycoLogo-hendrickson
SAMPA celebrates 30 years

The heavy-duty spare parts company marked the milestone at Automechanika Istanbul. with a specially themed 30th anniversary booth.

SAMPA-celebrates-30-years
HDA’s Colorado Brake & Supply announces acquisition

The HDA Truck Pride member has acquired Pueblo Brake & Clutch, Inc., another local heavy-duty truck parts provider, with 59 years of service.

HDA-Truck-Pride-Pueblo-Brake-and-Clutch
BettsHD, Featherwing offer roll-off refuse fenders

According to BettsHD, the new Featherwing refuse / roll-off fenders are custom-designed for all tandem and tri-axle applications.

Betts-HD-Featherwing-refuse-fenders-combo

Other Posts

Daimler Buses, BMZ Poland drive zero-emission EU bus transport

BMZ Poland expects the next generation NMC4 battery to combine high energy density with an ultra-long cycle life.

Daimler-Buses-BMZ-Poland-charging-station-mercedes-benz-electric-eCitaro
Cummins, PACCAR, Daimler Truck N.A. complete joint venture formation

The completed joint venture is now known as Amplify Cell Technologies.

Accelera-Daimler-Paccar
Doleco adds custom production services at new manufacturing facility

The Charlotte, NC location will house manufacturing, product testing and warehousing, while offering new custom production services.

Doleco-expands-with-new-Charlotte-facility-exterior-custom-products
Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner to use DTNA, Proterra battery technology

Daimler Truck North America selects Proterra battery technology for next-generation electric school buses and last-mile delivery vehicles.

Proterra-battery-technology