Note: This article was contributed by Andrew Carlson, Mitchell 1 technical editor.
As summer transitions to fall, high temperatures persist in many parts of the country that can present some extra challenges for truck maintenance. In particular, your truck’s charging system needs some special attention in hot weather to ensure peak performance.
It’s important to make sure that the truck’s alternator belt is not cracked or frayed, and that the belt tension is set according to specifications. Also inspect the alternator to be sure it’s charging the truck’s batteries at the correct voltage and amperage.
With high temperatures, the rate of battery electrode sulfation will increase. However, if the batteries are recharged immediately, no permanent damage will occur. Therefore, to prevent premature battery failure, ensure the truck’s batteries are fully charged at all times.
Inspect the battery cables for any corrosion, broken copper strands, or missing protective insulation. Verify correct battery cable fastener torque at all battery terminals. Loose or dirty connections will result in excessive charging circuit resistance, leading to poor charging system performance.
Finally, ensure that parasitic loads are not draining the life out of your truck’s batteries. Turn off vehicle lights (interior & exterior), and all electronic accessories when the truck is not being driven. If you need to run electrical accessories with the truck shut off, consider investing in an APU unit.
Model-specific information for your truck’s charging system can be found in Mitchell 1’s software suite for commercial trucks, TruckSeries.