Cold weather is an unfriendly element to a majority of machinery and its components including your truck’s batteries. With that said, you must make sure to keep your batteries protected from the troubles of the winter season.
As a commercial fleet operator, for sure you wouldn’t want any of your trucks to get stranded in the cold due to battery failure. It would be too stressful especially for your crew who are directly affected by the incident. So for a stress-free winter trucking operation, you should consider these recommended defenses against cold weather battery issues.
1. Get your battery checked
This should be your first and foremost task to make sure that your battery is good. It’s quite easy and often offered for free at “truck battery replacement near me”. A battery check will let you know if there’s something you need to do to avoid problems moving forward.
2. Clean the terminals
Even if your truck has undergone maintenance in the past weeks, you should take a look at its battery to make sure that no amount of corrosion or deposits are accumulating in the terminals. Removing these deposits is an important step to increase your battery’s performance, reliability, and useful life.
When cleaning your battery, make sure to perform the following:
- Remove the terminals from the battery starting with the negative (-) followed by the positive (+), and move them away from the battery.
- Remove the corrosion, dust and other deposits from the terminals with steel brush as these could diminish or prevent contact.
- Wipe the battery terminals with a solution of mixed water and baking soda.
- As much as possible, spray corrosion protectant solution onto the terminal post to prevent corrosion and enhance contact.
3. Extend trips if necessary
Having a new battery is not an assurance that your truck will perform well in cold weather. In fact cold weather reduces the effectiveness of your battery and it might not be fully charged during its last trip. When you start it up the first hour of the day, the battery’s energy could be depleted in the process. But once your truck starts, its alternator charges the battery but it requires time to charge it fully.
This means you need to extend your trips to give the alternator enough time to restore its energy. Longer drives are necessary during cold weather to give the battery enough time to recharge. Short trips have a tendency to deplete your battery and might stall your truck down the road.
4. Test your battery with a load
If your truck hasn’t had a long trip lately and you park it for an extended period of time, chances are your battery could be drained.
To make sure that your battery isn’t empty, test it with a load. Use the type of tester that imitates the load created by the starter and other components of your truck. If the battery works with enough energy despite the load, it should work well with your truck.
5. Free-up your battery from additional load
During fair weather conditions, additional battery load may not matter but it’s different during winter because batteries don’t charge quite well.
To maximize your battery’s power during winter, you should free it up from extra load such as additional speakers, subwoofers, GPS gadgets and phone chargers plugged into cigarette lighters. This will minimize energy depletion and allow the battery to recharge more quickly.
6. Use a warmer
When you run a commercial trucking operation, you encounter a lot of business possibilities including dispatching your truck to snowy itineraries. This can cause a lot of strain to your truck’s battery and shorten its useful life.
To counter this, try placing a warmer below the engine hood to keep the engine warm. It can help to make the battery start the engine easily without expelling too much energy.
7. Seek out shelter
One of the best moves you can do to preserve your battery during winter is to seek some shelter for your truck.
If you can find a carport or garage where you can park your truck, you’re also keeping your battery away from the cold outdoor temperature. This should keep your battery warm and allow its chemical reactions to take place. Don’t forget to shut down all auxiliary loads of your truck before parking.
8. Wrap your battery in a thermal blanket
A thermal blanket or battery warmer is a corrosion-resistant heat blanket that can help to keep your battery warm even if you’ve stopped the engine. This will help to keep your battery from freezing and allow you to start your engine more quickly especially in the morning when the temperatures can really drop.
9. Charge up your battery
Winter season is not a good time for your truck battery, you should keep it fully charged at all times – but not with a trickle charger or your truck’s alternator as both won’t be able to perform its job effectively at near-freezing temperatures.
The best thing you can do to have your battery fully charged is have it done at a repair shop that uses a heavy-duty battery charging equipment.
10. What if your battery is frozen?
Batteries don’t freeze easily but it can happen. If your battery is frozen, there’s nothing you can do about it but there are things you shouldn’t do.
When your battery freezes, many things can happen inside that can cause it to form a short circuit. You will know it because the battery manifests certain signs such as bulges, cracks, icicles, and presence of frost on the terminals. When you see any of these signs or even if you suspect that your battery is thawed, don’t ever attempt to jump start it to avoid accidents. Jump starting a frozen battery can cause it to explode.
To avoid delays and incidents caused by cold weather battery issues, always make sure that your battery is winter-ready. It means charging it fully before winter gets here to make it resistant to freezing temperatures.
The battery is an important component not only of your commercial trucks but your business’s commercial operations. A battery failure will certainly translate to loss of time and revenue.
If you’re operating in Oklahoma, bring your truck to a center for “truck battery replacement near me” and truck alternator repair center for a pre-winter check. We at Oklahoma Truck Repair can perform both for you. Do this to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter season.
Call us at (405) 912-5800.