Many issues can and will arise with the dropping temperatures in the Northern and Midwestern states. Truck breakdowns are some of the issues drivers experience in the winter months, which can affect deliveries and put drivers in dangerous situations. While sometimes weather makes these situations unavoidable, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a breakdown. Here are a few tips to to help your battery out during winter.
Test your Battery before your Trip
What's worse than starting your delivery and your battery dies? All of that can be prevented by testing your battery before you leave. If you have it at a shop, have them perform a battery test, where they will essentially test out your battery by mimicking a load that puts strain on the battery by the starter and axillary items. If the battery starts with no issues, you're ready to roll. If there is any hesitation, then it's time to replace your battery. While some people might disagree, you should never replace a single dead battery because the new battery that is installed will pull from the existing batteries, shortening their longevity. When one battery goes out, replace them all.
Keep the Battery Warm
Adding a battery cover can do a great deal in keeping the engine block warm. Freezing weather and bad conditions can reduce the battery's life, and adding that extra layer will help to extend that. Another way to keep your battery warm is by getting a battery maintainer. It is used "supply a small trickle of electricity to your batteries over a long period of time. This trickle charge is enough to counteract self-discharge, but not so large that it threatens to overcharge your batteries", says battery manufacturer, Batteries in a Flash.
Typically on a delivery you'll be driving everyday, which is great for keeping batteries from freezing. Fully charged batteries are less likely to freeze solid than barely charged or even moderately charged batteries. Something that could be considered a good investment is a Cold Cranking Amp (CCA). According to Auto Batteries, the CCA rating "refers to the number of amps a 12-volt battery can deliver at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts". So the higher the CCA rating, the greater starting power of the battery. Our mechanics at LGT recommend between 800 to 1,000 in CCA.
In other extreme cases, find a place to park that is warmer than out in the open. A garage or some other covered parking shelter will allow the chemical reactions in the battery to occur, keeping it charged.
Clean Out and Buy Protectant for the Terminals
If it's been a while since you've had some work done, take a look at the terminals to your battery and ensure that there is no corrosion. Corrosion on the positive and negative terminals can lower the longevity and reliability of your battery's life. If there is corrosion, brush it off with a wire brush, remove the terminals, and use battery cleaner to remove the corrosion.
When removing the terminals, always disconnect the positive before the negative, and connect the positive last when reconnecting. Another thing to consider is buying protectant for the terminals. Weatherproof and waterproof protectant would be your best bet in colder weathers to help keep your battery protected. If you don't have any sort of battery cleaner, in a pinch Coca-Cola will dissolve the corrosion. Sometimes what tends to happen is drivers will leave them connected and apply the cleaner, but really that won't give the full coverage you want. Spray both the post and the battery cable to get full protection.
In cold weather, you want to try and keep your batteries warm and charged. Installing a battery disconnect can be a lifesaver when hopping in and out of the cab multiple times a day. A battery disconnect helps to keep your battery charged by turning off everything that can drain the battery, even when the ignition is off. It also lowers the chances for malfunctions from these parasitic loads that can harm your battery.
Hopefully these tips will help prevent any troubles you may encounter on the road, and keep drivers off and rolling. Freezing weather can be a real problem during the winter season, so be safe and stay trucking.