Winter-Ready Tips for Your Commercial Truck Batteries

It’s warm and cozy inside, but winter’s rage has definitely arrived outside. Dropping temperatures can’t hinder your business’s delivery schedule, however.

Your commercial trucking fleet must operate as if it’s 70 degrees and sunny outside. A hiccup in your business plans may involve dead batteries in those trucks. Learn how you can avoid battery issues this winter by taking care of them the right way.

Clean off the terminals

Take a look at your installed battery. It’s been awhile since its last service if the positive and negative terminals are covered in corrosion. Cleaning off the corrosion is important to the battery’s longevity and reliability.

Follow these steps to remove the corrosion, including:

  • Brushing the corrosion clear with a wire brush
  • Removing the terminals from the battery
  • Wiping a water and baking-soda mixture onto the corroded areas

Go a step further with corrosion protectant sprayed onto the posts. A good connection is the hallmark of a reliable start every work morning.

Plan out the ride

Regardless of your battery’s age, it doesn’t operate well in cold weather. The trick is to be aware of the battery’s strengths and weaknesses. When you start up your truck, the battery is relatively depleted. You’ve spent its energy to simply activate the engine’s components.

However, the vehicle’s alternator charges the battery back up as the truck moves along on the road.

With this scenario in mind, plan out your fleet’s driving schedule with care. Create long drives so that the battery recharges during cold weather. Short and sporadic trips will only deplete the battery. You might end up stranded as a result.

Test the battery with a load

You might have a drained battery, and not know. Business suffers when you have a truck that’s parked.

Avoid any breakdowns with a battery test at your shop. Use a tester that applies a load. In essence, a load mimics the strain placed on the battery by the starter and auxiliary items.

If a battery can start without hesitation under a load, it’s good to go. Failing batteries show their true colors during these tests.

Disconnect your loud speaker system

Truck fleets are designed for business purposes, but many vehicles have some personalized touches. Stereo systems for an enhanced ride aren’t unusual in some industries. However, extra electrical items can impact the battery’s operations.

Disconnect these items from your electrical system if you suspect a failing battery, such as:

  • Additional speakers not included with the stock types, including subwoofers
  • GPS gadgets plugged into cigarette lighters

The battery can concentrate its efforts on the starter without the extra loads taking up power.

Try a warmer

You might run a business that’s prone to snowy conditions in the winter. Vehicle batteries are under a lot of strain during freezing temperatures.

To prolong their lifespan, try a warmer under the engine hood. These warmers keep the engine warm at a particular temperature so that the battery has an easier time starting the motor.

Seek out shelter

Admittedly, this sounds dramatic, but one of the best winter tips for your vehicle battery is seeking out shelter.

At the very least, park the engine in a carport or garage. Any reprieve from the outdoor cold allows the battery to stay at a relatively warm temperature. The warmth allows the battery’s chemical reactions to occur and drive your engine’s powertrain.

Remember to shut of auxiliary loads before parking

Working out of a truck is hard work. You hop in and out of the cab several times a day. It’s natural to leave navigation tools, stereos and air conditioners on as you shut off the ignition.

During the winter, however, your battery reacts poorly to these items being left in the “on” position. From the moment that you try to turn the engine over again, the power divides out to these unnecessary items. Do your battery a favor and shut off the auxiliary loads before you power down the vehicle.

Your truck batteries will only have a lifespan of about four years.  New batteries can outlast several winters – with the right care.

Offseason Battery Maintenance: Golf Cart Batteries

Even in the offseason, understanding how to care for your battery (and checking how old it is) means you’ll be that much more prepared when it warms up again. If you have ever had to replace a golf cart battery, you know that it’s not a cheap endeavor. It can be a frustrating task as well unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. So best to start looking now.

When maintaining and shopping for a golf cart battery, there are a few things you need to pay attention to – different than if you were shopping for a car battery.

Knowing the difference between amperage and voltage – and even how old your battery is – can make all the difference in making sure you get the battery you need.

Voltage vs. Amperage

A golf cart battery that is the same voltage as your old one may not work the way you would hope. With golf carts, amperage is very important. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.


Voltage, we all know, relates to horsepower in our cars. That’s true for golf cart battery packs as well. The voltage on the battery pack relates to the amount of power the golf cart will have. However, a battery pack with greater voltage doesn’t always mean that all of that power will be delivered to the cart.

That’s where amperage comes in. There is a controller in the golf cart limits the amount of amperage that can be delivered from the battery (thereby crushing your dreams of winning the cross country golf cart race by simply changing your battery).


While the voltage determines how much power your golf cart will have, the amperage measures out how far you can go on a single charge. Hence, the need for the controller.

If the controller just allowed all of the amperage created by the voltage to be delivered in one fell swoop, you’d have a cart that went really fast for a short time and then, nothing. So if the voltage is power, the amperage is fuel.

You can have all the power in the world, but no fuel (or inadequate amperage) means no motion.

Recap: Voltage is great but amperage is great too. Make sure you know how exactly what the manufacturer’s recommendations are for your golf cart and understand the voltage and amperage that it can handle. Trying to shove a higher voltage battery into your cart and expect to last longer or have more power is just going to leave you stranded.

How old is your battery anyway?

Understanding the age of your golf carts battery can help you determine how much life it has left and help you prepare for the “changing of the guards”.

If you are looking at purchasing a used golf cart, you’ll really want to know how to tell the age of the battery pack. No one wants to sit in the driver’s seat only to find out they need the battery replaced (and could’ve done it during the offseason).

If you know where to look, you’ll be able to spot the age immediately. Most battery packs have a stamp or sticker somewhere on the battery. If it’s a stamp, it will usually be found right on the terminal.

At first glance, it will look like a letter and a number, big deal. It may look something like J – 7. It’s the holy grail l if you know the code.

The letter correlates to a month, like so:

A – January

B – February

C – March

D – April

E – May

F – June

G – July

H – August

I – September

J – October

K – November

L – December

The number you’ll see relates to the year. So, using our example of J – 7, the battery was produced in October of 2017. While it’s possible that the battery date could be October of 2007, the odds are extremely low. Rarely would a battery last for 10 years, and getting them looking clean enough to pass for newer would be nearly impossible.

Now that you know how your golf cart battery works and how to tell its age, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your fleet in perfect condition!

Battery 101: Top 3 Signs You Need a New Golf-Cart Battery

Golf carts are used for more than just teeing off and chasing that birdie. Your customers might use these carts around their gated communities, within a huge business complex or around a government institution. Regardless of the golf cart’s location, it always needs a reliable battery.

These deep-cycle batteries have certain features that are inherent to the design. They can last for many charging cycles without much difference to its performance. However, golf-cart batteries  inevitably decline with use. If you’re wondering where the power has gone, learn more about golf-cart batteries and when they require replacement.

1. Short Trips are the Rule Now

The average golf cart isn’t designed for long hauls (unlike cars). However, a quality battery will give any cart about seven miles of uninterrupted power. This estimation is entirely consistent over hundreds of charges and discharges. The reasons why deep-cycle batteries have these reliable charges is because of key, internal factors that include:

  • Thick, internal plates for complete discharges with each ride
  • Extra, reserve capacity within the battery cells

When the plates decline and battery cells break down, your seven-mile distance will be significantly shortened. The voltage may seem to hold if you test the battery, but the performance truly reflects a declining battery.

If your customers complain of shortened trips, test the battery with a load. Placing ordinary strain on the cells will give you a more accurate look at the battery’s operational strength. Isolating the battery with just a multimeter might give you a solid reading, which is deceptive to everyone involved with the repair.

Your best bet is to replace the battery if there’s any question about power output. Ask the customer to document the distance traveled until the battery discharges. In most cases, the old battery was simply on its last legs.

2. No More Hill Climbs

Acceleration is possible when you have a good battery attached to your golf cart. This power is necessary for those inclines and hills that are encountered every day. The cart relies on the battery for much of its power. You might have a mixture of electric or gas-powered carts, but every model needs some battery for startup and acceleration processes.

As a driver treks up the latest hill, the acceleration may struggle. It may feel like the cart is practically crawling along at a snail’s pace. Your problem resides in the battery. It’s possibly experiencing these issues, such as:

  • Bad cells growing in number
  • Low voltage even after charging

New, golf-cart batteries have some surging power when the vehicle requires it on an incline. Don’t expect this surge to kick in when the battery is old, damaged or been in storage during the off season.

Remain observant when it comes to cart operations. Each driver should be familiar with the acceleration power attributed to every cart. Subtle changes occur at first. You don’t want to be halfway up a hill when the cart instantly stops in its tracks. Swap out the battery well before this scenario occurs.

3. Battery is Visually Declining

Golf-cart batteries are also known as deep-cycle or lead-acid designs. Although there are many different types of batteries in the marketplace today, this particular style is still a go-to choice for cart engineers. The lead-acid battery is reliable, long lasting and inexpensive.

However, it does have a drawback. The chemicals within the battery that make charging and discharging possible are fluid. Once these chemicals break down or release from the battery’s housing altogether, it cannot be restored.

Look for these features on your battery if you’re having problems with power, including:

  • Cracked housing
  • Obvious liquid dripping from the battery
  • Bulging housing

If you notice any damage to a golf-cart battery, it’s important to immediately remove it. Charging damaged batteries creates a mess within the cart, which can lead to expensive repairs. Buying a new battery will always be more cost effective compared to using a damaged one.

Our team at Northeast Battery is proud to serve your needs in the power industry. We welcome your questions so that everyone understands their battery just a little bit better than before. When you face any of these top three signs in the future, you’ll know immediately that a replacement job is on the horizon.

Top 5 Things That Will Drain Your Battery

Car owners typically fall into one of two buckets: those that have experienced a dead car battery at the worst possible moment, and those that will. (Some of us can claim to have had this experience more than once, unfortunately.)

One surefire way to reduce your chance of getting stranded in your car with a dead battery is to know the top 5 things that cause your battery to drain (and learn how you might prevent them).

1. The battery is old

Ok, so you can’t prevent your battery from aging, but you can perform regular maintenance on your battery which will do two things.

  1. First, regular maintenance helps keep your battery up and running longer.
  2. Secondly, regular maintenance will give you a heads up that your battery is losing the fight. This gives you time to have a new battery on hand in the event that this one bites the dust.

Outside of testing your battery to see if it’s holding a full charge, you can keep an eye out for how it’s behaving. Meaning, if the battery is not starting consistently or you’ve had it for more than four years, it’s time to start looking for a new one.

2. You made a manual mistake

It’s perfectly normal to forget to turn off the headlights (especially on a rental car) or completely shut the trunk, or leave an interior light on. These things happen to the best of us.

Unfortunately, declaring to the universe, “I’m only human” will not change the fact that your battery is now dead. All because you were in such a hurry that you forgot to check that all the lights were off. Good news is that a quick jump and a drive in the car to recharge is all it will take to get you back on the road again.

If you happen to make a habit of this kind of behavior, you’ll want to make sure you always have a set of jumper cables in the car. You may also want to look into a portable battery charger.

3. The charging system isn’t working properly

If you have ever been driving down the road and still end up stranded with a dead battery, you can safely assume that your charging system isn’t doing its job.

Typically when you are driving, components such as the radio and lights get their power directly from the alternator while it charges your battery. When the charging system is down, not only is it not charging your battery as you drive, but your components are relying on whatever charge the battery has left, causing it to drain even faster.

At this point, no amount of jumpstarts or new batteries will save you. The best bet is to have your mechanic take and look and see exactly what the issue is.

4. There’s a defective diode

A defective diode is one reason your charging system may be letting you down. When one alternator diode goes, typically the others will be able to keep you running, but not for long.

The more current the working diodes have to carry can create a drain on the battery by pulling a charge even if the car is turned off. Your mechanic can tell you if one or more of the diodes have gone bad.

Replacing the diodes as needed is a lot more cost effective than to just keep pushing it and having to rebuild the alternator later on down the road. If you are so mechanically inclined, you can typically replace the diodes yourself.

Most automotive stores have alternator kits that allow you to replace the bearings, diodes, and brushes all at the same time. This is a great way to keep your alternator working so that your battery doesn’t pay the price.

5. Parasitic drain (by way of an electrical problem)

A parasitic drain occurs when the car is turned off but certain components continue to draw power. Some instances of a parasitic drain is normal. Otherwise, how would your security system remain armed or the clock be able to keep the right time?

When parasitic drain becomes a problem, it’s typically because of an electrical issue that’s causing one (or more) of the car’s components to continuously draw power even when the car is off.

One of the most noticeable symptoms of an electrical problem can be seen before the battery dies completely. If the headlights or brake lights are noticeably dim, you may want to see your mechanic. Another sign is the appearance of loose wires.

Getting these symptoms checked out before your battery completely loses its charge could keep you from being stranded with a dead battery.