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. ┬áNew batteries can outlast several winters – with the right care.