Preparing for Summer - Battery Management Tips

We've put together some battery tips to help workshops prepare for summer, by understanding how to get the best out of fleet batteries with a proactive battery maintenance programme of testers and chargers.

Hotter weather causes chemical reactions to speed up within batteries. This increases the level of battery output, which escalates the pace of battery degradation. This means the amount of energy that a battery can store reduces permanently.

The faster a battery degrades, the more likely it is to cause expensive roadside breakdowns and non-starts. These quickly reduce the productivity of commercial vehicles in industries such as the emergency services or distribution and haulage.

Battery testing is important in warmer months, as there are increased demands on vehicle batteries, such as cooling systems and start/stop applications, which can impact a battery’s overall health, causing expensive road-side non-starts or breakdowns if not identified early.

Battery Testing and Charging Tips:

Regular testing and charging: Vehicle batteries should be tested upon entering a workshop and charged appropriately, to swiftly identify any issues. To do this, a workshop should invest in a programme of quality battery testers and chargers.

Keep voltage above 12.5v: The voltage should remain above a minimum of 12.5v, as sulfation occurs below 12.4v. Sulfation produces a lead sulphate crystal barrier on the battery, reducing its ability to accept a charge. This can cause issues such as thermal runaway, causing the battery to expand if it is an AGM battery, or explode if it is a flooded or EFB battery.

Keeping the battery above 12.5v also reduces excessive deep cycling, which decreases the life of the battery. Deep cycling is the process of a battery discharging to a very low state of charge before being charged to full capacity again. When this happens, it can reduce the overall capacity of a battery, eventually causing non-starts and breakdowns.  

Keep 24v battery sets “balanced”: Make sure that both batteries are in balance and the symptoms of electrolyte staining and corrosion on the terminals are avoided.

If voltages and cranking amps are not a similar value, the batteries will not perform efficiently due to different levels of charge acceptance.

To identify if a battery set is unbalanced, use a battery tester such as the EXP1000FHD, which will consider the unique cranking amps and voltages of each battery to confirm a diagnosis. 24v battery sets can typically become discharged after six months.

Always test after a jump start: Full battery and electrical system tests should be performed to identify why the vehicle needed a jump start. There are several checks to go through, to identify which loads were left on, any irregular drains, and if the charging system is working correctly. It is important to know these answers before the vehicle continues its journey, or jumpstarting may not fix the issue, causing further non-starts in the future.

Invest in diagnostic tools Diagnostic tools like our web-based dashboard ROBIS, provide visibility around a fleets overall health. ROBIS is a beneficial tool all year round, for displaying battery data and evaluating the effectiveness of a workshops battery management programme.

Using ROBIS, allows managers to drive battery management productivity within workshops, to identify battery issues before they become expensive breakdowns and non-starts.

If a proactive battery maintenance programme is upheld by a commercial workshop throughout warmer weather, there should not been too much cause for concern, as any battery defects will be identified and rectified swiftly.

If you have any further questions on battery maintenance throughout warmer weather, please contact us, or call 0121 514 0605.

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Based on the length of contract, your ROBIS subscription will need renewing either annually, bi-annually or every three years. If you have a rolling monthly contract, your subscription will be renew automatically.

To find your subscription renewal date, log in to the ROBIS portal and navigate to the dashboard.

Should you need to pay for your subscription renewal with a purchaser order number, please call 0121 526 8185.