Tips for Battery Maintenance

Red and black jumper cables.
Mangers, truck and heavy equipment mechanics, and equipment enthusiasts understand the key to keeping a battery in good condition is preventative maintenance. For example, it’s important to examine the starting and charging system. Fleets may change technologies or battery types.  Any time one part of a fleet’s system is changed without looking at all of the system parts, problems will occur.

Preventing Problems with Batteries
It’s also vital to keep a battery as close to 100 percent charged. The depth of discharge shouldn’t be higher than 30 percent. So test batteries to make sure they are properly charged. Technicians working on battery’s starting/charging system should periodically conduct voltage drop testing a part of their preventive maintenance routine. This helps identify potential problems before they damage batteries.

Maintenance for Batteries
Keep all batteries leveled at all times. Unleveled batteries are prone to acid spill which are extremely dangerous. Another tip is AGM batteries should never be equalized or have water added to them.

Regularly charge batteries. It’s never good to leave batteries uncharged for a stretch of time. If planning to use batteries stored for a long or short period of time, recharge it prior to placing them back in service. Whether using new or used charged batteries, mount them safely and securely into trucks. This will ensure they aren’t damaged and/ or won’t damage the trucks.

Remember the Basics

  • All batteries generate hydrogen gas. This gas is highly flammable. Batteries could explode if sparked by flame or spark.

  • Batteries not in use should be stored in some place cool and dry. Never store batteries in freezing temperatures or near heat sources like heaters and radiators. It’s important to stress when working with batteries, use proper protection and keep terminals clean hen handling batteries.

  • To keep clean terminals requires using steel wool, wire brush or sandpaper to shine the interior cable connection and terminal post. Always remove the ground cable prior to removing batteries. This will prevent injury to the individual and damage to the truck and battery. Never disconnect or connect live circuits.

Keeping batteries properly maintained is vital to running an efficient fleet. It also keeps maintenance costs down. Workers’ safety is also important to keeping batteries running effectively.

Image: © 2012 Toyota Lift of Minnesota. All rights reserved.