How to Get More Life Out of Batteries

Posted on Feb 6, 2016 by Robert Iversrud

Get more life out of batteries

A commercial operation often runs on its batteries. Poorly maintained batteries can take fleets off the road right when they need to be rolling the most. So how can you get more life out of your batteries, and keep up with proper battery management?

Know Your Operation

The start to any well-managed battery system is to know how your vehicles or equipment use battery power. Idling is one factor in battery usage, but there are others as well; even if a part of your machine is parked it may still be supporting an electrical load for various reasons. Get a sense of how each part of your operation uses battery power and where, so you'll know what battery management you'll need.

Make The Repairs

Another factor in battery usage is the wires and terminals that the battery uses to get power to various parts of your vehicle. If a wire is corroded or a terminal is coming loose, the battery will need to work much harder to deliver the necessary charge. So, stay on top of electrical repairs, especially when you're dealing with harsh conditions like snow and the accompanying salt, or heavy rains and the water damage it can inflict. It'll make battery management that much easier.

Keep Them Charged

Batteries that aren't promptly and fully charged after use can give your fleet big problems further down the line. If a battery is stored without proper charging, you can run into a host of issues. For example, a battery that isn't properly charged will see the acid concentrate on the bottom of the battery, a process called acid stratification. This will not only shorten battery life; it'll make a vehicle harder to start, reduce the overall charge the battery can produce from a cold start, and cause damage to other parts of the battery. So keep them charged: your batteries will thank you.

Get more life out of batteries

Batteries are more than just power.

Gather The Data

One handy tool many operations don't use are data loggers you can install in vehicles to track electrical system use. This not only lets you create a battery use profile right now, it also allows you to track how usage of a battery might shift over time. This both allows you to spot electrical problems before they become a major issue, and also gives you a better sense of how your batteries are being used by operators.

Use Proper Batteries

One of the most common issues with batteries is that we only focus on one number, namely the cold-cranking amps, or CCA. The CCA is the amount of power a battery can provide at zero degrees Fahrenheit, and that's an important number to know. But there's a lot more to a battery than just the juice it can put out. How many cycles per second does the battery offer? What's the reserve capacity of the batteries you're using? Depending on what your battery needs to support, a CCA might be less important than other factors.

As you can see, the best way to care for your batteries is to get informed and treat them right. Make sure they're charged, that you know how they're working, and give them the best electrical system to use. Start with our wire and cable products, to get the most life out of your batteries.