A common reason for trucks to spend time standing idle is electrical failure, which often includes dead batteries. While downtime is an inevitable part of truck and fleet operation, it is crucial to avoid, where possible, those out-of-service events, such as road breakdowns, that incur unnecessary costs.
Frank Rovelli of Probe provides some insights on battery selection and care.
The reality, explains Rovelli, is that not all batteries are created equal – some perform better and have a longer lifespan than others. It is important to choose the correct battery for your vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, to make sure that you have the right battery for your needs that will deliver the best performance and save costs in the long run.
Not all batteries are created equal
First, as the battery serves as the ‘powerhouse’ of the vehicle, it is important to ensure that the correct battery is being used to enable optimum vehicle performance.
Heavy-duty batteries differ for mining and construction equipment, farm or heavy-duty trucks, and marine or stationary vehicles. For ideal performance, the battery should be suitable for the purpose of the vehicle, and the environment in which that vehicle must operate. Batteries that have been developed with variations in amp per hour ratings enable you to select the best performing battery for each specific application and vehicle.
Heavy-duty vehicles need very robust batteries to ensure a long service life, and buying top quality is worth the investment. The battery should be adequately encased in durable and robust materials to ensure that it can endure the challenges of vehicle operations – for example, withstanding intense road shocks and vibrations, as well as extreme air temperatures. It is worth ensuring that batteries meet international quality standards including ISO, Bureau Veritas and TS16949 accreditation.
The next consideration is maintenance. Many batteries will require the addition of water at various points, as well as regular maintenance. In this case, the battery should be subjected to regular testing to make sure that the starting capacity is maintained at an optimal performance level. It should be checked for any leaks in the battery case, and for broken or damaged posts.
A quality, maintenance-free battery has a longer life than a battery which requires maintenance. It does not require the addition of water, nor will it need servicing during its operating life. The obvious benefit of these batteries is that they reduce the amount of downtime and hassle that generally comes with having to schedule battery maintenance for a heavy-duty vehicle.
Probe maintenance-free batteries are actually termed ‘fit and forget’, which is an accurate description. This is achieved by ensuring that the battery is completely sealed in using expanded metal calcium technology and high-quality raw materials that prevent electrolyte leakage, plate shorting and provide high resistance to vibrations. The battery also boasts a ‘magic eye’ on its cover, which is a built-in visual hydrometer that indicates the battery state-of-charge at a glance.
Choosing the correct quality battery for your needs and eliminating maintenance requirements ultimately enables more productivity of the heavy-duty vehicle, with less expensive downtime.