What You Need to Know About Batteries

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Last month, we said, it all starts with the battery. We thought that, in light of the frigid temps that are wreaking havoc on batteries across North America, we’d delve deep into the world of batteries, setting it straight and debunking myths with the help of several serious authorities on the subject. Batteries, even the boring (as compared to lithium) lead acid battery, are evolving rapidly to meet the increasing demands of today’s vehicles. It is important to differentiate between the fundamental truths that still underpin battery performance and outdated concepts that will get in the way when working with the current generation of batteries. We hope these resources are useful to you.

Pete Meier Updates the State of the Union

Just last Friday, SearchAutoParts.com published a comprehensive look at current batteries, including the types techs and vehicle owners are likely to encounter, how batteries are being deployed within today’s system architecture, service issues that are likely to be encountered and the impact that a poorly performing battery can have on related components. “The demand on the vehicle’s battery is increasing as technology continues to move us toward an all-electric future… Add to that the fact that modern electronics is less tolerant of weakness in the battery than ever before and you can see that it is important for us, as professional technicians, to be able to properly service and test them.” As always, there’s much to learn when Pete digs into a topic in detail.

Spotlight on AGM

If you have been reading our articles for any length of time, you know that we are rather over-focused on the AGM battery and it consequences for assessment, service and maintenance. Although you might think we’re a broken record, this battery construction has been steadily gaining ground for the last ten years, to the point where they simply cannot be ignored. Yet, we find a fair amount of misinformation in the marketplace related to these batteries and speak to many techs who are still fuzzy on them. We always like to stress that these batteries require an optimized charger designed to service them, such as PRO-LOGIX, or they can be damaged. Recently, SearchAutoParts.com published an article by Jason Searl that covers the evolution of these batteries and what shops should be focusing on when educating their customers on the AGM battery in their vehicle.

A Key Fleet Investment

Batteries are a big deal for fleets, where the battery investment, with as many as 4 or 8 batteries per vehicle, can be considerable. In these environments, utilizing a battery construction properly matched to vehicle usage patterns combined with following best practices in battery maintenance can mean the difference between batteries being a money pit and a competitive advantage. An article published this week on VehicleServicePros.com discusses the issues fleets face when it comes to keeping their vehicles running and getting a long life from their battery investment. As they note, “Developing a solid preventive maintenance program where batteries are checked on a regular basis can help identify battery problems early, helping to prevent costly no-start situations and battery-related breakdowns.” It’s definitely worth a look if you are responsible for fleet service.

When Working Around Batteries, It’s Safety First

As noted in the heading of this article, “Although battery maintenance is deceptively simple, it can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken.” Truer words have never been spoken. Vehicle batteries are deployed to provide high power bursts to start the vehicle or power specific systems. That power is great when it is harness to perform its assigned task. But, that same power can severely and negatively impact the well being of techs and vehicle owners alike who grow carless and fail to respect it. Following some simple steps can greatly reduce the likelihood of personal injury. This article gives a quick rundown.

For most vehicle owners, when they think of their ride, the last thing they think about is their battery and its state of health… until it isn’t so healthy and starts giving them problems. For shops, batteries are just one of many areas of growing complexity when it comes to vehicle service. But, arming yourself with updated battery knowledge and the tools need to assess and service current batteries can make the task much easier. Have you run into a difficult or strange battery service situation recently? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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