Summer truck battery maintenance is a must. It is a common misconception that winter weather is harder on batteries than summer weather. Warmer temperatures increase battery capacity, making it easier to turn over the engine. However, warm temperatures speed up the rate of deterioration. Stay on top of summer truck battery maintenance with these tips.
Before getting into the tips, here are a couple of keywords and definitions:
Sulfation Definition: High temperatures increase the rate of sulfation, which is the build-up of lead sulfate crystals. Lead sulfate forms naturally on both electrodes when the battery discharges. The lead sulfate easily recharges if the recharge occurs right away. However, when not promptly recharged, large crystals (sulfation) form. Sulfation occurs faster in high temperatures and can lead to battery failure.
Parasitic Loads Definition: Parasitic loads are one of the most common causes of draining battery life. Parasitic loads are small currents (typically just a few millamps) that the battery continuously delivers. They are caused by the truck’s electronic devices drawing power even when they are not in use. For example, a TV still draws a small amount of power even when it is turned off because it is still plugged into the wall. Small parasitic loads add up so don’t overlook their effect on the battery.
Summer Truck Battery Maintenance Tips
Proper summer truck battery maintenance drastically extends service life. Our service department put together four truck battery maintenance tips, helping prevent batteries from experiencing excessive discharge and premature deterioration
- Keep the battery cool. Parking in shaded or covered areas can help extend battery life. When storing batteries, check the manufacturer’s recommended storage temperature.
- Keep electronics turned off. Electronics are the main source of parasitic loads and play a significant role in draining battery power. Power down electronics before exiting the vehicle. This is especially important if the engine is going to remain inactive for an extended period of time.
- Keep moving. Parasitic loads will drain the battery if the engine is inactive for too long. If possible, try to keep the truck on the road and minimize the time spent idling.
- Keep the battery charged. Properly charging the battery is the most important way to ensure the most out of the battery. Use a battery charger if needed.
- If the battery is not sealed and has removable fluid caps, check the fluid levels weekly. Then, fill to the correct level with distilled water.
How to Clean Truck Battery Terminals
Cleaning the corrosion from the battery terminals is another effective way to prolong battery life. To clean battery terminals, follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Pour warm water on battery posts to begin the cleaning process.
Step 2: Use a wrench to remove the battery cable terminal clamp from the battery post. For your safety, remove the negative side first.
Step 3: Stir two tablespoons of baking soda into a cup of warm water.
Step 4: Dip the battery cable terminal into the mixture to help break down corrosion.
Step 5: Pour remaining baking soda mixture onto the battery posts
Step 6: Use a battery-cleaning brush to scrub the posts and the inside of the terminals. Brushes are available at any auto parts store.
Step 7: Coat the terminal or post and the cable end with dielectric (silicone) grease.
Step 8: Re-clamp the terminals to the battery posts
Step 9: Clean off the battery
Step 10: Apply silicone grease to the terminals to prevent further corrosion.
Keep your truck running smoothly down the road by making sure the battery is ready for summer. In order for batteries to perform as intended, they must be properly charged and corrosion free. Luckily, our service department can not only help with batteries, but all your truck battery maintenance needs! Contact TNT Service Center
Kirk Booth is the Service Manager of Truck-N-Trailer, a family owned and operated shop dedicated to providing the best medium and light duty delivery and work trucks, vans, and services to fit the individual needs of its customers. He has been dedicated to providing excellent service to his customers for over 13 years. Kirk has 25 years in the automotive industry and his technicians (and himself) hold many factory training certifications. They take pride in being a “One Stop Shop.”