The Car Care Council, a nonprofit organization that educates motorists about the proper care, maintenance and repair of their vehicles, continues its effort, “Be Car Care Aware,” with Fall Car Care Month in October. The Car Care Council advises that along with heaters, wipers, lights, tires, brakes and filters, the battery needs attention when preparing for the cold weather.
The wear and tear of the summer heat often becomes more apparent when the weather gets colder and the requirements to crank your engine increase. As the Cold Cranking Amps (CCAs) rating represents how much current the battery generates at 0°F (-18°C) to maintain at least 7.2 volts for 30 seconds, frigid conditions increase the functional viscosity of the oil making the engine more difficult to crank, and simultaneously increasing the functional resistance of the battery. These conditions necessitate that the battery produce as many CCAs as possible to run the engine and electrical accessories for a successful start.
Premium-quality Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) batteries, like ODYSSEY® batteries, provide ample CCAs even at a low Depth of Discharge (DOD). Their proprietary technology features pure lead plates that are thinner than those in conventional batteries, so more fit in the same footprint for greater surface area, and therefore, more power. They tolerate temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C) and can recover from deep discharges that occur when powering onboard devices, like heaters, defrosters and radios. ODYSSEY® Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are sealed so they are non-spillable; and do not require watering, making them virtually maintenance-free.
Fall Car Care Month is an opportune time to check in on the condition of the car’s battery through proper inspection, cleaning, testing and charging. Following are some tips for preparing your battery for winter. As always, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling and direct all questions to a battery professional.
Safety first: When handling the battery, protect your eyes and hands with goggles and gloves and use insulated tools to prevent a short circuit in the battery.
Inspection: Make sure all cable connections are secure. Check battery components for corrosion and acid burns. Inspect terminals for stripping and scuffing, the case for cracks and leaks, and hold-down ties for breakage. Damaged cables and clamps may be replaced, but a damaged case or terminals require replacement of the battery itself.
Cleaning: Cables and connections should be free of dirt. If cleaning is required, disconnect the battery. Acid accumulation can be neutralized and cleaned with ammonia or a paste of one part baking soda to three parts water. Clean the deposits from the terminals with a battery terminal brush. Clean the case and clamps with water. Once the battery is reconnected, the terminals should be coated with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to prevent more deposits from accumulating.
Testing: To determine the battery’s State of Charge (SOC), measure the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) with a voltmeter six to eight hours after the battery has been charged. This interval ensures that the chemical reactions in the battery have reached an equilibrium and that the surface charge is gone. The manufacturer’s specifications will indicate the OCV that corresponds to 100 percent SOC (usually 12.7 to 12.9 volts). If a charge is necessary, consult the battery manufacturer’s specifications for the proper level of charge.
Charging: Battery life varies due to many conditions; however, nothing ensures that a battery will perform for its intended service life like proper charging. Keeping the battery fully charged prevents sulfation, which reduces available plate surface area to deliver power or energy. The current must be high enough for a full charge, but not so high that it overheats the battery. Again, consult the battery manufacturer’s specifications for the proper charge settings.
Fall Car Care Month reminds you that preparing your car for the winter will help improve its performance under the season’s harsh weather conditions. If you find that your battery needs replacement, choose a reliable battery, like the ODYSSEY® battery, for enhanced vehicle performance in low temperatures and during demanding power loads.
This year, EnerSys® marks 25 years of ODYSSEY® battery production. To follow the ODYSSEY® battery 25th Anniversary journey, visit our website at www.odysseybattery.com or connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by using the hashtag #MYODYSSEY.
EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, manufactures and distributes energy systems solutions and motive power batteries, specialty batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide. Energy Systems, which combine enclosures, power conversion, power distribution and energy storage, are used in the telecommunication, broadband and utility industries, uninterruptible power supplies and numerous applications. Motive power batteries and chargers are utilized in electric forklift trucks and other industrial electric powered vehicles requiring stored energy solutions. Specialty batteries are used in aerospace and defense applications, large over-the-road trucks, premium automotive, medical and security systems applications. EnerSys also provides aftermarket and customer support services to its customers in over 100 countries through its sales and manufacturing locations around the world. With the NorthStar acquisition, EnerSys has solidified its position as the market leader for premium Thin Plate Pure Lead batteries, which are sold across all three lines of business. More information regarding EnerSys can be found at www.enersys.com.