Help Make Summer Road Trips a Breeze with the Right Battery Selection

Summer is here, which brings with it warmer weather, vacations to the shore and scenic seasonal views. It is also a great time of year to travel and visit with family, friends and loved ones. As many people live far away from relatives, visiting family may require driving long distances. Ensuring that your vehicle is properly maintained and in good condition is particularly important for long road trips.

Proper maintenance includes attention to the battery to prevent insufficient charge, inability to hold a charge or even failure. The vehicle’s performance can provide evidence of the battery’s condition. Warning signs include hesitation or a clicking sound when turning the ignition; dim or flickering lights; dashboard indicators, including the “Check Engine” indicator light; diminished performance of power windows and door locks, or other electrical devices in the car’s interior; and slow or halting acceleration.

Even if there are no problems with the vehicle’s performance, routine maintenance is recommended to help with continued reliability. When handling the battery, wear goggles and gloves and use insulated tools to prevent a short circuit in the battery. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling and direct all questions to a battery professional.

  • Inspection: Secure all cable connections, and 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 to avoid draining the battery. If cleaning is required, disconnect the battery. Clean away acid accumulation with ammonia or a paste of one part baking soda to three parts water. Remove deposits from the terminals with a battery terminal brush and wash the case and clamps with water. Once the battery is reconnected, the terminals should be coated with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to minimize more deposits. 
  • Testing: To determine the battery’s State of Charge (SOC), measure the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) with a voltmeter at least six 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.
  • Charging: Nothing helps a battery perform for its intended service life like proper charging. Keeping the battery fully charged prevents sulfation, which is the accumulation of lead sulfate crystals on the plates that interferes with the battery’s ability to hold a charge. Consult the battery manufacturer’s specifications for the proper charge settings.

Conventional flooded lead acid batteries also require replenishment of the battery electrolyte with distilled water to replace water lost through evaporation. Other battery designs, however, have eliminated this step to make them virtually maintenance-free. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, introduced in 1972, do not require adding water to the cells or inspection of the vent line. They also hold a charge much longer without frequent recharging. Advancement in AGM technology led to the development of Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) batteries that deliver greater power for Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI) and greater deep-cycling capability for auxiliary loads.

Pure lead plates can be made thinner than plates made with alloys of lead and calcium or antimony, so more can fit into the same footprint as a comparably sized, conventional lead acid battery. The additional plates provide greater active surface area that increase the electrochemical reactions with the electrolyte, which results in double to triple the cranking power of conventional lead acid batteries.

ODYSSEY® batteries feature proprietary TPPL technology that provides slower rates of self-discharge than other batteries, which extends their shelf life up to two years (three times that of conventional batteries) before it needs a recharge. They are designed for more than 400 charge/discharge cycles at up to 80 percent Depth of Discharge (DOD) to provide enough power to not only start the engine, but also support onboard electronics without compromising reliability.

Visiting relatives is more fun when there’s no need to worry about the battery’s dependability. ODYSSEY® batteries can provide peace of mind to make any road trip, whether it’s across the country or to a nearby neighborhood, more free from concerns about starting the engine, powering onboard accessories or withstanding rugged conditions.

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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


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