Reduce Maintenance Costs by Selecting the Right Battery
By Vicki Hall, Director, Transportation Technical Solutions at EnerSys, ODYSSEY Battery at EnerSys
Even though a battery may be specified or rated for use in your truck, not all batteries are the same, and choosing a quality battery can make a world of difference in terms of cost and performance over the long haul.
Batteries should not be chosen on the basis of adequate performance, but rather, optimum performance—after all, the battery is your truck’s electrical power source upon which so many vital functions depend.
Heavy-duty vehicles face heavy-duty demands. It starts with selecting robust batteries specifically designed for the application, with amp hour ratings that facilitate selection of the best performance for your vehicle. Other important features include a more durable case to withstand road shock and vibration, as well as extreme temperature. Choosing a superior quality battery can payback in many ways and many fold.
Many batteries require regular maintenance and the addition of water to keep them functioning properly. These batteries should also be tested regularly to ensure that they’re up to starting capacity. Regular physical inspection of the battery for any damage or leaks to the case or components is advisable and should be standard practice. These important tasks must be scheduled periodically and typically necessitate downtime. For this reason, it is usually better to choose a battery that requires minimal maintenance, such as an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery, and avoid the hassle.
Choosing the Right Battery
Generally speaking, it’s not the best idea to order replacement batteries in bulk to receive a discount. Each vehicle has a role to play. Choose a battery that’s engineered to meet the demands of your vehicle.
It’s best to purchase batteries specified for the year, make and model of your vehicle. A new battery should ideally be similar in size to the OEM battery. It should have 3-4 inches of clearance from the hood to avoid a potential hazard.
Rating and Type
Battery ratings are a useful tool when selecting a battery that’s right for your specific application. Understanding them will ensure that you have the proper power and energy available to start and operate your vehicle. RC—or reserve capacity—is how much energy is stored after the battery is charged. Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is a measure of the cranking power (current) available in cold weather.
The Advantages of AGM Batteries
Vehicle batteries are called upon to power a range of auxiliary devices in addition to starting the engine. When it comes to your commercial fleet, it makes sense to consider an AGM battery, which are becoming increasingly popular due to a number of advantages compared to conventional batteries:
- More durable for high vibration applications
- Fiberglass mat separator between pure lead plates absorbs electrolyte and makes the battery leakproof
- Provide higher starting power, even at low states of charge and low temperatures
- Better cycling provides longer life and higher reliability
- Hold a charge longer
- Recover better
- Do not fail catastrophically
- Certified as non-hazardous by the US-DOT
Among AGM batteries, Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) batteries like ODYSSEY® batteries, offer the best cost efficiency, longer service life, more reliable operation with great power delivery and support dual-purpose operation.
The next time you need to purchase a battery for your commercial fleet, remember to make your selection based on optimal performance instead of lowest price. The rewards in productivity and cost-efficiency will make it money well-spent.
Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling, and direct any questions to your local battery professional.
Learn more about how ODYSSEY® batteries deliver greater reliability and value: Technicians may refer to the ODYSSEY® Battery Technical Manual as a good source of information about how ODYSSEY® batteries work. A copy may be downloaded here.