It is no secret that reducing downtime is a top priority for fleets. Major causes of downtime involve electrical issues, specifically dead batteries.

Ensuring charged batteries in all trucks within a fleet can be a daunting task. Limited manpower and electrical expertise prevent trucking fleet maintenance directors from overseeing a successful battery program, not to mention the vicious cycle of dealing with operational emergencies resulting from the dead battery itself.

If you are buying a lot of batteries or not getting consistent warranty for your batteries, your battery program is most likely not working.  You may need to do some survey work by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are you buying the correct batteries?

Not all batteries are created equal and not all fleets operate the same. Depending on a variety of factors, your batteries may simply not be the right fit for your fleet.

  • How are you buying your batteries?

If your fleet has multiple terminals and each terminal purchases its own batteries, you are at risk in two major ways. First, your buying power is reduced, which often leads to settling for an inferior product due to higher costs. Second, the battery manufacturer and/or models could be different, which results in troubleshooting chaos and warranty nightmares.

  • Are your technicians testing the batteries properly?

Surprisingly, technicians may not be testing batteries correctly or using the right tools. The result – the real cause of dead batteries is not discovered and good batteries are thrown away. Don’t blame the technicians too much though – proper testing procedures and equipment are often not a major topic during their training.

  • Are you monitoring your battery warranty program?

If you are sending a lot of batteries back for warranty and getting denied, this is a confident sign there may be a bigger problem at play. Of course, in order to discover your warranty issues, you have to monitor your warranty program carefully, which you legitimately may not have time to do. By the way, monitoring your warranty program is not a one-time event – it requires consistent, ongoing oversight.

Being honest with yourself and your processes are the first steps to breaking that vicious dead battery “put a Band-Aid on it” fix-it-and-forget-it cycle that keeps you stressed, increases waste, raises costs and promotes downtime.

What’s your take? In your experience, what other questions should one ask to help resolve battery issues? We would love to hear your comments below.

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