Why Heat Is More of an Issue Now Than in the Past

Modern trucks’ aerodynamic skirting allows the tractor to have less drag and reduce fuel usage. An unintended result is the air that used to cool components like the batteries passes by the tractor. Now batteries are subjected to higher temperatures. While batteries perform better in warmer conditions, sometimes continued operation in extreme heat can be too much. When a battery gets hot, it tends to accept higher currents at the same voltage continuously. In time, this will compromise the battery. Shortened battery life results in frequent battery replacement and when vehicles are in the shop they can’t generate revenue.

Heat damaged batteries typically do not exhibit signs of failure until temperatures drop. Batteries are less efficient in the cold and have to work much harder to start the truck. At 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery is at 100% efficiency, but at 0 degrees it is only 65%, losing one third of the power. As Purkeys Chief Creative Engineer Bruce Purkey puts it, “I don’t like to work in cold weather. Guess what–batteries don’t either”.

To help avoid batteries that won’t preform in the winter, fleets can take steps to maintain batteries throughout the year. Purkeys experts suggest preventative maintenance like:

  • Cleaning the battery terminals of dirt and/or corrosion
  • Testing on a regular basis
  • Keeping batteries away from high heat sources
  • Making sure the alternator is working and charging at the correct voltage
  • Ensuring the charging circuit meets TMC’s RP -129 for voltage drop

It is important to keep a battery pack at a full state of charge.  By using these tips fleets will begin to see improved battery life. This will translate into reduced costs, less shop time, and increased revenue.

Are you dealing with battery issues? Are you looking for advice? We welcome your comments and questions below.

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