Did you know that electrical systems are one of the most common causes of winter breakdowns? Truck electrical systems today have become highly advanced, and the battery plays a vital role in providing them with a stable power supply. Electrical system failures can be shocking, but proactively checking and testing your truck’s electrical system—especially during the dark, cold winter months—will greatly reduce the chance of an electrical emergency.
Understanding different types of truck batteries
While the service and maintenance method for all truck batteries is similar, understanding the difference between battery types, along with selecting the right model for your vehicle, is a fundamental part of preventing battery issues.
- Flooded cell batteries: – If your fuel hasn’t been treated for the temperatures your vehicles are headed toward, you should consider treating the fuel directly in the tanks. Stop into one of our travel stores or a TA Truck Service facility to shop our selection of diesel fuel additives.
- Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries: These have an absorbed glass mat design. They are sometimes referred to as electrolyte starved because they contain very little liquid, and the liquid they do contain is absorbed into the plates. AGM batteries have a sealed case that experiences slight pressure and includes a pressure release system. These are part of the Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery family, which means they don’t require the addition of water once the battery is in service.
- AGM Pure-Lead batteries: These tend to have more lead and much lower resistance, drastically changing their properties. They can handle much higher amps without building up excessive heat and can deliver a healthy balance of cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. While they are more expensive, they have more internal material along with a stronger case, and will tolerate more depth of discharge (DOD) cycles.
- Energy storage modules (ESM): This type of unit replaces one of the batteries in a set and uses ultra-capacitors to start the vehicle. ESM technology delivers reliable cranking amps regardless of the ambient temperature and is typically used in a vehicle that must be started frequently throughout the day. However, the vehicle will surrender the reserve capacity of the battery that was replaced, so if you need the hotel loads, this battery may not be the best fit.
For more information, visit How to Maintain Your Commercial Truck Batteries.