×
Your cart is empty.
Save Big $$ on Roof Systems with Pickup at Our Location
Contact us at 770-262-0214

Contact Us at Black Dog Customs:

We’d like to hear from you!

Blog

BLOG

The Importance of Battery Maintenance (7/1/19)

Written by: Sebastian Vaden

Summary:

Batteries are often one of the most overlooked, yet crucial components of a vehicle. Properly Maintaining your batteries is important and very simple if you are willing to take the time to do it and furthermore understand how. One important thing to note is that just like rust on a car, battery sulfation can be prevented but it can not be reversed. This is why regular preventative maintenance is so important not just in regards to the batteries, but every aspect of your vehicle from your hubs to your oil. Water levels in flooded type batteries should be checked monthly and topped off with distilled water in accordance with the instructions on the battery. At the same time, you want to ensure the batteries and cables are clean and free of corrosion.

This is where using a good quality smart charger comes into play. Here at Blackdog, we use Noco G26000 intelligent chargers to charge, maintain, and even recover all of our batteries. With our NATO Slave cable adapter maintaining your batteries becomes quick and easy, with no need to remove the passenger seat to gain access to the batteries. Simply plug in the slave cable to your charger and it does the rest. 

Taking the time to perform regular preventative maintenance will allow you to get the longest possible life cycle out of your batteries. Not only will you avoid the headache of going to start your truck just to find it is dead and needs a jump or a charge before you can go for a drive, but you’ll benefit financially by not having to replace batteries as often. Proper charging and regular maintenance can easily double the life of your batteries. When you consider that a set of 6TL batteries ranges from $450-$1200, the benefits of taking a few minutes each month to check them and investing in a good quality charger quickly becomes the more cost-effective move.    

 

Whole Article:

Batteries are often one of the most overlooked, yet crucial components of a vehicle. Properly Maintaining your batteries is important and very simple if you are willing to take the time to do it and furthermore understand how. One important thing to note is that just like rust on a car, battery sulfation can be prevented but it can not be reversed. This is why regular preventative maintenance is so important not just in regards to the batteries, but every aspect of your vehicle from your hubs to your oil. Water levels in flooded type batteries should be checked monthly and topped off with distilled water in accordance with the instructions on the battery. At the same time, you want to ensure the batteries and cables are clean and free of corrosion.

Even with no load on them, the lead-acid batteries state of charge will diminish over time; this is referred to as Self-discharge. When left in a vehicle there is often a slight parasitic draw due to the electronics. As vehicles age and more issues present themselves this parasitic draw can increase and become more significant, which leads to the battery draining more quickly. A parasitic draw if left unchecked can drain your 12v battery down, over-discharging it and damaging the lead plates in the process causing them to swell and warp. If you are lucky and discover the problem quickly, you may be able to recover the batteries before too much capacity has been lost due to sulfation and plate-stress. With that said, a recovered battery will never offer the same performance or last as long as well maintained one. 

A 12 volt flooded lead-acid battery when fully charged should read 12.7 volts at rest; 12.6v is 80% charged, 12.5v is 70%, 12.3v is 50%, 12.0v is 25%, and 11.8v is 0% charged. Dry cell AGM batteries, such as the Hawker 6TL’s will rest higher, at 13.0 volts when fully charged. When the voltage falls below 10.5v the lead plates will begin to swell and warp leading to damage. When the voltage falls below 12.5v (12.65v for AGM’s) the battery will begin sulfating; sulfation is the irreversible build-up of lead sulfate crystals and is the number one cause of early failures in lead batteries. The longer the battery is left sitting and the lower the voltage, the more quickly the battery will sulfate and more capacity will be lost (again, think rust on a car). Lead batteries can only safely charge so fast and will take several hours to reach 100% state of charge. Because of this, your batteries never really have an opportunity to fully charge just from running the vehicle and charging them with the alternator/generator. 

This is where using a good quality smart charger comes into play. Here at Blackdog, we use Noco G26000 intelligent chargers to charge, maintain, and even recover all of our batteries. With our NATO Slave cable adapter maintaining your batteries becomes quick and easy, with no need to remove the passenger seat to gain access to the batteries. Simply plug in the slave cable to your charger and it does the rest. The G26000 even remembers the last setting you used and returns to that setting automatically, so there is no need to manually switch charge modes each time you plug it in. It has a setting for standard flooded as well as AGM batteries for both 12v and 24v applications. It also has a few other nice features such as a 13.5v 5 amp bench power supply mode which can be useful in recovering over-discharged batteries and is able to charge 16v AGM racing batteries as well as 12v and 16v lithium batteries. Another nice feature they have is load tracking. So if you did have a parasitic drain on the vehicle, the charger is able to detect it and compensate for the load. This ensures the batteries stay charged without risk of overcharging them. There are many “desulfating” chargers available, even the G26000 has a desulfating ‘recovery mode’. Keep in mind that desulfating chargers are only semi-effective with flooded batteries in recovering lost capacity and are pretty much completely ineffective if not harmful for AGM batteries.     

Aside from maintaining your batteries, it is important to ensure you have the correct size and capacity batteries which are both the same age and built by the same manufacturer. Using different capacity, age, or brands of batteries together will diminish their expected lifespan. One of the most common mistakes we see is trucks with the incorrect batteries installed. It is important to keep in mind that there are 3 equally crucial ways in which batteries are rated. Most people are familiar with CCA or Cold Cranking Amps, which is the amount of power the battery is rated to put out at 32’F for a duration of 30 seconds. Often overlooked are the Reserve capacity (RC)  and 20-Hour capacity or Ah amp-hour rating. These ratings relate to how long the battery is able to hold an accessory load over various lengths of time. The 6TL batteries HMMWV’s are designed to use are rated at 750CCA, 230 minutes reserve @25 amps draw, and capacity of 120Ah. While many batteries, such as a group 65 (65Ah, 140 mins RC), may meet or exceed the CCA rating, they fall significantly short of the capacity and RC ratings which leads to problems. Optima G34 batteries, for example, are 750-800CCA but only 50-55Ah and 100-120 minutes RC which is less than half of what these trucks are designed for. This means they may be able to start the truck, but will have a much more difficult time running accessories or even performing regular tasks such as powering the glow plugs resulting in increased voltage drop under load which will degrade electronic components more quickly and is more stressful on the batteries themselves further reducing their life expectancy. 

Taking the time to perform regular preventative maintenance will allow you to get the longest possible life cycle out of your batteries. Not only will you avoid the headache of going to start your truck just to find it is dead and needs a jump or a charge before you can go for a drive, but you’ll benefit financially by not having to replace batteries as often. Proper charging and regular maintenance can easily double the life of your batteries. When you consider that a set of 6TL batteries ranges from $450-$1200, the benefits of taking a few minutes each month to check them and investing in a good quality charger becomes a wise choice.