According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 91 percent of summer trips are in personal vehicles. Ninety percent of summer trips will be for 250-499 one way.
Smart drivers will bring their vehicles to your shop before they hit the road for a summer vacation. It might be just for an oil change, but they are expecting you to inspect their vehicle. Even if the driver has been working from home over the past year, the battery might have lost most of its ability to hold a charge. One hot day could push the battery over the edge. It could happen in their driveway, or it could spoil their vacation.
Spring and summer are just as hard on batteries as winter. Increased under the hood temperatures and electrical loads from the engine cooling system and A/C system can take their toll.
The proper inspection of a battery requires using a tester that can read the temperature of the battery. If you look at a battery’s label, it will give a rating for cold cranking (CCA) amps and cranking amps (CA). If you look at the fine print, you will see the CCA is measured at 0º F and CA is measured at 32º F. During spring and summer, the battery’s temperature is much warmer. If a battery tester can’t compensate for higher temperatures, it can give an optimistic reading that might not reflect the actual condition of the battery.
A battery is only as good as its connections to the vehicle. One of the most neglected connections is the hold-downs. If a battery is loose, it can be subjected to vibration and physical damage. The battery cables can corrode at the terminals and even internally. Often, the corrosion will shorten the life of the new battery.
When replacing a battery on some vehicles, it is critical to reset the battery monitors. Modern vehicles can monitor the internal resistance, temperature and voltage of the battery. By monitoring these items, the electrical system manages the battery to prevent overcharging and discharging of the battery during some key-off operations. If the monitors are not reset after battery replacement, the new battery could be damaged.
When selecting a battery for the customer, there are new options. You can install an AGM battery into a flooded battery application as an upgrade. An AGM battery will give the vehicle more cold cranking power and greater resistance to heat and vibration.
You never want to downgrade a vehicle that came with an AGM battery to a flooded battery. Check the label on the old battery to see if it is an AGM. Also, you can check the battery catalog to see if the vehicle requires an AGM battery.