As temperatures fall, vehicle batteries are usually the first to suffer from the cold, losing 35% of their strength at 30° F and 60% at 0° F. However, when faced with a vehicle that won¹t start, people are easily misled into thinking their batteries are dead and need replacing, costing millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses in the U.S. annually with operational batteries being sent to smelters and landfills prematurely.
"Battery failure, especially in cold and inclement weather, can be avoided us failure is never cheap or convenient," said Rick Miller, a manager with PulseTech Products Corporation.
Miller said fuel conditioners, antifreeze additives, oil additives, and body finish products are items people typically consider when winterizing their vehicles for the season. Batteries, he said, are often out-of-mind until the vehicle won¹t start, and should be part of the winter prep checklist. Simple and inexpensive maintenance provides a reliable battery start this season and for years to come.
Ever wonder why a battery "dies?"
The interaction of sulfuric acid with the surface area of the lead plates is at the heart of a battery¹s ability to create, store and release energy. Basically, a battery is able to store and supply energy if enough of the active plate material is available to allow an energy transfer to occur naturally. In theory, batteries should last many years, but they usually don¹t because of a series of detrimental problems caused by "excessive sulfation buildup" that leads to premature battery failure. During cold temperatures it can take up to twice as much current to start a vehicle as under normal conditions. A poorly maintained battery just doesn't stand a chance.
"When it's cold outside, sulfation buildup in combination with the slow down of the chemical reaction within the battery will rob the battery's ability to provide operational power and is only exaggerated as vehicle fluids thicken due to the cold," said Miller. "This cold condition causes even more available power and capability to be taken from the battery to start the vehicle, so the battery has to work harder than normal to provide additional power demanded by the vehicle and as a result realizes a further reduction in voltage causing faster buildup of sulfates on the lead plates."
Miller said the answer is routine maintenance. This includes the regular cleaning and tightening of cable ends and battery terminals, checking battery acid levels (if the system allows), and most importantly the routine use of an intuitive Smart Maintenance Charger that utilizes the patented Pulse Technology. Pulse Technology provides "vitamins for the battery" keeping it in peak condition and extending battery life up to five times.
Miller recommends a desulfation maintenance charger, such as PulseTech's Xtreme Charge battery charger and Desulfator. The Xtreme Charger XC100-P evaluates and tests all types of 12-volt lead-acid batteries regardless of size of CCA rating, including AGM, gel-cell, and VRLA. This "smart" battery charger makes maintenance and bulk charging simple with proprietary algorithms and microprocessor controlled technology that measures voltage and current to determine the proper operating charge. The variable float charge, of this battery charger, improves battery condition by increasing the charge rate safely to optimal levels and protecting it from being overcharged.
For those with multiple 12-volt batteries to maintain, try PulseTech's new QuadLink Kit which depending on the model can maintain either four or eight batteries at a time.
"Don¹t fall victim to the "dead battery winter vortex" that is so prevalent during this time of year," he cautioned. "Regular battery maintenance will keep you moving."