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Battery Life Suffers in the Summer

By August 11, 2021January 25th, 2022No Comments
Battery life battery service

Most of us have heard that cold winters are the death knell for machine batteries. However, summer’s heat damages battery life. When a battery heats up, the chemical reaction inside accelerates. 

This acceleration at first seems like a positive: your engine starts. However, this process also speeds your battery towards early failure. 

High Temperatures and Battery Life

When your battery meets high temperatures, the chemical reaction that generates power occurs more rapidly. This accelerated reaction means that it’s easier to turn over your engine in June rather than an icy day in February. 

However, the current conducting grids inside corrode in hotter temperatures. This damage decreases your battery life. It will also affect the battery’s state of charge. 

Heat also increases the rate of sulfation. Sulfation is the crystallisation of lead sulfate. Once the lead sulfate in your battery begins to crystallize, it is difficult to recharge. Sulfation occurs at a faster rate in hotter temperatures, and can ultimately lead to equipment battery failure. 

But What About Winter? 

Warmer weather increases battery capacity. Many of us mistake this with battery health. But as we discussed above, it turns out summer is the silent battery killer. Your battery capacity may be lower in colder weather, but battery life is longer. 

The battery experts at Intercel note that “for every 15 degrees F over 77, your battery life is cut in half.” This statistic refers to any lead-acid battery, whether it’s AGM or industrial.  

Consequently, when winter does come around, summer has weakened your battery. So when you go to start your machine on that icy day we mentioned, the battery may not be strong enough to handle cold fuel. Cold weather also makes it more difficult for the alternator to top off the battery again. 

So while your skid steer battery may fail you in winter, it was the heat wave that set it up for failure. Good battery hygiene year round can help you avoid these pitfalls.

Protect Your Battery Life

Whenever possible, be mindful of your storage. A parking cover or garage is ideal for shade. Keep in mind that batteries that corrode and fall to sulfation are not eligible for repair. They will need to be replaced. 

Thoughtful storage solutions can save you the expense of replacing an equipment battery earlier than you planned. Aim for temperate storage conditions whenever possible. 

Another tip is to consider the temperature in which you charge your heavy equipment battery. Remember that a battery will heat up while charging. So if your machine just finished a project, let your battery cool off prior to charging. And we mean completely cool off, let it rest for at least eight hours. 

Lead-acid batteries are particularly prone to overheating. You can combat this tendency by installing a fan, and proper watering. Lithium-ion batteries, like the one that powers CASE’s fully electric Backhoe Loader, are less vulnerable to water evaporation issues.  

You can also extend your battery life by using solar panels on your heavy machinery. This is an excellent way to reduce the strain on your machine’s battery. Learn more about solar panels for your machines here. 

Lastly, you should consider machine maintenance a priority. A regular service can help you spot any issues. Our team of experts at Sonsray can help you with your maintenance needs.