Tech Tip: Combating Cold Weather

For many, the winter months mean the headache of trucks and other heavy duty vehicles that won’t start. The incidences of hard starting, no starting, battery replacement and the need for jump starts spike when the cold weather hits. But these are just symptoms of problems related to the overall health of the complete starting and charging system.

As cold temperatures invade most parts of the U.S. this time of the year, it’s vital that your customers understand the importance of checking the integrity of starter cables and connections, as well as load testing and verifying the batteries are in good shape. All of these are necessary to the long-term “health” of heavy duty vehicles. And, at the same time, it’s important not to overlook the role of the charging system in preventing cold weather-related starting problems.

Tip: The single best way to increase the odds of starting a vehicle on a cold morning is to have completely and fully charged batteries every time the driver turns the key! It is the job of the charging system to ensure that the batteries are completely charged every time the vehicle is turned off, including at the end of the day’s work.

What you should do:
  • Check the belts, pulleys and drive system.
  • Check the tightness of the mounting bolts and re-torque to the manufacturer’s  specifications.
  • Visually inspect the rectifier fins for dirt or clogging. Don’t be afraid to blow the fins out with compressed air so you don’t have early diode failures because of heat build-up in a dirty rectifier set.
  • Perform a voltage drop test on the cables. Stay at no more than .5v (one half) loss from the alternator terminals to the battery terminals at full-rated alternator output.
Helpful Hint: If you are unfamiliar with how to perform a voltage drop test, contact us at 1-800-372-0222. If you are using a Delco Remy alternator with the Remote Sense feature, make sure it is hooked up to ensure the proper voltage is being received at the battery terminals. This will greatly increase your chances of having a fully charged battery between stops! Remote Sense alternators have proven to be the best way to completely charge the batteries between stops and thereby extend battery life. 

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