Winter time brings all its own challenges, the last thing you need is for your truck to not start one morning because of a bad battery. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t get stuck at home one morning.
1. When you purchase your next battery, it’s wise to purchase a quality, reputable brand with at least a 5-year warranty. While warranty alone is not a sure-fire indicator of quality, it’s reassuring to know a company stands behind their product for years to come. Keep the receipt in your glove box, and make note of the build date of the battery when picking one out, most stores take them off a shelf after one year but make sure you’re not buying an antique. Less expensive “value” batteries with 12 month warranties might seem like a reasonable alternative, but investing in such a crucial component will pay for itself down the road.
2. Check the health of your battery often; even if it is fairly new. This is beyond making sure the battery has good voltage. Many shops use a conductance tester to check battery condition; this test takes less than a minute, and may be part of a multipoint inspection that comes with an oil change. To lure in potential customers, many parts stores offer free battery, alternator and starter tests, without having to remove the part. If you want to do this yourself at home, it’s simple, inexpensive and the testers are readily available at many parts stores. I recommend checking battery condition 2-4 times a year. This will ensure you catch a charging concern before it becomes a bigger problem.
3. Take care of any charging concerns in a timely manner. Charging system faults can present themselves in several different ways, from dim headlights, slow starts, to the red battery light on the dash lighting up. A weak charging system can affect not only the battery, but also the modules (computers) on some trucks. Promptly addressing these problems can prevent larger headaches down the road.