Food Truck Battery Maintenance Tips
Here’s a hot tip about food truck batteries: Warm weather is the time for major automotive-battery problems. Heat, not cold, shortens battery life. The average life of a battery is three and a half years, and even shorter in warmer climates.
Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That can mean a slow death for a battery.
Statistics from a recent study show battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 13 percent of the vehicles and seven percent of the batteries were not properly held down.
To get the most life out of the battery in your food truck, we suggest the following:
- Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
- If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off (not very common these days), check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
- Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
- Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.
- The terminals are the positive and negative plugs on top of the truck battery that connect to the corresponding wires to transfer energy from battery to car. Clean these terminals with a wire brush every three months or so.
- Disconnect your battery if you know you won’t drive the vehicle for more than two weeks. This prevents a gradual loss of charge.
- The alternator recharges the battery while the truck runs. However, the food truck must be on for at least 20 minutes to fully recharge the battery. Try to limit how many short trips you take, many starting cycles, coupled with short run times will leave your battery below the ideal charged specification. This cycle will lead to a short life for your food truck’s battery.