With winter upon us, larger percentages of vehicles fail to start due to dead battery problems. Just last month, one of our Geotab employees experienced a battery problem, even though the temperature was still above 50 degrees Fahrenheit / 10 degrees Celsius. The employee needed to replace the battery which was only about 5 years old – clearly, it failed far too soon.
By analyzing the GPS tracking system data we had on hand, we quickly discovered the employee’s on-road driving patterns played a significant role in reducing the vehicle’s battery life. The vehicle was mainly used for commuting to-and-from work, a distance of less than 3 miles / 5km. Constantly driving a short distance did not provide the vehicle with sufficient battery charging time.
Take Longer Trips Occasionally
To help prevent this sort of surprise longer trips should be taken every so often of at least 30 minutes driving time. This will help maintain the battery at healthy state, especially during winter months when the temperature drops.
Consider Using a Block Heater
Alternatively, you can use something called a block heater, which “warms an engine to increase the chances that the engine will start as well as warm up the vehicle faster than it normally would in extremely cold weather” (Wikipedia, 2013). If you travel to the northern cities, such as Edmonton, you will find that all vehicles have a plug hanging around the hood, even for brand new vehicles. When vehicles are parked outside, the block heater helps to warm up the coolant, engine, as well as lubricants. When the heater is plugged overnight or turned on with an automatic timer even a few hours before your morning drive, it not only helps start the vehicle easily, but also it improves the fuel efficiency in the first few minutes after ignition is on.
Watch For Corrosion
During the battery replacement process, white corrosion was also noticed. This was another contributing factor to the cause of the battery failure. It impacted the electric connection and the resistance between the battery and main circuit – wasting the entire battery.
Employ Preventative Maintenance With GPS tracking systems
GPS tracking systems, also known as GPS fleet management and vehicle tracking technology, collects and uploads a variety of engine data – including the battery health status, to a secure server. This makes checking vehicle status easy to do. Additionally, an event can be created so as to automatically alert you as soon as a battery problem occurs. Preventative maintenance can help rescue you from a failing battery.