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Batteries Failing in cold temps

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by areoseek, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. areoseek

    areoseek Senior Member
    from Erie PA
    Messages: 114

    I had two batteries fail to crank this evening due to these crazy temps. have them inside warming up right now.. I know diesel trucks have block heaters, but do they make plug in battery heaters? anyone have success with them? I'd put the truck in the garage, but it's too tall with the lights on it.

    never had this happen before.
  2. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    Not sure how old you batteries are,but that's usually a sign that they're on their last legs.
  3. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870


    Also I don't think a battery heater would be a real safe idea, maybe look into a battery maintainer.
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,143

    or install a block heater. Doesn't matter if it's a diesel or not. They work for gas engines as well.
  5. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622

    Always load test the batteries just before your plow season starts.

    When you buy a battery always buy the largest group size available that will fit.

    Delco maintenance free batteries are sealed and you would have to break off the top caps to add water.

    Other maintenance free batteries have two large rectangle tops that are in reality removable battery caps. Even though they are sold as maintenance free batteries. They need to have water level checked an topped off when needed.

    I have seen so many maintenance free batteries that had the tops of the plates exposed because the water levels dropped that low.

    Batteries that will die in the cold weather will make it through the warm weather. Ever have a engine that had trouble starting on a very cold day near the end of the March? Then work ok till November then die?

    That is because a battery uses chemical energy to make electrical energy. Temperature is one of things that controls chemical activity. More heat the faster the chemical reaction. Less heat and the chemical reaction slows down.

    This is why pushing a car into a heated garage that barely cranked over and let the battery warm up it will then crank over and start. However parking the car in the heated garage did not repair the battery.

    Because a good battery will be able to produce enough electricity during cold temperatures.
  6. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    I use a .75 amp trickle charger on my truck along with two block heaters it has started every time this winter, it has been on average minus 20~ 25f here for several weeks. If you goggle the Canadian tire catalogue you will find battery warming and charging supplies that will give you ideas to resolve your problems. As members above have suggested check your battery as much as possible load, fluid. Good luck.
  7. mud

    mud Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Yes they do make them. That being said I agree with the others that they are probably on their last legs. I run neither heaters or blankets on my diesel equipment and as long as they are plugged in they will fire off at any temp even with very cold temps. Much of that however has to do with how often I replace the batteries. For instance the ones in my truck seem to last about 2 years.
  8. MtnCowboy

    MtnCowboy Member
    Messages: 96

    A good integral block heater will allow your engine to turn over as it would on an 80 degree day even if the battery is old. My heater keeps the entire engine compartment warm to the touch. Although not as functional, auto parts stores sell magnetic slap-on heaters that draw 200-300 watts and will ease cranking.

    Your batteries might be going south or they might be undercharged. Even good batteries deliver only 40%-50% of their power at 0 degrees and they also require higher voltage to recharge; because of that, short trips in cold weather can result in a good battery failing to start the engine. Battery Tender and a few other trickle chargers have temperature compensated charging schemes which adjust the charge to the ambient temperature, cold or hot. CTEK makes trickle chargers with a cold weather setting and I'm testing one right now. Never charge a frozen battery.
  9. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Your batteries are going bad. Even if you just bought them, I'd still have them tested for load failure. I've had batteries last 6 years, and others last a few months. Every manufacturer has a percentage of bad products, regardless of the procedures to screen them out.

    If you batteries are over 3 years old, you should just replace them.

    Here's your battery warmer you wanted. they do work, although some have claimed they catch fire when shorted out. Personally, I just make sure my batteries are good to begin with.

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  10. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,220

    Yes they make a battery Jacket/warmer. Just google it. I did and found this for starters.

  11. areoseek

    areoseek Senior Member
    from Erie PA
    Messages: 114

    Well, they were both under warranty, so i exchanged them for two larger batteries with more cold cranking power. The gentelman at advanced auto said they were too small for my v8's
  12. danknight163

    danknight163 Member
    Messages: 65

    just 1 more thought

    if your batteries are no good that means ur alt was working even harder so have them both checked out or u will pay the price like i did 4:30 am truck dead new battery but dead :cry:
  13. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,220

    I used to keep an alt on hand just for that reason. A remaned but at least it was something in case.
  14. areoseek

    areoseek Senior Member
    from Erie PA
    Messages: 114

    that's a very good idea. never thought of it. Mine was changed right before the snow season started, I usually change Fluids, batteries, plugs, and this year I did the alternator and starter when I was diagnosing a charging/starting problem.

    Shes a good old truck. been around since 1985.
  15. johnhenry1933

    johnhenry1933 Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    On my big trucks we have intake as well as block heaters, no problem starting with anti-gel.

    I have purchased eight batteries in the past year, and installed solar trickle chargers on my big trucks as I don't run them every day. That was a good investment as they are always fully charged.
  16. areoseek

    areoseek Senior Member
    from Erie PA
    Messages: 114

    how much power do your solar chargers put out? Do they have something that protects them from overcharging? thats sounds like an amazing idea.
  17. johnhenry1933

    johnhenry1933 Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    I believe they're 30W per, and yes, there is overcharging protection.