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Is My Truck Battery Good Or Bad?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Is My Truck Battery Good Or Bad?

Elliott Turner
21 September 2008

The condition of the lead plates inside the cells of your truck battery is the factor which will decide if your battery is still serviceable or if you need a replacement. Electrical current is produced when the sulfuric acid interacts with the lead plates in the cells of the battery. As the battery sends the power out, sulfate will accumulate on the plates, which will reduce the battery�s ability to make electrical current. The sulfate is turned back into sulfuric acid when the alternator recharges the battery by sending electrical current back into the battery.

As the battery ages some of the sulfate remain on the plates becoming permanently attached. The sulfate will then form a barrier, which lessens the battery�s ability to produce and store electricity. If the battery is being depleted of its electricity and allowed to remain in that condition for a few days, the battery�s ability to produce and store electricity will lessen even further. The battery will soon get to the point of becoming unable to take a charge and will need to be replaced.

The average life of a battery is only about four or five years, which can be shortened in extreme hot temperatures such as in Arizona and New Mexico. The battery can acquire a sulfated build up if it never fully recharged, which can be cause by charging problems or if you never drive the car far enough to recharge the battery completely. It can also be caused by allowing water to drop down past the top of the cells, which can be the result of overcharging or hot weather. Allowing the plates to dry out will cause the battery to build up sulfate.

Battery testing is something you really can�t do on your own unless you have the right equipment. A voltmeter just won�t cut it without a proper and precise load sequence applied to the battery. Conductance testing is a good quick test, but false positives and false negatives are a big factor when you rely on these methods. The condition of the battery can be determined by a load test, but be careful what type of load you are applying and how you are applying it.

This is your truck battery we are talking about here. You need to be able to rely on the accuracy of this test to let you know if you need to replace your battery or not. The last thing anyone needs is to be stranded or broken down because the battery won�t start. You could be out in the sticks on your own with no way to get a jump. So if you need to test your battery to check its condition, use one of the best testers on the market and you can feel confident in the results you receive.

Find out more about what battery tester you need and what type of batter test method will work best for you at the battery research center.

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