Off-roading will really put any 4x4 truck to the test, putting extra strain on many of its mechanical and electrical systems in the process.
Battery problems are common, especially with full-time off-road toys that don’t hit the street every day as a daily driver.
Since planning a big day out on the trails only to face a dead battery in the morning or stalling and not being able to get started again is no fun, keep these battery-killing ideas in mind and take steps to prevent them.
With a healthy, fully-charged battery that is always ready to go, you will be able to get to the trails in your weekend warrior and enjoy them without worrying about a battery leaving you stranded!
1. Battery Age
First and foremost, batteries do eventually get old and as they do, their ability to perform is reduced.
An old battery may charge less efficiently or lose its charge more easily than a newer battery will.
Every battery comes from the manufacturer with a life expectancy depending on its type, size, and quality.
Though most off-road truck batteries do long outlast that expectancy, that does not always mean they won't start suffering from age-related charging issues.
Avoid encountering a dead battery, either in the garage or on the trail, by frequently testing an older battery to ensure it is still able to charge fully and if it cannot then replace it.
2. Cold Temperatures
Cold weather is a known battery killer for off-road truck batteries, especially in climates where the overnight temperature frequently goes below zero.
Temperatures at freezing and below weaken a battery’s starting power, the battery getting weaker as the temperature lowers.
That battery in any off-road truck or Jeep that is not in prime condition going into these colder times will most likely not survive.
The best ways to avoid this problem is to:
- Test and charge the battery frequently during colder months.
- Drive the vehicle regularly to ensure it is staying fully charged.
- Use a battery warmer overnight.
- Disconnect the battery and take it inside fully charged if not heading to the trails anytime soon.
Corrosion around battery terminals under the hood of your weekend warrior is one of the most common causes of battery failure yet one of the easiest to remedy.
Simply stated, batteries get battery acid corrosion around the terminal pretty frequently.
If it is not kept clean, all that corrosion can prevent charging from the alternator, eventually leaving you with a dead battery.
Make it a rule to check for corrosion on the terminals every so often and clean them off if corrosion is seen so the battery stays fully charged all the time.
4. Electrical Vampires
Electrical components in any off-road truck or Jeep that are not running correctly can drain batteries very quickly.
- Failing alternators that do not charge the battery anymore are at the top of the list.
- Accidentally leaving the lights, heat or AC, and other electrical components turned on when the truck is not running can drain the battery.
- Bad fuses and broken wiring can also keep the battery endlessly draining even when the vehicle is not running.
Whether accidental or due to a wiring or electrical problem in your off-road 4x4, it is important to track down these causes if they are causing a dead battery.
5. Lack of Use
As backward as it might seem, if your car or truck isn't used enough, a dead battery could be the result as batteries won’t hold a charge endlessly if they are not regularly being recharged by the alternator, especially during winter months.
If you have a 4x4 that sits most of the year and is only taken out a few times, this has undoubtedly happened before.
The fast and easy fix for this is to start your trail warrior every week or two all during the year and take it for a ten-minute drive around the neighborhood to keep the battery well-charged.
Never Have A Dead Battery Again
A dead battery in any off-road truck is disappointing to say the least; however, it can even be dangerous if you end up stranded somewhere with no way to turn the engine over.
Fortunately, most battery problems are easily prevented with proper care and maintenance.
With routine testing, frequent use, and proper off-season care, your off-road truck will roar to life every time you are ready to head out for a day of fun on the trails!