A dead battery in your off-road truck or Jeep is nothing short of a nuisance, though it could even end up being a danger if it happens when you’re off-roading miles away from civilization.
Knowing that batteries don’t last forever and will sooner or later become unreliable, die outright, or just need to be replaced, the safest way to avoid getting stuck somewhere in the wilderness or when testing your rock crawling skills is prevention.
If you know the main reasons why batteries die in the first place, you can take the necessary steps to keep yours working, and keep your off-roader moving!
1. Avoid Careless Battery-Killing Mistakes
The number one killer of batteries in trucks of all kinds including off-road trucks is careless mistakes that drain the energy all the way down.
Leaving any lights on, even just the interior light, tops the list as the most frequently-committed mistake that can leave you with no juice to start up.
Beyond that, keep in mind that everything from charging up your electronics and GPS to running an anti-theft system or repeatedly starting your vehicle without driving it enough can weaken your battery.
If you’re out and pretty remote, keep this in mind to preserve the starting power you do have and reduce the draw on your battery when you’re not going anywhere.
If you think you could be draining the battery, start it up and drive it a while to get it charged back up again.
2. Keep the Terminals Clean
Battery acid is highly corrosive and very likely to corrode the battery terminals if they’re not kept clean.
That’s why it’s so important to periodically open the hood of your off-roader and check for corrosion and residue on your battery terminals, disconnect the cables, and clean them off with a wire brush when they’re dirty.
Gunked-up battery terminals make it harder for the alternator to keep the battery charged and after a while, you could end up with a dead battery if there’s less charge going in than coming out.
3. Regularly Test the Electricals
Speaking of the alternator, a weak one is not going to be able to keep your battery charged.
People many times mistake what is an alternator problem or electrical drain for a battery problem, replace the battery, and still experience the same thing all over again.
Periodically have the electricals including the alternator on your off-road vehicle tested to avoid the possibility of running out of charge while you’re on the trail somewhere.
4. Understand the Effect of Cold Temperatures
Just as batteries in small appliances and devices get depleted in cold temperatures, the same thing happens to car and truck batteries too and extremely cold temperatures can kill a weak battery completely overnight.
Even temperatures just below freezing can weaken a battery enough that it does not have enough power to turn the engine over and ends up dead from trying.
To avoid dealing with this issue, there are only two things you can do:
- Have your battery tested to know if it’s strong enough to get through extremely cold snaps.
- If possible, keep your off-road beast in a garage overnight.
If the battery is older or weakened, it might be a good idea to replace it before you head into winter.
If you like to off-road in the winter, making sure that your battery is strong enough to make it through the day and not leave you stranded is a safety priority.
5. Accept that It Won’t Last Forever
Above all, do keep in mind that car and truck batteries are replaceable parts and will eventually stop working as efficiently as they did when new.
Normal use, extreme weather, and recharging after going dead a few times can reduce the lifespan of your battery.
When you’re relying on it to keep your off-road vehicle running, it’s critical to test it before heading out so you can gauge its performance and decide if you’d be safer replacing it before you head out.
A Strong Battery Equals Safe Off-Roading!
Safety always comes first when you’re preparing to head off-road, whether planning on traveling remote trails or just practicing your hill climbing skills at a local site.
A basic precaution to take is to check your battery condition before each outing and practice good battery maintenance so you can deal with any issues ahead of time rather than assume all is fine and end up stuck far from home.
Eliminate the risk of getting stranded by always going out with a strong battery and healthy charging system!