Battery Myth No. 2

Make sure to charge to 100 percent and equalize charge regularly to keep the electrolyte properly mixed.


TRUE OR FALSECold weather is bad for batteries.

FALSEBatteries like the cold. Lower average battery temperature means longer life expectancy. A typical baggage tractor battery weighs well over 3,000 pounds, which is too much mass to lower the internal temperature over the course of a day or two. Hopefully, the battery is being used and charged, which generates heat and maintains temperature. And even if the internal temperature drops, the electrolyte in a charged battery will not freeze. So in most cases, even freezing temperatures don’t make any difference at all, and possibly they even help.

There is some bad news, however:

  • Lower internal battery temperature means lower capacity: A cold battery could deliver as little as half the capacity of a warm battery. And probably at a time when the tractor is demanding more power to do the same work.
  • Some chargers shut off before cold batteries reach 100 percent state-of-charge: In this case the electrolyte can stratify, leaving mostly water on top and create the possibility of freezing. Unlikely, but possible.

What To Do

Don’t let a tractor sit on the ramp for days. Keep charging and discharging. And make sure you charge to 100 percent and equalize charge regularly to keep the electrolyte properly mixed.