No longer a simple job
Battery replacement in modern vehicles is no longer a simple or quick job. Advancements in vehicle design and manufacture, driven by environmental issues and increasing on-board AI technologies has demanded a modern battery meets a whole new level of performance. Start-Stop technology alone now require the ability to withstand repeated charge and discharge cycles up to 50% depth without failure. Where the standard flood-lead-acid battery had a lifespan of up to 40,000 starts, the modern AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) can cope with 360,000 engine starts.
Modern vehicles come with a Battery Management System (BMS) and it is essential when replacing a battery that a matching battery with the correct specification is fitted and then reset with the vehicle on-board diagnostics. Fitting the wrong battery or failing to reset with the vehicle BMS can result in battery damage, vehicle failing to start, loosing the Stop-Start function and on-board error messages appearing.
Three key steps in battery replacement
- Understanding the difference in batteries and knowing how to identify and order the correct battery required for the vehicle. The day when battery size was a good indicator of what was required is long gone. Contacting you local motor factor with the vehicle registration number or make and model can be the first step in correct selection or searching on-line, as many of the more reputable OE battery manufactures have on-line search platforms to facilitate correct battery finding.
- Knowing the fitting process and the time required (on some new vehicles, battery replacement can be extremely time consuming involving the removable of seats or panels to gain access, taking up to two hours). Quoting for a battery fit on the assumption you will find it under the bonnet can be a costly error.
- Validating the new battery with the vehicle Battery Management System. A well equipped modern garage or workshop should have diagnostic tools to validate a new battery. Alternatively there are some handheld diagnostic tools specific to battery validation available like the GS Yu-Fit Battery Configurator.
Education and Training
Increasing one’s knowledge on modern vehicle batteries, selection, fitting and validating is something garage owners and mechanics are finding invaluable and is time well spent.
Speaking to Declan Ennis from Top Part Motor Factors recently, he explained, they has identified a need among their customers for a deeper understanding of what is required in battery replacement in modern vehicles. Prior to Covid 19, they had being holding one day training seminars on Battery Technology for their customers in partnership with GS Yuassa which covered areas like:
Battery types and the characteristics of each
Understanding battery labelling, from OE accreditation to the new European Standard performance markings which explains 'Water Loss', 'Charge Retention', 'Vibration', 'Endurance', 'Micro Cycle'
Understanding the new requirements in battery testing and preparation before fitting (information like; knowing before fitting an AGM, a specific pre-charge is essential for operation and lifespan, knowing there is a specific charger required for AGMs and the dangers of charging on a standard battery charger)
Understanding and training on the GS Battery Lookup System
Battery configuration with the vehicle Battery Management Systems
Declan said the feedback by attendees was very positive following the course and many claimed they were more confident facing back into the workshop. Going forward, when the current restrictions are lifted, Declan said they plan to organise further seminars around the country. Information will be available from your local Top Part store and on our website.
GS Yuassa are one company that also offer on-line up-skilling on battery technology . Featuring over 20 certified courses, tailored to different industry job roles, it provides users with valuable knowledge and practical skills to further enhance business growth and battery potential.
Facing the Future with Confidence
Keeping up with the pace of technological advancement is a challenge for businesses of all sizes and sectors. The auto service industry and all entailed in modern battery technology is no exception. While up-skilling can take an investment of time and mental focus, it can create powerful opportunities going forward. Having the knowledge to service any vehicle and not having to avoid certain vehicle models will give you the edge and a significant competitive advantage over competition as we move forward into a new age in the automotive industry.