If you ask the average driver what they most commonly check whenever they pop the bonnet on their vehicle, they’d probably mention checking the oil and fluid levels, inspecting for damaged hoses, and maybe even examining their drive belts.
But, how many would say that they regularly check the state of their battery?
It’s an interesting question, and anyone who can’t say they also check the battery is very likely headed towards a predictable outcome. A neglected battery will leave you high and dry – almost certainly when you’re least expecting it – and to most drivers’ surprise, it’s not just a problem with older batteries.
Let’s take a look at where the problem starts – but let’s begin by looking at a simple solution for getting ahead of the problem before it even becomes one.
A Powerful Solution
Here’s the reality: sooner or later, all batteries need to be replaced; but it’s not an eventuality you want to face on the side of the road right after you’ve stopped to stretch your legs, or right before you’re ready to leave the bush and head back to the city. This is why installing a multifunctional 12V battery monitor on your vehicle is an invaluable step towards always knowing your battery’s state, regardless of its age.
Battery monitors are designed to continuously monitor a battery’s voltage and charge status, as well as allow you to run a range of synchronized battery tests – all via a Bluetooth app from your Android or IoS phone or tablet. In fact, up to 4 12V batteries can be monitored through the app at once, giving you total visibility to the condition of batteries you have installed in multiple vehicles, standby batteries or to the battery bank in a multi-battery setup. Most importantly though, the monitor will notify you, per your settings and in real-time, if a battery isn’t charging or cranking properly so that you can take the proper preventive steps to avoid the flat battery dilemma.
The 1-minute Install
The monitor itself is a module designed for either lead acid or lithium batteries; but the installation procedures for both are as quick and simple as loosening your battery’s terminals, sliding the module’s forked connector leads in line, and retightening. The modules themselves are secured conveniently on location with adhesive, and no drilling or fabricating’s required.
It’s this level of convenience that makes battery monitors a perfect layer of assurance that even the most experienced drivers and capable mechanics can benefit from. After all, even though we casually expect batteries to drop subtle hints when they’re nearing the end of its useful life, there are other times when there’ll be no indication at all that a battery’s problems are just around the next corner.
When You’re Camping
No one depends on their batteries more than campers; and the only thing more annoying than checking the charge on your system every few hours, is realizing right before the sun begins to set that you probably should have checked it sooner. With a battery monitor installed, you’re going to have a notification sent directly to your handheld device the moment your battery voltage drops below a certain level – a level of your choosing – so that you can either quickly get your solar panels repositioned, or start turning stuff off before everything goes dark.
When the Temperature Drops
Batteries don’t like the cold … especially lead-acid ones. Electrolytes don’t behave properly and discharge rates quicken, all while trying to start an engine whose fluids have become twice as viscous, so it’s worth saying again to emphasize the point: batteries simply don’t like the cold. Even a new battery – when combined with the right group of circumstances – could refuse to start in the cold. With a battery monitor however, you can run a state of charge test to ensure the battery can supply the voltage needed to crank the engine, regardless of the weather.
When the Battery Hasn’t Been Used
Just because a vehicle’s not being driven, doesn’t mean power isn’t being drawn from the battery. “Parasitic drain” occurs because the current is still being used to supply onboard computers, engine modules, and even alarm systems when the vehicle’s not running … and if it isn’t cranked for 2-3 weeks and the battery doesn’t have a chance to recharge, then it may not start at all. A battery monitor will not only observe how the battery’s voltage changes, but can record that information over a 31-day period to establish a trend line on its long-term performance.
When You’ve Got the New Battery Blues
Just because you’ve got a new battery, doesn’t mean you’re free to completely ignore it for the next 3 years. New batteries discharge at almost the same rate as old ones; and if you let one sit for more than 2 months, your vehicle’s not going to start. There’s no need to take an unnecessary risk if you’re not driving the vehicle: put a battery monitor on it and you can see its actual voltage on your phone anytime you want.
When Your Alternator’s Cranky
Okay – you’re not a camper, your weather’s always warm, your vehicle’s driven regularly, your battery’s neither old nor new, and you’re serious about preventive maintenance; but don’t convince yourself that you’re somehow exempt from charging problems. Beyond even parasitic drain and old age, even alternators can fail unexpectedly … and you may not decipher the warning signs until you’re stuck in traffic. Not only could a battery monitor have alerted you to the voltage drop, but performing a periodic charging test would have indicated the existence of a charging problem.
The Final Word
When you consider how virtually every system, component, and accessory in your vehicle is dependent on your battery, then it’s easy to recognize how important it is to ensure it’s capable of delivering without fail, every time.
For RVs and modern vehicles in particular; they’re too essential to neglect. That’s what makes having a 12V battery monitor so crucial to know your charging system’s performing exactly as intended.
It’s a small thing, but once you’ve installed one, you’ll realize what a big difference they can make … and you won’t have to worry about your battery leaving you high and dry ever again.