When searching for a diesel truck battery there are a few areas that are most necessary: affordability, longevity and reliability. With so many batteries to choose from at varying price points and performance picking the right one can be difficult. Do you go to your local Wal-Mart to pick up the cheapest offering or find one online that has amazing reviews? It can all be very confusing but using a few reference points we can point you in the right direction for diesel truck batteries. In addition to these tips you will also find our favorite batteries from firsthand experience.
Intense Diesel’s Top Diesel Truck Batteries
Intense Diesel Battery Pick: Interstate MTZ
Interstate batteries have developed a reputation for being some of the best batteries available. My experience with Interstate comes firsthand having installed hundreds and maintained them as well. Interstate batteries have proven time and time again their power and reliability making them a top pick for a diesel truck battery. Also a great feature of Interstate is they offer free replacement warranties for up to 4 years. One thing to be sure of when buying an Interstate is that there is a distributor local to you. For convenience purposes visit their battery finder to find the closest location.
Intense Diesel Battery Pick: Optima YellowTop
Optima batteries are known to be some of the toughest batteries on the market. With patented features that allow extreme performance in most all conditions. Firsthand experience with Optima batteries has shown this battery to be one of the most reliable and long lasting batteries I have ever had. Above everything, reliability is probably one of my biggest concerns especially when the truck is needed most. Knowing that the truck will be ready to roll when needed makes Optima Batteries a top pick.
Intense Diesel Battery Pick: Exide Marathon Max
The reputation of Exide aligns directly with what most truck owners are looking for in a diesel truck battery. Exide batteries has proven to be one of the top battery manufacturers in the world by providing powerful, reliable batteries. Exide has been in the battery business for over 130 years so they have plenty of data to provide top notch batteries. The Marathon Max series features AGM technology making it a great fit for applications needing the latest battery tech.
How Long Should Diesel Truck Batteries Last?
As with most vehicle expenses the majority are unwanted. That sentiment is true for batteries as well as most are not cheap. So on average, what period of time can be expected for battery replacement? The battery life for diesel batteries should be anywhere between 3 to 5 years but that varies greatly due to many factors:
- Climate: The climate in which you operate your diesel can greatly impact the lifespan of your batteries. Trucks that experience extreme temperatures both hot and cold will typically reduced lifespans. Reducing the impact of climate can be done by storing the truck in a garage, using block heaters, regular checks and maintenance charges.
- Excessive Use: The amount of use a truck sees daily can vary greatly from user to user. How many times a truck is started through out the day can play a role in a batteries lifespan. Heavy electronic accessory load with short travel time can also be difficult on batteries.
- Charge Efficiency: If your alternator is not charging to its full ability then the battery will suffer. While long travel times will typically offset a under performing alternator not all operators have long drives. Checking alternator output every 6 months or so is a great way to ensure proper function.
So to make sure your batteries last as long as possible follow the above suggestions to maximize battery life.
Whats The Recommended CCA?
CCA or Cold Cranking Amps is a measurement set in place by the Battery Council International that tests a batteries abilities at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Often times manufacturers will have varying tiers of batteries with the higher CCA batteries often being the top performing. Diesel truck batteries typically feature OE ratings of 700 CCA or higher. When picking your next battery make sure it meets the OE rating for your vehicle. Check the recommended rating for your diesel at AutoBatteries.com battery finder.
The Best Battery Brands
In many industries most of us have found that established brands carry a higher price tag. While often times budget brands have very comparable products to their higher priced counterparts that’s not always the case with batteries. If there is one thing to remember about the automotive battery industry it should be quality control. Batteries and parts in general are produced in massive quantities in a varying levels of quality. Many white label manufacturers will cut cost by using less than ideal parts and supplies resulting in sub standard battery life.
The point here is that battery suppliers that sell a thousand other products may not have the quality control that say a battery specific company might. So when it comes to battery brands some that have proven their worth to me are: Interstate, Optima and Exide. I personally have installed and operated vehicles with these batteries and they have outperformed cheaper options.
Another concern about battery brands is shelf life. Batteries can often sit in warehouses and on display for months before use. The result of this is reduced battery capacity or partial discharge. Buying a battery from a certified distributor of a established battery brand often means batteries are shelf cycled every few weeks. No matter what battery you purchase at very least ensure the salesperson or tech run a test before installation to insure proper charge.
Should You Replace Both Diesel Truck Batteries?
As the majority of diesel truck owners know, their trucks have two batteries. This can vary among mid size, full size and heavy duty trucks but the largest consumer diesel truck segment on the road is the heavy duty. Heavy duty diesel trucks run two batteries to insure adequate starting power and accessory load. So should you replace both diesel truck batteries at once? Lets take a look.
The batteries in a diesel serve two purposes: starting and accessory equipment power. The power needed to start a diesel is much more significant than that of a gas engine. Power use for glow plugs, starter is extreme and even more so in freezing conditions. Modern day trucks also feature more electronic amenities than ever before. The addition of these electronics means the need for adequate power. Batteries best suited for high accessory demand are AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat.
So, back to the question at hand, should you replace both batteries in your diesel?
Yes, you should but you don’t have to. Replacing the batteries in pairs insures equal load from both batteries. Say you replace one battery and the other battery still test ok. In the next few months the older battery develops a bad cell, this in turn puts more load and strain on the new battery which can lead to premature wear.
Be mindful of this when making your decision as you might ruin a brand new battery and create excess work for yourself.