There are four main things to consider when replacing your OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) batteries. Since private and commercial vehicles come from the manufacturer with flooded cell batteries, replacing with flooded cell batteries is perfectly fine. 
  • Price: Have your OEM batteries performed well for you? If so then it likely makes the most business sense to save as much money as possible and replace your current batteries with flooded cell batteries. If you are interested in gel-cell or AGM batteries then prepare to spend a fair amount more. You have to make the decision if the benefits outweigh the cost.
  • Size: What are the dimensions of your OEM batteries? This is where the Battery Council International (BCI) Group Numbers come into the equation. Measure the batteries height, length and width to determine the size that will fit in your battery’s 
  • Power: What are the power requirements of your vehicle? Here there are two points to consider. First is starting power or cold cranking amps (CCA). Remember from earlier in the article the BCI defined it as the number of amperes a lead-acid battery at 0ᵒ F can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell which equals 7.2 volts for a 12-volt lead-acid battery. In general the higher the CCA number, the greater the starting power of the battery. You should never use a battery with a lower CCA rating than your truck manufacturer’s recommendation as this can damage electrical components such as the starter. Be thoughtful if choosing a battery with a CCA number higher than necessary for your operation. While a higher CCA does provide greater starting power that might be needed in extreme conditions, in some BCI group number sizes this also reduces the amount of acid in the battery which can reduce battery life. The second point to consider is the reserve capacity. As our power demands increase so does the need for better reserve capacity. This is also important with the anti-idling laws unless you have an APU to power your creature comforts during your line 1 time. In general the higher the minute rating, the greater the battery’s ability to run your electrical components without the engine running, before needing to be recharged.
  • Warranty: What type of warranty is important to you? All battery manufacturers provide a warranty on their batteries, but like batteries, all warranties are not equal. Know what is important to you, read the fine print and make a business smart decision. 
For more information on the battery basics, types, and maintenance please read my recent article “Truck and Automotive Batteries”.

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Craig McCue

Business owner and part-time operator of a seasonal business.

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Does anyone with a ParkSmart unit have a rough idea on expected lifespan for the AGM batteries it uses?

July 20, 2014 12:40:28 PM

Linda, there isn't much I miss on this website including the forums. I thoroughly cover this website on a very regular basis. As you and Bob are aware, batteries are expensive, not as bad as tires but still expensive. As long as you have a complete understanding of your operation and electrical load requirements, that will help you make the proper battery choice for your truck. Your truck is unique with your custom sleeper and creature comforts so a good accounting of the amps used by the appliances and how many appliances are used at the same time (microwave, rice cooker, coffee maker, blender etc...) should give you the electrical load your batteries must deliver.

January 23, 2014 8:05:07 AM

Craig before to long we are going to be in the market for batteries and I hope you are monitoring the forums as I think your coaching would help us to chose what will be right for us.

January 23, 2014 5:44:38 AM