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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2022

Tactical Vehicles: Shocking Truth behind Defective Batteries

BLUF: Many batteries returned to the Army supply system as unserviceable, aren't. The reason is a general failure to follow established procedures and vehicle TMs.
 
Soldier conducts PMCS of M969A2 fuel tanker
Photo by Sgt. James Geelen
 
Warfighters, new batteries are often returned to the Army supply system as unserviceable after only a few days or weeks. Did you know that very few of these new batteries prove to be defective at all? As shocking as that sounds, it’s true!
        
This is a problem because it costs the Army money, slows down the supply process and hampers mission readiness.
        
Whenever servicing, inspecting or installing batteries, you’ll need to follow the guidance in TM-9-6140-200-13 (May 11), TB 9-6140-252-13 (Jan 12) and the appropriate vehicle TM. Failure to follow established procedures and vehicle TMs is the main reason why new batteries are turned-in as unserviceable when they aren’t. Here are two (2) things you must do before you install a new battery:
  •  Make sure your new battery is fully charged before you install it. Use a PulseTech® battery analyzer, which is included in the Standard Automotive Tool Set (SATS), or other test equipment specific to your vehicle or equipment to check the battery charge. Even though most dry batteries are charged by the manufacturer, you’ll still need to charge them about 30 minutes to bring them to a fully-charged state.
  •  Clean the new battery, battery box, battery terminals and all connections. Clean battery connections are critical for proper operations and voltage. Corroded or dirty electrical connections can cause the battery terminals to overheat. If nothing else, it’ll shorten the life of your battery.
New battery failure is more than likely caused by something other than a defective battery. Take a look at some common causes for a new battery to fail or appear defective:
  •  Lack of driving or operating time for the vehicle. There’s a common misconception that parking tactical vehicles in the motor pool and not driving them keeps them in good working order. That’s wrong! There are many items, like your tires and batteries, which must be used routinely to remain in good working order.
  •  Corroded, faulty or worn cable connections
  •  Faulty voltage regulators, alternators and generators
  •  Drive belts that are worn, slipping or need replacement
  •  Incorrect electrolyte levels. If your vehicle has a lead-acid battery, check the level indicator (next to the positive post). It should show green. If green isn’t showing, notify maintenance. More than likely they’ll need to add distilled water.
Another good source of info is TB 43-0213, Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) for Army Ground Equipment (Mar 19). It’s on the TACOM Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) website. Have your CAC handy and once you enter the website, the TM is under Instructional Aids/Publications & Handouts. Click on CPC Publication & Handouts.
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