Returning to work after Christmas can be a let-down at times, but it can be downright frustrating if you find your fleet vehicles won't start! Year-on-year we see this issue crop up after Christmas - fortunately, it's avoidable with a bit of preventative maintenance.
Vehicle batteries are becoming smaller and smaller from the point of manufacture - 45Ah is now a typical battery size in light vehicles. Manufacturers are also adding items such as "Smart Charging" that can be very problematic for accessory power drawer e.g. the Ford Ranger. Fully charged these batteries will run flat on a vehicle left unused in around three weeks (or much less in some models), without any Smartrak electronics connected. Let alone other current drawing devices such as two-way radios, work lights, etc. And once an AVL is connected the time to run flat is more like two weeks. So, if the vehicle is not used from 22nd December to the 8th January then it will be marginal to get started. Worse, when the battery is partially discharged going into Christmas then it will almost certainly be flat on return to work.
Typically, this affects light/white fleet (e.g. Toyota Yaris), trade vehicles and specialised trucks/plant that are sporadically used and vehicles with ageing batteries.
Some things to consider
If you have a master switch fitted, ensure you check it’s turned off. An auto electrician can see to this if the switches are still on.
Have a mechanic or auto electrician on stand-by in the new year to jump start any vehicles that may have had issues over the break. It may also be worth investing in a jump start pack to make the process quicker.
Disconnect the vehicle batteries before heading away. If no one is going to be driving the vehicles in your fleet for an extended period of time, work with your mechanics to disconnect the batteries. This way you can guarantee they'll be charged next year.
If disconnecting your batteries isn't an option, we've still got you covered. The Smartrak Timed Power-Off Harness will make sure the electronics don't draw too much power and completely drain your vehicles, but disconnecting Smartrak's hardware after a set amount of time - avoiding unnecessary battery drain.