Nomophobia is an actual psychological anxiety disorder where a person fears being out of mobile phone contact, like when their phone battery dies. Those with this condition are constantly tormented by the battery display in the upper right corner of their screens. This condition has gotten so pervasive that cell phone manufacturers have an option to remove the percentage from the display.
But, what is worse, a car battery dying or a cell phone battery dying? If a cell phone battery dies, it can at least be charged in the car.
Consumers understand the importance of battery life. When 10% power is reached, some phones reduce screen brightness and turn the battery symbol red. You have a similar tool in your arsenal for testing car batteries, and it is conductance testing.
Conductance testers pass a mild alternating current through the battery to measure battery plate resistance, or impedance. Plate resistance is then mathematically extrapolated into CCA. Conductance testers can also measure battery temperature to calculate the hot and cold cranking amps. Other variables like flooded or AGM battery designs can be figured into the battery-life equation.
The tester can translate the information into a simple pass or fail, and they provide some indication of life remaining that the customer can understand. This information can be documented for the customer to help them make a more informed decision.
Modern cars do not like to limp around on a battery that is about to fail. Even while setting in a parking lot or garage, EVAP tests are being performed, oil is circulated around turbocharger(s) and air ride systems are trimming the ride height as the air inside the bags cools. All of these tasks are being performed using the battery.
The PCM will not run the battery down to the point where the vehicle will not start when the owner returns. The PCM measures how the battery is performing with temperature sensors and charging information from the previous drive cycles.
To enable the vehicle to start the next time out, it will put off key-off tasks until the battery is sufficiently charged. This could mean that an EVAP emissions monitor is not set, or oil is circulated around the turbocharger for five minutes versus the optimal 10 minutes.
Saving the battery in this way is like avoiding going to the doctor. Eventually, the weak battery could cause damage costing a lot more than the price of a tow truck jumpstart. When customers do the math, they’ll realize the benefits and value of battery replacement when it’s due.