From practice: Determine warranty cases for batteries step by step.

When batteries give up the ghost, at first glance it often looks like a manufacturing defect. However, this is only true in about 1% of cases. These mainly occur in the first twelve weeks after purchase. Deep discharge due to insufficient charging is the most frequent cause of defects (in 90% of cases).

But how do you deal with a claim and find out whether it’s a warranty issue?

STEP 1: Check the age of the battery/invoice

Is the battery still under warranty?
The age of the battery provides information about whether it has been stored for too long.

YES: Continue to step 2
NO: Reject claim
STEP 2: Check the battery application

Has the customer selected the correct size and technology?
The size and technology must match the application, otherwise the battery life will be drastically reduced.

YES: Continue to step 3
NO: Reject claim
STEP 3: Visual inspection

Is there any visible external damage?
During the visual inspection, look for evidence of damage such as stress whitening, leaking acid, fractures, damaged terminals and deformed battery boxes.

NO: Continue to step 4
YES: Reject claim

STEP 4: Charging and testing

1. Charge the battery at 10% of the Ah rating for eight hours. Modern chargers do this automatically.
2. Then switch on the full beam for one minute without starting the engine or leave the battery for six hours. This removes surface voltage.
3. Then test the battery using a battery tester. You need the voltage (V) and the cold cranking current (CCA).

A: Does the voltage drop back below 12 V soon after charging?

DThe voltage should now be at least 12.6 V. If the voltage drops to 10.5 V before the battery is used, it is likely that a cell has short-circuited and that there is a manufacturing defect.

YES: Accept claim
NO: Continue to B: Testing the cold cranking current
B: Is the cold cranking current below 60%?

The cold cranking current should now be at least 60% of the value indicated on the battery. If this isn’t the case (even if the battery has a voltage of at least 12.6 V), this indicates that the battery is worn out as a result of sulphation caused by deep discharge or numerous charging cycles.

YES: Reject claim and replace battery at the customer's expense. The battery is dead.
NO: The battery was not fully charged and is working.

Maintenance tips for your customers:

  • Check the open-circuit voltage at regular intervals. A fully charged battery has a voltage of 12.7 V. Batteries should be recharged before the open-circuit voltage drops below 12.4 V (acid density 1.22 kg/l).
  • The battery surface should always be clean and dry - otherwise creeping currents may form which will further discharge the battery.
  • The battery and cable connections must be checked for a tight fit at regular intervals and tightened if necessary.
  • Cable connections should always be clean and well greased - clean and apply grease as required.
  • External recharging at least twice a year prevents insufficient charging.