PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF CLARIOS
Start-stop technology is here; Clarios, the global battery manufacturer behind the VARTA brand estimates as of 2020 every 3rd car that enters a workshop will be equipped with start-stop technology. This technology transition is supporting the reduction of fuel consumption and can save drivers up to 15% in fuel, during inner city driving. This however, presents workshops with a new challenge when it comes to changing a car battery, with replacements becoming more difficult and time-consuming.
Complexities of modern vehicles
Battery fitting is getting more complex for workshops and installing a replacement battery on a new vehicle can take well over an hour. This is due to the increasing number of batteries being installed in difficult-to-reach places, such as under the seats or behind panels inside the cabin rather than beneath the bonnet. The number of steps to change a battery is therefore increasing, as removing seats and panels takes time and often diagnostic equipment is required for re-programming the battery to the Battery Management System (BMS). An example of a complex battery changeover is a Volkswagen Touareg, which has 28 steps to remove the old battery and install the new replacement battery, and takes 72 minutes! Therefore as a technician you should feel confident charging a customer for labour time on these types of time consuming battery jobs.
Models Old vs. New
In the table below are some of the most difficult battery replacements on modern vehicles. As you can see, some vehicle models have particularly complex fitments due to the accessibility and location of the battery. When you compare this to an older vehicle’s battery change, which could take 5 to 10 minutes, you can see why additional labour time is required.
Why an AGM or EFB are needed?
Many vehicle drivers are surprised that when a replacement battery for their vehicle with a start-stop system and lots of electrical consumers is required, the cost associated with the new battery is more than initially expected. However, when you look at the power a battery is required to provide on these new vehicle types, it is understandable to see why a more robust battery is needed. Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) and Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB) have been designed to cater for the increasing electrical demands, and fitting a traditional flooded battery will not provide the power needed to accurately engage the start-stop function or cope with the additional vehicle starts. In addition, an infotainment screen, smartphone interface and wi-fi output are all commonplace on the latest vehicle types, however 20 years ago, no one would have known what these mean. Today, these are but a few of the features modern car batteries have to power – along with their foremost job, starting the vehicle.
VARTA AGM and EFB batteries are designed for the modern day vehicle with modern technology. When installing a replacement battery, it is vital that the correct type of battery technology is fitted to the vehicle.
Like for Like
Nowadays there are several types of battery technology, not just the conventional ‘flooded’ lead acid battery which has traditionally been used as the starter battery, but also 2 new lead acid types; Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) and Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB). Depending on the type of vehicle and the amount of electrical power needed to supply the starting functions and electrical consumers, determines whether an AGM, EFB or Conventional will be required. When replacing an old battery, it is important to replace like-for-like or like-for-better technologies, and not to fit a conventional battery to a vehicle with a start/stop system (the vehicle won’t function properly for very long). Fitting the correct battery technology type first time, will keep your customers happy and on the road and help you avoid costly repeat repair work. If in doubt, consult the vehicle handbook or you can check the VARTA Partner Portal to ensure you’re fitting the correct battery technology.
Importance of testing every vehicle
To ensure a complete and thorough service VARTA recommend performing a battery test on all vehicles coming into a workshop.
With most vehicles entering the workshop just 1 time per year on average, it is important for a technician to perform a battery test on the vehicle, as they likely won’t see it for at least another 12 months – even when not in for a battery related job. With 40% of national breakdowns resulting from a direct result of battery failure, there are many car’s batteries not being checked until it is too late and the vehicle won’t start. Accurate testing can identify batteries in a poor condition and could result in a new battery being fitted, keeping your customers happy and on the road.
Be confident informing your customers that it is only 0.8 Volts between test results being Green and Red. That’s LESS than a AAA battery (1.5V)! Despite only a small difference in Voltage, there is a huge difference in battery performance.
VARTA Partner Portal
VARTA were the first-ever AGM batteries fitted by OE manufacturers in 2003. In Europe today, 8 out of 10 newly manufactured vehicles with a start-stop system powered by an AGM, come with a VARTA.
Workshops can directly benefit from the expertise of the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive batteries by accessing the free to use VARTA Partner Portal.
To access this, interested workshops should visit the VARTA partner portal (https://www.varta-automotive.com/en-gb/business-portal) to register on any internet enabled device, tablet or smart phone.