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John Deere Maintenance Monday: How batteries differ

What should you look for when buying a tractor battery?

Radio interview source: Alan Svoboda, Product Marketing Manger, John Deere

 
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Kevin in Oklahoma. He says when he shops for a tractor battery, they all look the same: black boxes. Are all batteries equal, or are there differences in makeup that affect performance?
 
John Deere Product Marketing Manager Alan Svoboda says there are component variations inside batteries that make some better able to withstand rough conditions. 
 
"One of the key components to longevity or life of a battery in high operating conditions is the actual chemistry of the battery itself," he says. "And by chemistry, that means the actual blending of the metal lead alloys that are used to form the grids, and then the plates that make up the battery."
 
Svoboda says you want battery chemistry that fits your usage needs. Unfortunately, it's hard to determine what that is. 
 
"Outside of any type of sales materials, sales information that's provided with regard to that battery, you really can't," says Svoboda.  "And so that's why it's probably more important to rely on a very well-known, dependable brand, for one, and then to ask some questions."
 
The top three battery killers are high operating temperature, vibration, and lack of maintenance by the owner. Ask about battery performance in both hot and cold conditions and consider the terrain your tractor will cover. Also evaluate the voltage. Materials added to the plates make a difference in the voltage required to recharge. 
 
Don't mix up car and tractor batteries. Car batteries have thinner plates to deliver maximum current in a short period of time.  A tractor battery can be discharged and charged up again many times, but the process would ruin car batteries. 

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