Maintaining a liftgate charging system

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Updated Jul 26, 2017

For commercial trucking fleets, break-downs and road calls due to dead or uncharged batteries are a costly issue that can cut into fleets’ profit margins and drivers’ accumulated hours of service.

Vehicles with battery-powered liftgates have an additional potential point of failure, Purkeys says, as dead liftgate batteries can put the brakes on driver pickups or deliveries. For this reason, it’s important to equip vehicles with a liftgate charging system to boost voltage at the liftgate batteries to maintain a usable state of charge.

Purkeys has developed two distinct liftgate charging systems, the DIRECT and the SELECT.

Larry Rambeaux, Purkeys’ national fleet representative, says that even with a liftgate charging system, a truck’s battery has to be in proper working order to maintain charge.

“The system can’t pull a charge out of thin air,” he says. Regular checks of the trailer’s electrical system can diagnose and address issues, like voltage drop, before problems arise in charging the liftgates.

Purkeys says voltage drop can occur when the current has to run long distances, such as the length of the trailer. With the Handheld Electrical Analyzer or Benchtop Electrical Analyzer, also available from Purkeys, a 10-15 minute preventative maintenance check can test for voltage drop, the company says.

It can be easy to neglect this kind of preventative maintenance of vehicle electrical systems. In Rambeaux’s experience, “nobody touches it until it’s broken.” Proper equipment and frequent scheduling of electrical tests and maintenance can save fleets from road calls and revenue loss, the company says.

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