Your Volvo truck is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the road today, offering the latest innovations in fuel efficiency, driver productivity, safety and uptime management. XE eXceptional Efficiency powertrain packages, our Remote Diagnostics connected vehicle platform, and Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology are all common on Volvo trucks, and in some cases, standard. In addition, your truck is your home away from home when you’re on the road – a place to charge your electronic devices, warm up your dinner and relax and watch TV before the next day’s work.

All of these amenities make it safer and easier to do your job, but they can also draw more power from your truck’s electrical system. If you’re continually dealing with drained batteries, your alternator may not have the output to keep up with your electrical demand, or it has failed due to duty-cycle problems related to high-draw electrical loads. If your alternator is going bad, you may be experiencing problems ranging from dim headlights and slow power windows to being stuck on the side of the road due to a dead battery.

Generally, alternator efficiency is a combination of load, temperature, friction and output. The larger the alternator, the more efficient it usually is. Follow the steps below to perform an energy audit on your truck and determine whether you need to upgrade your alternator:

  • Keep a record of all electrical components and the amps each component draws during work shifts and rest periods. This includes your telematics system, emission control system, gauges, AC unit, headlights, tail lights, cab marker lights, fog lights and trailer lights.
  • Multiply each of those amps with the number of hours the components operate during each working or rest period. This determines the electrical load of each component.
  • Add up all of the electrical loads and then calculate a reserve for battery charging by multiplying that total by 20 percent.
  • Add the total electrical load and the reserve together.
  • This calculation determines the minimum amount of output the alternator should produce.

Your local Volvo dealership carries a wide range of starting and charging components. The parts and service experts there can recommend which alternator is right for you. Check out the alternator offerings at Road Choice™ while you’re making your decision, and be sure to visit the online SELECT™ Part Store 24/7 for exclusive discounts on high-demand starting and charging system components for your Volvo Truck.