What challenges do technicians face when replacing AGM batteries versus lead-acid batteries?

The technician cannot simply replace the battery in a Start-Stop battery equipped with an AGM battery as they would with a traditional battery.

Instead, because the battery is intricately linked to the vehicle’s on-board electronics through a battery management system (BMS) or intelligent battery sensor (IBS), it must be integrated into the system and paired with the BMS/IBS, which necessitates the use of specialised equipment. Without the equipment to assist the technician and insert the battery into the system, the vehicle may display error messages, fail to charge the battery, or simply not start at all.

Is specialized training in how to test, diagnose, and install these new batteries required?

Training is especially important in a Start-Stop system because the number of potential faults is far greater than in a traditional electrical system. The BMS is extremely complicated because the engine is turned off as frequently as possible and only restarts when the vehicle needs to move or when the state of charge of the battery falls to a predetermined level.

As a result, proper testing and fault diagnosis are critical. This is further complicated by the previously mentioned fitting challenges.

Will any AGM battery suffice?

Fitting the correct battery for the application is critical, as it is in all aspects of the trade. For entry-level or smaller Start-Stop vehicles, for example, an AGM battery may not be the best replacement because the original fitment may be an enhanced floded battery (EFB). Although these batteries have characteristics similar to AGM batteries, they are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Similarly, simply replacing the Start-Stop battery with a larger capacity lead-acid battery is not a viable option.

Are there any special procedures for removing, installing, or disposing of AGM batteries?

When working on Start-Stop vehicles, technicians will discover that there is no guarantee that the battery will be under the hood! As a result, they must have access to accurate technical information, such as TecRMI or similar workshop-related technical data, in order to pinpoint the exact location of the battery, whether it is in the boot floor or, as in at least one application, beneath the front passenger seat!

Handling AGM batteries is no more dangerous than handling traditional lead acid batteries; in fact, because they are generally completely sealed units, chemical spillage is actually less likely; however, they are heavy, so health and safety procedures must be strictly followed.

When it comes to responsible battery disposal, workshops must understand their environmental responsibilities and ensure batteries are disposed of legally, but they should also be aware that responsible battery disposal can benefit them financially because batteries have a “scrap” value.

Is there any special maintenance required?

As long as the vehicle’s BMS is operational, these batteries require no special maintenance. They are completely sealed and do not need to be maintained.

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