When purchasing a battery, there is a reasonable expectation that it will both meet its intended use and endure for a reasonable period of time, which for an average battery can be up to three years. Should the battery fail for some unforeseen reason, customers assume that a replacement battery can be obtained within the warranty period. While this is true, it is important to understand the warranty claim criteria and procedure to ensure that no disputes arises with the sales or quality department should the claim be rejected.
Barnabas Gwarisa who oversees environmental and quality control at Probe, South Africa’s largest importer of automotive batteries, provides valuable tips on how to ensure that there is a favourable outcome for the customer when claiming their battery warranty:
The warranty period. It is important to understand that this automatically begins from the date of product purchase by the end user. Should the period of the claim exceed the given warranty period from the date of purchase, the claim will not be honoured.
Warranty evidence. The customer must keep evidence of the battery purchase in the form of the invoice or receipt, as supplied by the seller, when purchasing the battery. As well as providing proof of purchase and warranty period when claiming a warranty, it also ensures that valuable information such as the dates, product type and age of the battery can be easily traced by the manufacturer when investigating the reason for battery failure.
The existing warranty period applies to the replacement battery. Many customers struggle to understand this concept, but it is important to note that the second, replacement battery that may be provided to the customer will only have a warranty period that remains from the first battery’s warranty period. For example, should the first battery be replaced at 10 months within a 12-month warranty period, the second, replacement battery will only have a warranty period for the two remaining months of the original warranty period.
Original battery return. As the warranty stipulates the replacement of the faulty battery, the original battery must be returned to the seller when claiming the warranty. If the original battery cannot be provided by the customer, the warranty cannot be honoured.
Handling your battery with care. It is critical to avoid physical mishandling of the battery which could result in damage to the battery casings or terminals. Obvious misuse not associated with the manufacture of the battery can result in a rejection of the warranty claim. This includes impact caused from dropping the battery or bumping it on hard surfaces. Impact can also occur if there is an incorrect size of the battery seating on the battery plate, for example cases where the battery has been too big or too small for the battery seating plate. Impact and damage as a result of being knocked about due to poor battery securing constitutes mishandling and will not be covered by the warranty.
Correct car charging system. The charging system of the car must be periodically checked to ensure that it doesn’t overcharge or over-discharge the battery, which can result in rejection of the warranty claim. Free testing of a car’s alternator charging system is offered at all Probe branches, upon request of the customer.
Active management of an unused battery. Once purchased, the customer should be aware that the formation and build up of lead sulphate crystals will occur in a battery that is left standing over a long time period. This will result in battery failure due to resistance in electron movement. As this is natural degeneration and not due to poor battery manufacture, a warranty claim cannot be accepted in this instance. The good news is that it is possible to guard against lead sulphate build up through periodic battery charging. Probe recommends charging unused batteries once a month.
Off-vehicle charging settings. If the battery is charged off the vehicle it is critical to ensure that neither overcharging nor undercharging occurs. If the customer is unsure of charging levels, they are encouraged to contact Probe for advice on the correct charging settings for their particular battery type.
Ensuring compatibility between battery and vehicle. Batteries and cars must be compatible to ensure that the battery doesn’t fail. This means that a battery should not be removed from one vehicle and placed into another vehicle if you’re unsure of battery compatibility. If a battery fails under these circumstances, it is not a symptom of a flawed battery and the warranty claim would be rejected.
Top up with distilled water. To top up non maintenance-free batteries, always use distilled water. Though difficult to prove on non-maintenance-free batteries unless extensive tests are done, water that is not distilled contains metallic ions which affect the chemistry of the battery. This can significantly reduce the life and performance of the non-maintenance-free battery. For maintenance-free batteries, such as Probe’s fit-and-forget batteries, never attempt to open these to top up the electrolyte with electrolyte or water, as these are sealed to ensure longevity.
Although the list above is not exhaustive, rest assured that should all these basic factors have been adhered to, a warranty claim will be honoured. If you’re ever in doubt about how to maintain your battery, contact Probe for advice to ensure that you remain worry-free and warranty-wise.