Stop-Start Batteries

Stop-start technology can be found in an increasing number of new cars as manufacturers seek to reduce the CO2 emissions produced by their vehicles.

Manufacturers including BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and Fiat are strong advocates of stop-start technology, with around 15 million cars in Europe fitted with these systems to date. In fact, 90-95% of newly manufactured cars are equipped with a stop-start function nowadays, increasing the likelihood of coming across one.

Stop-start technology (sometimes referred to as 'start-stop', 'idle stop & go' or 'micro hybrid') helps to conserve fuel by automatically switching off the engine every time the vehicle comes to a stop. However, cars with stop-start capabilities put a greater demand on the vehicle battery. That’s why at Kwik Fit we stock a range of car batteries specifically designed for stop-start vehicles.

Why are stop-start batteries becoming more popular?

Thanks largely to their environmentally friendly benefits, stop-start systems - and therefore stop-start batteries - are increasing in popularity in recent years. Not only can stop-start batteries improve fuel efficiency due to the engine not burning any fuel when it’s off, but stop-start batteries also have other environmental benefits.

Reducing fuel consumption helps to reduce overall emissions - therefore improving air quality. Air pollution is a particularly prominent issue in urban areas, where traffic congestion is increased - something that stop-start tech can help to minimise.

With the rise of electric and hybrid cars, the demand for start-stop batteries is likely to continue to increase.

Should I get a stop-start battery?

If you have stop-start functionality on your car, then getting a stop-start battery fitted is a great way to prevent yourself from having to replace dead standard batteries more frequently.

However, it’s best to leave the fitting of a stop-start battery up to the professionals. This is because the new battery will need to be paired with your car’s onboard computer, which requires specialist knowledge and tools.

If this isn’t done correctly, then your stop-start function may cease to work completely - as well as potentially meaning that your car will use more fuel, and produce more emissions. Our Kwik Fit centres have all the best technology and specially-trained teams, so let us take care of fitting your new battery for you.

How stop-start batteries work

Unlike a regular battery which simply supplies a large current to turn the starter motor, a stop-start battery has enhanced cyclic performance which has the ability to discharge and recharge many times. This means that even when the engine is in the off/idle position, the battery continues to power the ancillary systems such as lights, air conditioning and in-car entertainment. Many cars also have brake regeneration systems, so any energy created when the brakes are applied is also stored in the battery for later use.

Vehicles with this technology require a battery that is compatible and able to cover these robust functions. If a standard battery is fitted it will fail prematurely. There are two types of stop-start battery depending on your vehicle and its features.

Stop-start battery options

There are two types of stop-start battery depending on your vehicle and its features:

ECM batteries

ECM (Enhanced Cyclic Mat) batteries have been specifically developed to meet the needs of standard, entry-level start-stop vehicles - providing increased performance, longer battery life, and the ability to cope with additional cyclic demand. ECM batteries lower CO2 emissions by up to 6% in comparison to standard lead-acid batteries, and are up to 6% more fuel efficient.

ECM batteries are equipped to deal with increased electrical loads from in-car technology, such as air conditioning, even when the engine is in the idle/off position. They must be replaced with either another ECM battery or an AGM battery. Conventional batteries should not be fitted.

AGM batteries

AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries are designed specifically for larger, more demanding stop-start vehicles that use additional technologies designed to reduce fuel consumption. These technologies include brake regeneration systems, gear shift indicators, and energy management systems (EMS).

Not only can these batteries cope with the increased demand from such fuel saving devices, they are also able to power a wider range of ancillary equipment, even when the engine is in the idle position. On average, AGM batteries benefit from up to 8% lower CO2 emissions than a standard battery, and are up to 8% more fuel efficient.

AGM batteries can be fitted to all stop-start vehicles, but must be replaced ‘like for like’ where an AGM battery was originally fitted.

Free battery check at Kwik Fit

As with regular batteries, it is important to check your stop-start battery regularly to ensure it is in good working order.

At Kwik Fit our fully-trained technicians can carry out a free and thorough check of your stop-start battery using the latest testing equipment. Find your nearest Kwik Fit centre and get your stop-start battery checked today.

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