Bradley Jando | Tuesday 31st March 2020 11:39am
With the uncertain situation around the Coronavirus lockdown, here at Kwik Fit we have some advice to help keep your car battery healthy.
Following the Governmentís announcement that the UK has been placed in lockdown in response to the spread of Coronavirus, many UK inhabitants are now working from home and only leaving the house to make essential journeys such as to the supermarket or pharmacy. As a result, the roads are quieter and our cars are seeing far less usage. While this is great news for our petrol costs, it might not be so good for your car battery which could go flat if left unused for a long time.
Weíre here to help with some tips you can do at home to help ensure your battery remains charged and your car starts when you need it most during these uncertain times.
Common reason why your car battery has gone flat
Flat batteries are the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns. Luckily, many of these are avoidable. Here are some of the main causes that can lead to a flat battery:
- Car batteries naturally lose some of their charge over time. The longer you leave it, the more likely the battery is going to go flat and not have enough charge to start the car.
- If you have left something on, such as your headlights or an internal cabin light after leaving the vehicle, this will continue to drain the battery. The battery cannot recharge when the engine is switched off.
- The weather plays a crucial role. Batteries do not like the cold, so on chilly mornings, your car battery will have less charge available than normal to start the car. The older the battery, the more likely it is to struggle with cold weather.
- Drivers who only use their vehicles for short journeys may struggle with a flat battery. This is due to the fact that, if the car never gets a good run, the battery will never receive a full charge. Consistent short journeys will reduce its ability to hold charge and shorten its lifespan.
- Dirty and grimy battery terminals may be preventing your battery from transferring power to the vehicle. Make sure your battery terminals are kept clean and free of debris. Also make sure the battery connectors are nice and tight, and have not come loose.
- Your vehicle has a faulty component such as the alternator. This is a crucial component that recharges the battery when your engine is running. If the alternator has died, the battery wonít be able to recharge.
- Car batteries have a lifespan of about 5-7 years. Old batteries cannot recharge effectively, therefore you will have less power to play with each time you start your car. If you know your battery is older than this, and you struggle to start in the mornings, it may have reached the end of its life - meaning itís time to look for a replacement car battery.
How to keep your car battery from dying
While you might not be using your car as frequently as usual at the moment, it is important to make sure it will start when you do need to use it. Donít worry, there are a number of things you can do to help avoid battery failure:
- Start your engine up regularly and leave the car running for a little while (make sure you stay in the vehicle). This will help to prolong your battery life and maintain its charging capability. Do this every few days if you can. The longer you leave it, the more likely the battery is to drain and not start.
- Avoid driving at night or early in the morning when the weather is coldest if you can. You can also purchase battery covers online that help to protect your car battery from the cold.
- Look under the bonnet and inspect the battery terminals for corrosion. Corrosive material will form around the terminals when there is a faulty connection that has allowed battery acid to escape. Ensure the terminals are fitted tightly and the battery seated properly within its housing. Clean any corrosion and residue away from the terminals to allow a good clean connection with the battery.
- Buy a trickle charger to keep your car battery topped up. If your car is parked on a driveway or garage, a trickle charger can be plugged into the mains and connected to your vehicle to ensure a steady stream of power when the car is not in use. A trickle charger will help to maintain your battery charge even if you donít use your car very often. Trickle chargers can be purchased online from many outlets for delivery to your home.
- Check the age of your battery to provide a good indication of whether it will need to be replaced soon. All car batteries are stamped with a code indicating the date that it was manufactured. The majority of car batteries are designed to last for 5 to 7 years; any longer than this and the battery will be more likely to fail, especially when cold.
Check out some more of our battery care and maintenance tips to help keep your car battery in tip top condition over the coming months.
Car care during lockdown
During lockdown, we recommend that you follow Government guidelines and donít leave your home to make any unnecessary journeys in your car. If you do need to drive, such as to work for those individuals who have been identified as key workers, we are doing our best to remain open to support you.
In line with Government guidance published on 23rd March 2020, garages are identified as providing essential services required to keep the road transport network moving. Therefore, if you need a new car battery, or require help with other parts of your car, such as tyres, brakes and exhausts, our teams are there for you.
For the latest on the steps we are taking to safeguard our customers and our staff, see our Coronavirus Update page.
If youíre unsure about the condition of your car battery in the future, then why not find out more about our free battery checks? Available at centres around the UK, weíll check for corrosion on the terminals, as well as the voltage output and the charging rate of the battery - giving you a clear view on what condition your car battery is in. Find out more about our free car battery health checks or book an appointment today.
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