As the weeks of lockdown roll by, many of us are finding that we are using our cars less and less. In a recent study, the ‘RAC’ suggested around 1 in 10 of us have stopped using them completely. With this, we are running the risk of our car batteries falling flat. The RAC suggest that batteries need to be charged to avoid engine cut outs.
We often associate older batteries as the most likely to run flat however newer cars can too be subject to failure if they run low on charge too. Our shorter and ‘essential journeys’ the RAC warn, are now too putting pressure on our cars as the battery have not been given enough time to recharge.
So how can we protect our cars from falling flat during the current situation? The RAC have put together a short list of hints and tricks to get keep your batteries in tip top shape;
- Consider installing a trickle charger.
A trickle charger or battery conditioner is a device which is designed to be left on a car for a long period of time. This will eventually re-charge the battery by slowly adding the charge to the battery avoiding the normal depletion of charge that batteries commonly have. This is a great idea if you know you will not be using your car regularly.
- Avoid ‘just starting up’ the battery.
By just starting up your car, the battery may not get sufficient charge. The RAC believe that shorter journeys may not actually increase a cars battery life as a battery will need a 15-20 minute journey to begin charging again and avoid failure. They warn that repeated short journeys will flatten your cars battery sooner. During lockdown, in households with more than one car, the company recommend alternating vehicles so that they equally have chance to charge and avoid a call out to breakdown providers!
- Keep electric and hybrid cars in mind too.
Electric and hybrid cars can run flat the same as any normal car. It is important that they are put in ‘ready mode’ every few weeks to insure the battery charges. By plugging the car continuously into a charging port, the car may actually suffer damage although it will vary on make and model of the vehicle.
- Remove accessories and ensure your car is completely shut down after journeys.
Accessories such as dash cams or satnavs left plugged into cars often drain battery life without us realising, so it is important you remove all plugged in devices when your journey has ended. Keeping lights on in older cars again will drain battery life as well as using the radio when your car engine is turned off. To avoid falling victim to a flat battery – shut down your car completely each time you exit the vehicle.
- Consider jump starting your car.
Often, many of us will immediately call our breakdown providers when our battery dies. The RAC however recommends if possible, attempting to jump start your car to restart the battery. To do this, you will need to use a vehicle with full battery life. Once the jumpstart has been completed, you should look to run the car for a 15-20 minute journey to again fully recharge your cars battery and avoid future issues.
By being savvy in these uncertain times and looking after our cars, you should be able to avoid any flat battery issues however if this is not possible and you do require help then call your breakdown cover provider who will be happy to assist you and get you back up and running again.