It can be a massive inconvenience when you’re doing a lesson and realise you have a flat battery. Dead batteries are one of the most common causes of breakdown callouts during the winter in the UK.
Cold winter weather has an adverse effect on batteries, slowing down the chemical processes that occur within, which makes them particularly susceptible to losing charge in winter.
As you would do with many other standard car components, you can avoid the problem of a dead battery by regularly maintaining the battery. Here are the best ways to avoid a flat car battery.
1.Turn it off
Modern cars are great, but they’re also packed with energy sapping technology, which will work to drain the battery very quickly if left on. WInter time has arrived, which makes flat batteries more of a common problem due to heaters and lights being on but items plugged into a USB or 12V supply will also quickly drain the battery’s charge. It’s always good to check your interior lights, too – leaving them on overnight could be a costly mistake.
2. Continue to drive
Continuous short journeys make batteries subject to peak strain, as the engine and alternator are not given enough chance to recharge the battery to its previous state. This means that by doing longer journeys it gives a chance for the battery to recharge itself, and you could also invest in an external battery charger.
3. Do regular battery checks
Doing visual checks every time you lift the bonnet to look for corrosion is an option, but it’s worth getting a professional inspection, too. If you’ve purchased a used car, consulting the manual and making sure the previous owner had the correct battery installed would be a wise decision. If the current battery is an incorrect fit or is corroded, a replacement should be a worthy investment.
4. Take the strain off
Depressing the clutch when starting the engine can help take the strain off your car. Some of the load on the battery will be taken off as it reduces the effort needed to start.
5. Keep an eye on other battery-related systems
If your concerns continue to grow then get a professional to check over the alternator, starting system and charging systems for the car and battery. You could discover the battery being overcharged, undercharged or in some cases not charged at all if any of these are malfunctioning.
6. Get your car serviced
You can put extra strain on the battery if your vehicle is poorly maintained. It’s a good idea to keep your car in the garage if you have one because warmer temperatures are better for batteries.
7. Understand the warning signs
Listen out for noises like clicks as you turn the ignition, dashboard lights going dim or the engine turning over very slowly as all of these are signs of low or zero battery charge.
8. Don’t persevere
A battery won’t miraculously regain charge. If it fails to start the engine, stop trying, as you’ll only flatten it further for no reason. If you completely flatten the battery it would result in it becoming damaged.
9. Safety comes first
If you find yourself conkering out in a dangerous place like next to a junction, try to get the car somewhere safer before continuing. If you have a warning triangle then place it 50 metres behind the car so that you can warn other drivers. If the battery is flat, your hazard warning lights may not operate. You may also need to push the vehicle to safety.
10. Be prepared to jump start
If your battery has completely died, you may need to jump start the car. It’s a good idea to keep a set of jump leads in the car at all times and learn the procedure. Alternatively, invest in a compact battery booster pack, which can do the same job without the need for another vehicle.