Following the Government’s announcement, placing the U.K. in lockdown in response to the spread of Coronavirus, many of us are now working from home and only leaving the house to make essential journeys. As a result, the roads are much quieter, and our cars are seeing very little use, if any in some cases. Whilst this is great news for saving on fuel costs and fantastic from an environmental point of view with a dramatic drop in pollution levels; unfortunately it is not good for your car battery which could go flat or worse, fail completely if left unused for a long time.
At BBL Batteries, our experts are here to help with some advice for motorists to ensure their batteries remain charged and healthy, so their cars will start when needed during these uncertain times.
Common reasons why your car battery has gone flat -
- Flat batteries are the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns; in normal times and more so now in the current situation. Here are some of the primary causes that can lead to a flat battery:
- Car batteries naturally loose some of their charge over time. The longer you leave them, the deeper the battery will flatten, eventually, not having enough charge to start the car. Car alternators take time to charge a battery once the engine is running and brief local runs of five to 10 minutes are likely to drain a battery rather than help charge it, leading to problems further down the line.
- The weather plays a crucial role. Batteries do not like the cold, or indeed excessively hot weather. During periods of cold / hot weather such as we ae currently experiencing, car batteries will have less charge available than normal to start the car. The older the battery, the more likely it is to struggle.
- 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 tight and have not come loose.
- Car batteries have a finite lifespan. Older batteries cannot recharge as effectively, therefore they produce less power to call on each time the car is started. If a battery is old and the vehicle is struggling to start in the mornings, it may have reached the end of its life and will need replacing.
How to avoid a flat battery -
While you might not be using your car as frequently as usual during lockdown, it is important to make sure it will start when you do need to use it. There are a number of things you can do to help avoid battery failure:
- Start the engine regularly and leave the car running for short periods. This will help to prolong 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. If you have more than one car, our advice is to alternate them for essential journeys to give them a chance to recharge. The car with the older or weaker battery should be used more often.
- Look under the bonnet and inspect the battery terminals for corrosion or dirt. Corrosive material forms around the terminals when there is a faulty connection that has allowed battery acid to escape. Ensure the terminal clamps are fitted tightly and the battery is seated properly within its housing. Clean any corrosion and residue away from the terminals to allow a good clean connection with the battery. To prevent corrosion building up, apply petroleum gel to the terminals after cleaning.
- Buy an intelligent charger to keep your battery topped up. If your car is parked on a driveway or garage, an intelligent 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 charger will help to maintain battery charge even if the vehicle is not in regular use.
- Checking the age of your battery will be a good indication of whether it will need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Batteries have a finite lifespan, if the battery is older the battery will be more likely to fail, especially when cold, hot or under pressure from not being used regularly.
During lockdown, we recommend that you follow Government guidelines and don’t 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.
If you have a problem with your battery BBL Batteries is there for you offering the best advice, superior quality products from market leading brands at fantastic value - including replacement batteries, battery chargers, jump packs, jump leads and many other products to help ensure vehicles can be started and used when needed, even if they have been left for lengthy periods and won’t start.