The RAC attends over half a million battery-related breakdowns every year. If you’ve ever had a battery go flat and had to abandon a journey as a result – or scramble a backup option in order to get on with the job – you know how much of a pain it can be.
There are things you can do to help prolong your car or van battery life and reduce the likelihood of battery problems.
WHAT CAUSES A LOW BATTERY?
Lots of short journeys which don’t give the engine time to recharge the battery can lead to issues, as well as accidentally leaving lights, the radio and other electrical devices on when you shut off the engine.
If you don’t use the vehicle that often, you should take it out weekly anyway and give the battery time to work and be charged, as things like the alarm can run it down over time.
Be sure to check your battery regularly for loose connections and general corrosion.
The weather can actually affect your car battery life too; both summer and winter temperatures can have a negative effect on vehicle batteries and can lead to permanent damage. You should try to keep your vehicle out of direct sunlight in the summer months, and away from the coldest spots in winter, preferably in a garage.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR BATTERY IS RUNNING LOW OR FAILING
A good way to spot this is by checking the strength of your headlights whilst the vehicle is idling. If they brighten when you rev, then this is a sign of a low battery. Your starter can be another a sign – if it’s slow, this may also mean you have battery issues.
WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR BATTERY
Your battery should have a purchase date written on it and the case will have a life expectancy. We recommend replacing it every five years regardless. Make sure you buy the right battery for your vehicle and don’t just go for the cheapest option without checking it’s got a reputation for quality.
Want more? Read about how to look after your brakes here.
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