Top tips to care for your car or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle’s battery

Flat batteries are one of the most common problems that breakdown services deal with over the winter months. A combination of cold weather, reduced car use and the increased need for electrics such as lights and heating can all contribute to battery drain.

But batteries can run into problems all year round. So to help reduce the risk of issues occurring, we’ve put together some top tips for looking after your vehicle’s battery.

Why do batteries drain?

Systems such as alarms and remote locking key fobs mean modern vehicles consume electricity even when you are not using them. If a vehicle isn’t driven for a number of weeks, next time you go to drive you may find that the battery has gone flat.

This is particularly common in winter when vehicles tend to be driven less. Plus, with fewer hours of daylight in winter, the extra functions needed to drive in the dark can put extra strain on the battery when it is used.

Drivers who only tend to use their vehicles for shorter journeys may also struggle with battery drain. This is because the battery will not receive a full charge during a short journey, and over time this may eventually result in it running out of charge.

Top Tips for WAV and adaptations customers

Customers that drive a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), Drive from Wheelchair WAV or have adaptations fitted to their Motability Scheme car should take extra care with their vehicle battery.

This is because certain adaptations and converted features will often rely on the battery as a power source, meaning that it is having to work a little harder.

If your WAV is fitted with a winch or electro-reels for the front wheelchair tie-downs, make sure these are switched off whenever you park your vehicle. For vehicles with hydraulic tail lifts, try to make sure you have everything you need before entering or leaving the vehicle on the lift as using this repeatedly can reduce battery power.

It’s well worth taking a bit of time to maintain the battery and hopefully reduce the risk of any problems occurring during your lease.

How to keep your battery charged

There are a few simple things you can do to help keep your battery in good working order:

  • Use your vehicle regularly: The easiest thing to do is to drive your vehicle regularly and where possible avoid going long periods without using it. If you’ve not driven your vehicle for a while, try to make a longer journey next time you use it to get a good amount of charge back in the battery.
  • Drive in the day: Where possible, avoid driving at night or early in the morning. Night-time driving tends to use more power for lights and heating, and you may also need to use other functions such as heated windscreens which require battery power as well.
  • Check your lights: Again, this may sound simple, but make sure your lights are switched off when you get home after driving in the dark. Leaving vehicle lights on overnight can quickly drain a battery of all its charge. Similarly, check your doors and boot are shut properly and your vehicle is correctly locked as this can also cause battery drain if your vehicle is not fully shut down. If you have any additional electronics fitted, such as a dash cam, make sure these are fully powered down as well.  

What if my battery goes flat?

If your battery runs out of charge and your car won’t start, RAC Motability Assist are on hand to help. They will be able to attend and diagnose the issue and potentially charge or replace your battery. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and you can contact them on 0800 73 111 73.

If you are having repeated issues with your battery, it is worth speaking to your dealer or WAV supplier as there may be a problem with another part of the vehicle that is impacting the battery. Don’t forget you can easily find the contact details for your dealer or supplier in your Motability Scheme online account.

Learn more about the online account

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