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 there can be problems with your car battery at any time of the year. To reduce the likelihood of these issues with your battery, we’ve put together some key tips to help.
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.
- Check your lights and doors: If you’ve been driving in the dark, make sure you switch your lights off. 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.
- Check your electricals: If you have any electronics fitted, such as a dash cam, make sure these are fully powered down as this can drain your 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 few weeks, next time you go to drive you may find that the battery has gone flat.
If you only tend to use your vehicle for shorter journeys, you 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 battery tips for EV customers
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend you charge your battery to 80% rather than 100%, unless you’re going on a long journey. You should also aim to charge it every few days, instead of every day.
Try to avoid your battery charge dropping too low. It’s recommended that keeping your EV charge above 20% will help the battery stay healthy.
If you have a home charger, you can pre-condition your car while it’s still connected to the charger. This is handy for defrosting and heating your car on chilly mornings and means you won’t use any of your battery in the process as the electricity is drawn from the main, not the car itself.
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’ve recently launched a new smartphone app, called myRAC, which makes it quicker and easier to report a breakdown and could help you save money on fuel.
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.