Car Battery Maintenance Tips

According to the AA, flat batteries are the most common cause of breakdowns in Ireland. In fact almost 25 percent of breakdowns are due to a flat battery. In this article we will look at the reasons why batteries go flat, and what you can do to prolong the life of your battery.

Battery problems are most commonly associated with the winter months but the reality is that you can have a problem with your battery at any time of the year.

Main Reasons For A Flat Battery

  • Leaving something on – this is one of the most common causes. Often it happens whenever lights are left on, although almost all modern vehicles have an audible warning system to prevent this.
  • Lack of use – your battery can go flat if you don’t drive your car for a long period of time
  • Short journeys – on a short journey your battery doesn’t have time to recharge. When this is done frequently the battery can go flat.
  • Faulty component – a component in your car could be putting an excessive load on the battery
  • Battery fault – the battery itself might be faulty
  • Vibration – batteries have to be secured firmly in place. If they are not they vibrate which can cause damage and/or the battery to go flat
  • Over charging – over charging a battery can damage it
  • Fault with the charging system – your battery will run flat if your car is not properly charging it up while you are driving
  • Corrosion – corrosion on the connectors or other components can result in a flat battery

Car Battery Maintenance Tips

  • Drive regularly – even if you don’t need to drive your car you should still take it out for a run to recharge the battery
  • Get a service – get your car serviced regularly. Make sure they check the charging rate of the battery during the service. If the battery is dirty get them to also wipe away dirt and grime from the battery case and terminals.
  • Don’t drain the battery – modern devices in cars, and that are plugged into cars, can cause batteries to discharge to the point that it is drained. This shortens the life of your battery so you should minimise this as much as possible.
  • Make sure it is secure – make sure the battery is fitted securely in place, and the connections are fitted tightly to the terminals

What To Do If You Have A Flat Battery

Switch everything in the car off – the radio, air conditioner, etc – and unplug any devices, like phone chargers. If your car is manual you should press the clutch in. All of this will help to reduce the load on your battery which might allow the car to start.

If this doesn’t work you will have to call for assistance. It is not recommended that you jump start a modern car with a complex electrical system as this can cause damage to the electronics. It is much better to call a breakdown service.

If you are in this situation you might find you need a new battery. You might also need a new battery if you are struggling to start your car.

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