Battery replacements have doubled due to the lack of driving

Our car batteries are dying! The lockdown has proven to be great for the environment and pollution levels but unfortunately, not so great when it comes to car batteries.

Due to the lack of movement, car batteries are draining at an alarming rate and once we come out of lockdown, we may have another kind of epidemic on our hands. A car battery epidemic.

Flat battery jump start

Kwik Fit has reported a huge increase in battery fittings claiming they’re getting twice the enquiries of what they would normally expect at this time of year comparing April 2020 to the same period from 2016-2019. Once lockdown is lifted, even more motorists are likely to visit their mechanics for battery-related problems.

The cars that will be most likely affected are older cars, cars with start-stop technology and also luxury cars which will have a lot of electrical functions running in the background, even when the car is not running and locked.

BMW M4 Coupe

If you find that your car struggles slightly when starting, or that an unusual warning light comes on the dash when the car is started (such as battery warnings, glow plug warnings or even a check engine light) it could be an indication that the battery is low.

Other telltale signs can be found if you’re especially perceptive. You may notice that your car’s welcome lights don’t turn on as they usually would when you unlock the car, or you may hear that your boot mechanism has a slightly different sound to it due to there being less power or find that your electric seats adjust at a slower pace.

To stop our car’s battery making an early trip to the battery graveyard we need to make sure they are being charged. This can be achieved in several ways.

One suggestion would be to buy a trickle charger which plugs into a wall outlet and can be either connected directly to the battery, or to your car’s cigarette lighter socket.

Car Battery Charger

Another suggestion would be to simply run your car more. With the current situation, we’re only meant to be making essential journeys so we can’t simply just go for a drive. Instead, we would suggest rotating cars on supermarket runs, if you have multiple cars.

Also, once you have returned from shopping, let the car run for a further 15 minutes sitting on the drive whilst sitting in it. Make sure the car is not in a closed space like a garage to allow fumes to dissipate.

Citeron DS

Some cars can drain their batteries in just two weeks of sitting idle, which is why it’s important to let your car run at least once a week. If you are unable to make supermarket runs every week using your car, starting your car and letting it run idle for 15 minutes twice a week should be enough to see it through the lockdown, according to Kwik Fit.

If the car, after all of this, is still dying then perhaps it’s just old and was on its last legs already. On inspection, you may be able to see the battery’s age on a sticker and if it’s around 5 years old then it’s due to be replaced soon anyway.

Car battery charging

When starting your car, remember that batteries use more energy when it’s cold, so try to start your car in the warmest time of the day. Also, be sure to monitor how much you use functions such as heated seats, aircon, music and convertible roof while your car’s engine is off. If electrical functions such as these are being used while the car’s engine is not running, the energy is being taken directly out of the battery without it being topped up. 

Furthermore, as a free bit of advice from us, check your tyres as well! When cars are parked for a few weeks, tyre pressure can quickly decrease making your cars less fuel-efficient and wearing your tyres at a faster rate. When possible, check that your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended specification.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like to read about car detailing and how you can keep your car clean during lockdown.

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