How to…Avoid a flat battery

All parts of your car need looking after during the winter weather, but none more so than your car battery. The cold weather changes the chemical process within the battery, meaning it doesn’t work as efficiently as it should. This can have a big effect on your morning plans if a flat battery means your car simply won’t start.

Top tips for keeping mobile:

Keep driving –It might sound basic but your car battery charges while the engine is being used. Short journeys or not using the car at all, will gradually flatten the battery. If you don’t do lots of journeys you could consider investing in an external battery charger.

Switch off  – All sorts of equipment can put unnecessary load on the battery. Obvious things are heaters, wipers and lights. However remember to unplug items from the 12V socket and USB ports too

Ease the strain – Depressing the clutch when starting the engine can help take the strain off your car. It reduces the effort needed to start and therefore takes the strain away some of the load on the battery.

Check your battery – Do a visual check every time you lift the bonnet to look for corrosion. If you have purchased a used car, check the manual and make sure the previous owner had the correct battery installed

Check other battery-related systems – If you’re concerned, get a professional to check over the alternator, starting system and charging systems for the car and battery. If any of these are malfunctioning, it could result in the battery being overcharged, undercharged or in some cases not charged at all – all of which will affect battery life.

Service your car – A poorly maintained vehicle can put extra strain on the battery – from under inflated tyres to an overworked engine.

Know the warning signs – Noises like clicks as you turn the ignition, dashboards lights going dim or the engine turning over very slowly are all signs that a battery is flatter than it should be.

Don’t persevere – A battery won’t magically regain charge; if it fails to start the engine, stop trying, as you’ll only flatten it further for no reason.

Safety first – If you’ve stopped in a dangerous place, for example next to a junction, try to get the car somewhere safer before continuing

Be ready to jump start – In an emergency, you may need to jump start the car. Keep a set of jump leads in the boot and learn the procedure.