Why Do Car Batteries Go Flat?
It may be because of lack of use, or a faulty cell. It can also be because of age as most batteries are unlikely to last longer than five to seven years (there are exceptions). Aside from age and lack of use, cold weather affects the performance of a car battery, especially as it's now required to power so many functions from wipers to lights.
Easily Spot A Failing Car Battery?
Certainly, starting can be sluggish. Also, if the headlights dim or go out when starting there is a problem as the car battery may be nearing the end of its life and not holding its charge.
Ideally, don’t attempt to start your car with lots of gadgets switched on. Also, any erratic electrical behaviour points to a possible problem with the car battery; so if the electric windows, radio and, of course the lights play up there may be car battery issues. About 20% of roadside breakdowns are due to car batteries so make sure you spot a failing one before it's too late.
How To Check Your Car Battery
Although you can go to a garage to get a car battery checked, you can use a test meter, or a battery charger with a display to see what the condition is. Usually, the reading should be above 12 volts; at 12 or below your car battery may be flat.
Taking Care Of Your Car Battery
Check the terminal connections for tightness and clean away any corrosion either with a brush, or just warm water. A layer of Vaseline around the terminal posts will keep the white corrosion deposits away. Do not forget to check the security of your car battery which may be secured in position with a strap. If it falls over, it could start a fire and cause considerable damage to the surrounding area from spilt acid.
Invest In A Trickle Charger
If you only do short journeys this is not good for a car battery, so you should buy a trickle charger which will maintain its condition.
Especially during the winter periods, looking after your car battery should be a high priority. In addition, if you will be going on a long journey, a quick check of your car's vitals, including the battery, is always a great idea.
What To Do With A Flat Car Battery
There is never a good time for a flat car battery, and finding someone to jump your battery can be a chore. That's why a portable car jump starter can be a lifesaver to keep in the boot or glovebox - they have already saved some of our staff from a roadside callout!
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