Flat batteries are the most common cause of a breakdown at any time of year, but particularly so in winter says AA Rescue.
Flat batteries account for nearly 25 per cent of breakdowns in Ireland, according to the findings of our most recent Annual Breakdown Review.
AA Rescue reports that a breakdown in batteries can occur at any time of the year, but is a growing trend in winter months and is mainly due to a drop in temperatures, motorists’ high dependency on lights, wipers and rear demister.
Reasons for flat batteries
A flat battery is most commonly caused by:
- a lack of use or vehicle only used for short journeys
- something has been left on (light(s) or a faulty component is draining the battery)
- a fault with the vehicle’s charging system
- a fault with the battery itself
- excessive vibration
- over charging
- temperature (extreme heat and cold)
How we deal with battery problems
When we attend to a vehicle with a flat or suspected flat battery, we don’t just jump start the vehicle and send you on your way. Our patrols will always look for the cause. The patrol will:
- test the battery
- check the vehicle’s charging system
- check for a vehicle fault that may be draining the battery, and
- ask what sort of use the vehicle gets
AA patrols carry the latest industry leading battery tester which uses conductance technology to measure the health of a battery. Conductance battery testing has become the industry standard and is used by all of the major motor manufacturers.
Need a new battery?
Batteries generally can last up to eight years, depending on usage. However, its efficiency will begin to deteriorate the older it gets and consideration must be given to its replacement following the five year period. Ensuring these are replaced before it reaches its life expectancy could save a great deal of inconvenience and time at the side of the road. If your car is struggling to start it’s usually a sign that the battery is weak. That will certainly catch you out when weather is colder as batteries have to work harder in low temperatures.
If you mostly do short journeys or leave the car standing for days at a time, invest in a modern battery conditioner/intelligent charger. These can be left connected to the battery indefinitely and can prolong its life without overcharging it.
Check that everything electrical is turned off when you park up – even an interior light, boot light, or radio left on overnight can kill a battery when it’s cold.
Give the battery a chance
Switch off everything electrical and depress the clutch (for a manual vehicle) to reduce the load on the battery when you start a cold car.
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