Keep your vehicle’s battery healthy- don’t get caught out in the cold this winter!

Keep your vehicle’s battery healthy- don’t get caught out in the cold this winter!

The first sign, usually, that your vehicle’s battery is faulty, is on a frosty morning when you are in a rush.

You’ve loaded the vehicle up with everything you need, you turn the key and all you get is a “RUR RUR RUR” noise.

So why do batteries go flat?

There are lots of reasons why a battery might go flat, the most common are:

  • The vehicle has been left unused for a while, or only used for short journeys
  • Lights have been left on
  • You have a faulty battery
  • There could be a problem with the charging system
  • Excessive vibrations
  • Extreme hot or cold conditions

How does a battery work?

The battery contains energy cells in a lead-acid chemical solution which work together to provide a jolt of energy that jumpstarts your vehicle into life when you turn the ignition, translating chemical energy into electrical energy.

Warning signs that might indicate you have a problem with your battery:

  • Slow engine crank: when you attempt to start the vehicle the engine seems sluggish and takes longer to start than normal, a “rur rur rur” noise is normal associated with this.
  • Engine lights: has a “check engine” light appeared, sometimes when your battery power is weak system indicator lights might appear on your dashboard.
  • Low battery fluid level: vehicle batteries typically have a translucent strip so you can keep an eye on the battery fluid level. If the fluid is below the lead plates it is time to have the battery and charging system tested.
  • Bloated battery casing: this can be caused by overheating and will decrease the battery life, it will need replacing completely.
  • Rotten egg smell: battery leaks cause corrosion around the terminals (the + and – cable connections on top of the battery) this corrosion limits the ability of your battery to charge and will need removing.
  • Old-timer: vehicle batteries are expected to last between 3-5 years but driving habits and exposure to extreme elements can shorten its life. Annual checks to ensure your battery is charging will reduce the chances of finding your vehicle won’t start on that cold winter morning.

How to make them last longer?

There are some steps you can take to ensure your battery lasts a little longer:

  1. Limit short rides: short journeys prevent your vehicle’s battery from fully charging properly. Where possible try to take it for a long drive occasionally to allow everything to charge fully. If this is not possible it might be worth investing in a portable vehicle charger, these can jump start your battery without another vehicle if you find yourself stranded.
  2. Keep it tightly fastened: if your battery is not fastened tightly it could end up vibrating which will result in internal damage and short circuits.
  3. Turn off all lights: most of us have accidentally left our vehicle’s lights on when we park but making sure they are turned off is important for your battery’s health. If you find you regularly leave lights on, it might be worth leaving a Post-it note on the dashboard.
  4. Corrosion: corrosion around the terminals needs to be cleaned away, scrubbing them with a toothbrush dipped in soda and water mix until free of corrosion will help, just make sure they are thoroughly dried off with a clean cloth and the clamps re-attached.

Standlake Vehicle Services are offering a FREE battery check to assess the health of your battery. We’ll measure its charging and cranking capabilities and if you need a replacement, then we will advise you on the costs with no obligation to buy.

Contact us and get your vehicles battery booked in for a check-up.