Getting your vehicle ready for life on the road again
With lockdown measures easing and more of the population beginning to emerge onto the roads again, the RAC and AA have reported a sharp increase in calls to rectify flat batteries! Here we present not only the explanation to the phenomenon, but also a simple solution to avoid the problem in the first place!
Are you or your vehicle at fault for the flat battery?
The simple and correct answer to this question is of course NO. Whilst some mechanics may be inclined to look for a single cause of the fault, such as lights being left on or GPS systems left plugged in, ultimately the lack of use over the last 11 weeks will have seen the charge trickle away.
There are multiple electronic systems that need to remain active on a vehicle at all times. The alarm, immobilser, clocks, GPS sensors and an array of other systems all draw small amounts of power from the battery over time. Ordinarily, our normal driving habits allow the vehicle’s alternator to recharge the battery when the engine is running. However, many vehicles, especially those used just for work purposes, have sat completely idle for several months.
This is how you keep your battery fresh
All good motoring institutions recommend attending to vehicles at regular intervals. Running your engine for 5 minutes a day isn’t enough to charge your battery. It may actually make the situation worse, because it takes a large amount of battery power to start your engine. To keep your battery fresh and ready to go, instead it is advised that you:
- Run your vehicle for a short period each week (30 mins) to top up your battery charge
- If you have the possibility, do also use a battery charger every two weeks to keep the charge on its maximum
- Alternatively, if the vehicle is likely to be unused for an extended period of time, consider removing the battery altogether.
- Is the battery totally flat? Consult your vehicle handbook and follow the guidance on how to jump start the vehicle.
Better safe than sorry – four tips on making your car fleet ready to go again
It`s a great idea to check the quality of your fleet while it’s in isolation. Here`s a list of our five favourite tips:
- Check the battery, lights, oil level and air in the tyres
- Make sure that every car is equipped with either a jump starter or jump leads
- Wash the cars inside and outside – use antibacterial wipes inside and on handles
- Make sure that every car is equipped with antibacterial gel to be used before and after contact with clients
- Ensure that your fleet is still taxed, MOT’d and that drivers are aware of what to do in the event of a breakdown