Dealing with car battery issues during the COVID-19 lockdown

By Julia Freeman

Don’t get caught out during the coronavirus crisis. With so many vehicles sitting idle because of Covid-19 car batteries are at risk of depleting. Which could mean your car won’t start when you want it to.

charging a car battery

To prevent lockdown flat-battery-blues, follow these simple maintenance tips to keep your battery charging. Or search for mobile car battery replacement near me to find your nearest Protyre mobile battery replacement service.

Why your car battery is important

It may look like an unremarkable black box, but the car battery provides the essential spark to power up all the electrics in your car including the starter motor, lights and ignition. Without that initial jolt, your car just won’t start. That’s how important the car battery is to your vehicle.

The battery also provides power to the fuel injection system and your anti-theft systems. Now more than ever we’re relying on our vehicles for reliability and security and the car battery is at the heart of those systems.

How lockdown affects your car battery

Cars are designed to be driven and a prolonged period of inactivity doesn’t do any of its components any good. Weaker car batteries can go flat in just 2 weeks and even turning over the engine occasionally may not be enough to keep your battery charged.

When not in use, your battery will lose charge as a result of chemical reactions and underlying power use by your car’s electronics. This drain on the battery can cause it to go flat when not in use, particularly if the battery itself is 4-5 years old. Short trips of just 5-10 minutes for essentials can also help drain the battery as the alternator won’t have enough time to charge it up.

Avoid pandemic car battery problems with mobile car battery fitting

Good battery health is important all year round. Maintenance and monitoring are critical to keeping your battery working at full power so you can minimise the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

If you don't have the tools or the expertise to handle the job yourself, try our mobile car battery fitting service. We'll visit you wherever you are, observing social distancing and hygiene rules, to replace your flat battery fast. It's convenient and cost-effective and will have you back on the road in no time.

Talk to your local Protyre garage professionals about mobile battery replacement or mobile car battery fitting if you can't make it to your local Protyre garage.

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Dos and dont’s of battery maintenance

Your car battery may not be a complicated piece of kit, but it can be highly dangerous if you don’t handle it with care. Batteries contain sulphuric acid that can deliver a nasty chemical burn or damage surfaces it comes into contact with. Always follow these precautions when checking and testing your battery:

  • NEVER touch both terminals at the same time – the current can kill

  • Do wear safety glasses, gloves, and old clothing

  • Don’t drop the battery / handle it in any way that causes the acid to spill – if it does, immediately flush the area with water

  • Do remove all jewellery and never use metal tools to avoid creating a short and explosive sparks

  • Don’t smoke or expose the battery to a naked flame

  • Do wash your hands thoroughly after handling the battery to neutralise any acid

Keep your battery healthy

So how do you keep your car battery healthy in a pandemic? There are a few simple maintenance tips you can use to keep your battery healthy.

Start by checking the health of your battery with a multimeter. You should have a reading of around 12.6v after an hour for a fully charged battery. If the reading drops significantly a few days later invest in a trickle charger to keep it topped up.

Check all connections and terminals and make sure the hold down bar is secured and the battery is snugly seated. This minimises vibration that can cause damage to the interior of the battery. Clean any corrosion from the terminals with a 50/50 solution of water and bicarbonate of soda.

Switch off all your car’s electronics including radio and lights to stop any unnecessary power drain. Make sure the boot, bonnet and doors are all securely shut as notifications can also drain down the battery.

Start your car outside and let it run for at least 15 minutes or take it for a short drive that observes the government’s lockdown rules.

Try and keep your battery in a cooler place, if possible, as excess heat can damage the components. Top up electrolytes with distilled water if necessary.

If your car won’t start then you’ll need to jump start it from a second car or a jump starter. Never try to start the car repeatedly as this can contribute to draining the battery completely.

Battery warning signs

Look out for the following signs that you may have a weak battery that’s about to fail:

  • Your car takes a long time to start or starts intermittently

  • The battery indicator comes on and stays on

  • Your battery loses power quickly when it’s cold

  • Your headlights get brighter when you rev the engine

  • There’s a sulphur smell like a bad egg produced by battery acid leakage

  • The case of the battery looks swollen or bloated

  • The battery is over 3 years old

If you’re concerned about the health of your car battery, get it checked out at your nearest Protyre garage.

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Get a free battery check at Protyre

Our free battery check comprises a number of comprehensive checks to test the health of your battery. We’ll check the condition plus starting and charging systems with the latest testing equipment. It’s a quick check that’s absolutely free and could save you time and money when lockdown finally eases.

At Protyre our larger centres are open and operational at this unprecedented time to help essential workers stay on the road. If you’re a key worker relying on their vehicle now more than ever, book in for one of our free vehicle checks. From tyres from trusted brands such as Pirelli and Bridgestone to mobile fitting and repair, our tyre professionals are helping to keep Britain on the road. So why not visit your local Protyre garage for peace of mind motoring through lockdown and beyond.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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