How can I extend the life of my car battery?

What Car?'s tips on extending the life of your car battery, including what to do if you need to replace it...

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Darren Moss
19 May 2016 09:22 | Last updated: 13 Jun 2018 19:52

The battery is an essential part of your car. It provides power for everything from the ignition system and lights to your air conditioning and satellite navigation. The average life of a car battery is around four years, but there are ways you can extend that life.

How can I extend the life of my car battery?

Here are What Car?’s top tips for extending the life of your car battery.

Drive your car regularly - leaving your car stationary for extended periods of time will drain the battery, so make sure you drive your car often, and not just for short trips. If you know you’re not going to drive your car for an extended time, then consider investing in a trickle charger, which can keep the car’s battery topped up while you’re away.

Keep the battery clean - allowing dirt and grime to build up on the battery, particularly around the battery terminals, can shorten the life of your car battery. You can scrape away the worst of the grime with a screwdriver, but make sure you disconnect the battery first. You should also make sure the battery is secure, and doesn’t vibrate when the engine is started.

Avoid short journeys - this is especially important if you live in a particularly cold climate. Cold weather takes a toll on your car battery, so you need to allow the car time to recharge while driving. If this is a concern, you can buy a special insulation kit, which will protect the battery from extended cold weather.

How can I extend the life of my car battery?

Service your car regularly - an engine that is in poor condition will require more charge from the battery, so have your car serviced at the intervals your the manufacturer recommends. Most services will involve the dealer or garage checking the charge rate of your car battery, and they’ll tell you if it needs replacing.

Use accessories sparingly - this applies when the engine is off. Using the car’s radio, climate control or any other accessory will drain the battery over an extended period of time, so if you’re planning on using these items it’s best to leave the engine on.

Know your battery - the next time you look under your car’s bonnet, take the time to note down the make, model and type of battery that’s fitted. This means that if you need to buy a replacement, you’ll know exactly which model to get.

My battery keeps going flat - what do I do?

If your battery no longer holds a charge - ie. it keeps going flat - then the battery is either damaged, or is nearing the end of its life. In this instance, it is best to replace the battery.

Where can I get my car battery replaced?

Most dealerships and garages will be able to change the battery in your car, and some motoring chain stores, such as Halfords, also offer a battery replacement service. The costs involved and the time taken to change your car’s battery depend on the make and model of your car. You can also change the battery yourself if you feel confident enough to do so.

How can I extend the life of my car battery?

How much does a car battery cost and where can I get one?

The cost of a car battery depends on your car, and also on what type of battery you go for. The cheapest batteries are lead-acid batteries, and prices for these start at around £45. More expensive batteries, such as Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries provide more charge and generally last longer, and these cost from around £80. Most modern cars come with AGM batteries.

Common brands of battery include Varta, Bosch, Exide, and Lion.

You can buy car batteries on the internet, or from motoring retailers, such as Halfords and Wilco Direct.

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