Battery Care 101: Maintaining Charge When Your Vehicle Is Not In Use

Maintaining Charge When Your Vehicle Is Not In Use

26 March 2020

Modern life is fast-paced and revolves around reliable transport. We need our cars for work, school, extra-curricular and social activities, but our constant busy-ness means that we often don’t allow time for anything to go wrong.

It’s a common story that an extended vacation is spoiled by returning to discover a flat battery. It was fine before you left and not used for weeks or months. It’s no different when social distancing and working from home. In the past, a quick jump start and going for a drive was a great strategy, and it still is for older vehicles, but it’s a different story for newer ones.

Intermittent stop start or hybrid vehicles have charging systems that operate differently to older cars. This helps to save fuel and decrease emissions, but it can be at the expense of providing adequate recharging. The last thing you want is to discover a flat battery when you urgently need your car.

Vehicles with remote or keyless technology can be a trap for the unwary. The key fob and the vehicle battery “talk” to each other, ready to spring into action. This is convenient when the car is in use, but if it’s sitting in the garage doing nothing the battery may be flat within less than a fortnight.

Here are some strategies to extend the life of your vehicle’s battery:

  • Lock the vehicle. If the key fob is within range, even when not in the vehicle, the battery is on alert.

  • Avoid idling the car. The recharging system engages only when the vehicle is being driven, and then not very well in stop-start traffic.

  • Turn off accessories. Air-con, clock, radio, and hands-free mobile access all require power, and unless the charging system is activated these can drain the battery quickly. It’s surprising how much power is being drawn from the vehicle’s battery even when the car is locked and unused.

What can you do?

The initial and most obvious strategy is to stop your battery and key fob talking: lock your car and store the key fob out of range. This goes part of the way towards maintaining the battery. The second strategy, especially when the vehicle is being used minimally or not at all, is to attach a charger.

Trickle chargers and more powerful varieties can be left connected indefinitely, powering your accessories and ensuring your vehicle works when you need it.

Battery World stores have a range of chargers to suit your vehicle and your budget. They also offer free next-day delivery, so even if you’re in self-isolation the battery can be delivered and connected.

Give your local store a call. Your battery will be glad you did.