How Can You Help Your Car Battery?

Posted on: 24 October 2017


The humble car battery is probably one of the most maligned components on the average car. It's designed to be "maintenance free" and to be reliable over its lifetime, but it's also true to say that the modern-day battery works harder than ever in order to service these sophisticated vehicles. If you're having a problem with your car batteries, it pays to understand exactly what these components do and whether your driving habits are making a difference to its longevity. What do you need to know?

Battery Under Pressure

In fundamental terms, the battery is there to help start the engine in the morning by delivering a dose of heavy voltage to the starter motor. It will work in tandem with the alternator, in order to recharge itself under certain circumstances. However, you have to bear in mind just how many individual electronic units there are within a modern car to see just how difficult a task the battery has. Of course, it is designed for that particular purpose, but remember that it will only fully recharge itself during journeys that are longer than a trip to the nearest convenience store.

Short Journeys Don't Recharge

If you tend to use your car for very short journeys and may have a relatively quick commute back and forth to work, for example, then this could be at the root of your problem. You need to get into the habit of planning an extended journey periodically, so that your battery can fully recharge to its best state. This will help you to avoid any early-morning issues, when you jump into the vehicle and find that it won't start.

Modern Design Doesn't Help

You may also notice a problem if your short journeys include a number of different traffic lights, or busier than average traffic conditions. Modern car design calls for the engine to stop and restart every time the vehicle becomes stationary. If you're shuffling along in a traffic jam, this can happen frequently and will tend to drain the battery even more.

Short-Term Fix

You may understand all of this philosophy now, but it's not helping you in your current situation. In order to push start the car, make sure that you have some volunteers to help you and then sit in the driver's seat, while they get ready to push. Lower the handbrake and put the vehicle into second gear, while depressing the clutch all the way to the floor. Make sure that the key is in the on position and then ask the volunteers to push steadily. If you happen to be on a gradual decline this will help, but you only need to wait until the vehicle reaches about 10 miles an hour, before releasing the clutch and watching the car splutter into life.