Christmas break could lead to ‘flat battery misery’ for drivers

Guide to charging your car battery

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Around a fifth of motorists are trying to use their cars less this Christmas to save money due to the painful impact of the cost of living crisis. Because of this, Halfords has issued a warning to drivers who may return to a flat battery when they get back in the car in 2023.

Freezing temperatures and reduced car usage both drastically increase the likelihood of a flat battery, meaning cars are particularly at risk following the Christmas break. 

This leaves motorists around the UK even more vulnerable in January, as almost a quarter (24 percent) plan to travel less than usual this Christmas compared to previous years, leaving their cars idle in the cold weather. 

In fact, 19 percent of drivers will leave their car completely dormant over the festive break, running a real risk of unintentional damage to their vehicle.

Halfords is encouraging motorists to regularly check their car battery to avoid being caught out, even if not using their car for traditional journeys.

Richard Bruce, Motoring Director from Halfords, warned drivers of the battery risks they could face in the new year.

He said: “Typically, we experience cars being left idle more over winter due to festive plans. 

“This year, however, we’re seeing an even bigger increase in cars being left dormant over Christmas to help ease financial burdens during these difficult times.

“But this does risk leaving drivers facing flat battery misery when they get back into their cars. 

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“We’re encouraging motorists to regularly turn on their car engines to maintain them, as well as taking advantage of our Halfords Motoring Club and free 10 point checks to keep their cars in good condition, even when the winter weather strikes.”

The research also revealed that over two-fifths do not own a spare car battery, while almost a quarter (24 percent) admit they don’t know how to change one at all.

According to the survey, 20 percent of respondents revealed they have never checked their car battery before.

When disaster strikes it typically causes people to be over an hour late on average for their much-anticipated plans.

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As a result of a flat battery, 14 percent of drivers have been late for work and six percent have missed or been late to an important meeting.

Shockingly, four percent said they had missed the birth of a child or a funeral.

If someone does experience “flat battery hell”, drivers can go through a short checklist of things to do before calling anyone out.

A common reason for a dead car battery is that it’s been drained by the lights being left on, without the engine running. 

If the battery hasn’t completely discharged, motorists may be able to charge it using a car battery charger that plugs into the mains.

However, if the battery has totally run out, it’s likely that simply charging it won’t work. The next option would be to try a jump start.

Motorists will need a jump starter pack or a set of jump leads and a “donor” car, but drivers should always be careful when doing this.

If jump starting or recharging doesn’t get the car going, motorists may have a more serious problem and should seek a second opinion.

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