Car battery jump leads on the engine

How to keep your battery healthy

Keeping it healthy is crucial to ensuring your vehicle stays on the roads.

Why do batteries go flat?

One of the biggest issues that drivers face when it comes to their battery is that it’s run-flat, understanding why batteries lose charge is the first step in understanding how to keep them healthy. Take a look at the below list to find out more…

  • The vehicle isn’t used regularly
  • The vehicle is only used for short journeys
  • The vehicle is only used for stop-start journeys
  • The battery has corroded
  • Electrics aren’t turned off when the vehicle is – e.g. lights, radio, infotainment system
  • There’s a problem with the battery or the charging system

If you do experience a flat battery, find out more about how to jump-start your vehicle. If the issue persists, you should contact your nearest garage.

Tips to keep your battery healthy:

With this in mind, there are some steps to take to stop your battery from going flat, keeping it healthy in the process.

  • Drive the vehicle regularly – Your battery will drain when the vehicle is sitting idle. It is recommended that you drive your vehicle for 30-40 minutes several times a week, this will help to keep the battery healthy.

  • Ensure all electrics are turned off – Leaving any electrical components on whilst the engine is turned off will quickly drain the battery, especially as modern vehicles have more features that are reliant on electronics. Ensuring everything is switched off before exiting the vehicle will help maintain your battery’s condition.

  • Clean the battery – A build-up of dirt can lead to the corrosion of battery terminals, to prevent this, cleaning your battery every few months is advised. An easy way to do this is to use baking soda and water with a wire brush to remove any corrosion. Be sure to wipe off any residue at the end, this will stop any damage being caused
Close up of inside the bonnet
  • Keep the battery warm – Extreme changes in temperature can cause flat batteries, this is a reason why many people experience their vehicles not starting in the winter. Whilst it could be advised that you shouldn’t drive early in the morning, late at night or on particularly cold days, this isn’t practical. Instead, you should consider purchasing an insulation jacket, this will keep your battery at an optimal temperature.

  • Carry out regular visual checks – You don’t need to be an expert to carry out these checks. Take a look around the battery for any damage or corrosion, ensure it’s looking clean and that any pipes or vents are free from blockages.

  • Check the water levels – This check should be carried out every six months. If the battery plates are visible this indicates that the fluid level is too low and should be topped up. You must refill with distilled water, as regular tap water has minerals that can have a negative impact on the battery’s performance.

  • Check the acid level – This should also be checked every six months. Similarly to checking the water levels, if the cell plates are visible then the levels are too low. Ensure that the cells are filled equally.

Find out more about how to check a car's battery.

Get in touch if you have any questions