Petrol and diesel owners issued key tips to dodge ‘number one’ winter breakdown

Petrol and diesel owners have been warned that battery breakdowns are the “number one issue” this Christmas. 

Colder temperatures have a major impact on how well batteries can hold their charge, likely causing havoc this winter. 

The RAC deals with around 400,000 battery-related breakdowns every winter making it one of the biggest problems for road users.

However, a leading mechanic has warned road users can attempt to dodge falling victim to battery problems by following some simple advice. 

Speaking to, James Lett, Technical Editor at AutoData said: “Batteries are probably the number one issue with vehicles. 

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“To diagnose a battery fault isn’t a problem but there are many things you can do to ensure your battery is going to keep working throughout the winter. 

“The first thing is to get the battery tested before the winter. So at the end of the summer or spring lots of independent garages or franchised garages will do a free battery check on your vehicle. Obviously their goal is to get you to buy a battery from them so keep that in mind. 

“But make use of it, ideally to check a battery you need a drop tester or something so it’s unlikely consumers are going to have that equipment. So just get a battery tested. 

“The average lifespan of a battery ranges five to 10 years. If you have a ten-year battery it’s worth getting a new one anyway if you want it to start completely through the winter.

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“Also corrosion on terminals, especially with the salt on the roads you’d be amazed what damage that does especially to the terminals on a battery.”

Experts at Howden Insurance stress that short journeys can put “extra stress” on the battery. 

They urge road users to make sure they regularly use their vehicles for longer drives of around 30 minutes to help charge a battery to an optimal state. 

Meanwhile, the AA and RAC both urge drivers to make sure they switch off extras such as headlights, wipers and heaters before turning off a vehicle. This will prevent any unnecessary drain on the car battery before the next time a car is started.

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Meanwhile, those parking a vehicle in a garage or driveway for the holidays can avoid battery issues by purchasing an affordable item. 

Mr Lett added: “Obviously, if you’re not going to use it for a long period of time think about getting a battery conditioner or a trickle charger 

“If you have the space on a driveway or a garage it’s worth some of these trickle chargers, battery conditioners you can leave plugged in the garage the whole time you’re not using it. 

“It will be very good for your battery, you know it’s going to start on the button without fear it won’t.”

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