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How to stop a car battery going flat

If your vehicle is left stationary for extended periods of time, there’s a real worry that your car battery will run flat. This is especially true during times when you’re unable to get out and about or while you’re away on holiday, leaving your car cooped up in the garage or sitting on your driveway or house front. 

There will come a time when you need to use your vehicle again, and the last thing you’ll need when you’re ready to hit the road is to be hampered by a dead battery. However long you’re away from the wheel, there are ways in which you can prevent a flat car battery, so to give you a helping hand, we’ve put together some handy tips on how to stop a car battery going flat. 

Charge the battery

Your first port of call when it comes to avoiding a flat battery is to keep an eye on things and, if necessary, give it a charge. The car battery works overtime during winter, powering your heating and generally experiencing more use as we use our cars more to avoid the cold conditions. 

However, when the weather warms, many people will find themselves using their vehicle a lot less. In times like this when your battery is not in regular use, it can soon run flat while you remain blissfully unaware and go about business. If the car battery continues to run flat following regular charging, it could be a sign that it needs a checkup from a professional or potentially even a replacement battery. 

Check the battery

With this in mind, checking your car battery regularly is another important step on the road to stopping things running flat, but how to do this? A simple visual inspection under the bonnet can give you a good idea of the health of your battery; you should look for signs of corrosion and any leaks.

Regular servicing will help with this, and if your car is a recently purchased used car, you’re able to obtain a comprehensive collection of details including MOT history with our vehicle history check.

Turn the engine over

If your car is often left stationary or you simply don’t use it much for anything other than popping out for a food shop, underuse can also lead to your vehicle battery running flat. Sometimes these infrequent trips can be enough to run your car over, but it’s important that you take your motor out and clock up a few miles here and there to maintain both battery and engine performance levels. 

If you’re not heading out anywhere, run the engine for five to ten minutes while parked up, this should be enough to turn the engine over and stave away those troublesome flat battery issues. 

Check everything is switched off 

One simple mistake that people make when leaving their vehicles unused for an extended period of time is not turning off the car’s electrics. Both brand new and used cars are packed full of technology, and if left on, these electronics will soon drain a car battery in no time at all. 

Whether that’s lights, heaters or devices plugged into USB or 12V power supplies, it’s all too easy to forget about these things when your mind is elsewhere. 

And while you’re there…

While you’re busy checking the vehicle electrics, it makes sense to check other important aspects of your car too, including the tyres. The last thing you need when returning to your vehicle after a period away from the wheel is to find that your tyres are flat or there’s been a puncture hiding in plain sight. 

If you a little help in checking your tyres, you can find plenty of handy advice such as understanding tyre pressures on our tyre blog page.


If you’re looking for more motoring guides, advice and stuff you need to know, browse our extensive Green Flag Shop blog.