As winter weather conditions grip the country many of us find ourselves sitting in the driveway in a car that won't start… We speak to motor journalist, Geraldine Herbert on how to make your winter mornings a little bit easier:
Its freezing cold, you're running late, you sit down behind the wheel and your car won't start. Unfortunately the arrival of winter brings multiple demands on a car's battery with additional strain from heated seats to climate control.
Battery failure is one of the most common causes of breakdown and despite what people may think they don’t actually last forever. Replacing them can save you a lot of time and inconvenience. Cold temperatures reduce the capacity of any battery and if it is more than three years old it is worthwhile having it checked. If your battery is reaching the end of its life, usually indicated by sluggish starting, then it’s time to think about a new one.
Follow these simple tips to help avoid getting left out in the cold this winter:
- If your battery is more than five years old, now may be the time to replace it. Batteries differ in how long they last, but generally they have a life span of about five years so if your battery is several years old, it may be a good idea to get a new one.
- Remember frequent short, stop/start journeys drain your car's battery faster.
- At the end of a journey ensure the lights, wipers, heater are all switched off as this prevents any unnecessary drain on the battery the next time you start up. Check again that everything is switched off before turning the ignition on.
- Avoid using heaters, heated screens and heated seats for longer than you have to and even some satnav, in-car DVD players and iPods can also drain the battery if left connected.
- Check that there are no interior lights, including boot lights left on when leaving.
- If you can, park your vehicle in a garage, especially in very cold temperatures.
- Get your battery properly tested, particularly if it is over three years old.
If ice or snow cause your car to breakdown, make sure to call Aviva Breakdown Services on 1800 44 88 88. To read our top tips to prevent and things to do in the event of a breakdown, you can click here.