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A quick guide to restarting your car battery

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There is arguably nothing more frustrating than planning a journey, getting everything packed and ready, and then discovering that your car’s battery is dead. This could, in the best of circumstances, delay your journey slightly, but in the worst instance could scupper your trip entirely. A car’s battery is an incredibly important feature of the vehicle. Without it, the car will be unable to start, lights will not work, and the ignition will not spark.

While wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) have been modified so as to aid mobility and make better use of available space, they are by no means immune to battery failure: they are, at the end of the day, still powered by the same means as traditional cars and vans, and so they are liable to experience the same failures and run into the very same challenges.

So, this begs a few questions: why do batteries in cars go dead, what can be done to stop such a situation occurring, what are the circumstances that tend to precede a battery going flat, and how can a battery be restarted if it has run down?

With the Christmas period upon us many people will be planning journeys to visit family & friends and with the weather getting progressively colder the last thing you want to discover is a flat battery. Our latest guide is here to help:

Why do batteries die?

There can be a number of reasons why a car battery dies, but here’s a list of the most common ones:

  • Lights being left on while the car isn’t running
  • Keeping the air conditioner running while the car is not being driven
  • Leaving the car for extended periods of time
  • A faulty battery, or one that has a minor problem that has been ignored for a long time
  • Problems within the alternator
  • If the air temperature reaches a particularly low temperature, which can result in the battery freezing

These can really be broken down into two categories: human error or mechanical malfunction. What is uniform, however, is that taking care of your car’s battery is absolutely essential and can ensure not only that massively detrimental failures can be avoided but will mean that replacements can be obtained and installed in good time.

What can be done to stop a battery dying?

The first thing to do to protect your battery is to remain vigilant. You need to be prepared for the worst, and you need to ensure that the battery – as well as other parts of your vehicle – are routinely checked. As well as this, you should make sure you have certain things in your vehicle at all times: jump leads, a warning sign with reflective strips, and a blanket (in case you get stranded).

How to get a battery up and running again

When you are fully convinced that your battery is dead, the first thing you need to do is remain calm; it is a relatively simple process to restart a car’s battery, but being stressed out is liable to make the situation more difficult than it really needs to be. The importance of being level-headed is also necessary so as to ensure that the situation is as safe as possible, which is vital if the vehicle is anywhere other than on your driveway or parked in a garage/lock-up.

Once you have done everything you can to make the scenario as safe as possible – turning off everything that can be turned off, removing the key, putting gloves on (if you have them), putting out a reflective sign if the vehicle is in an exposed location – you can get to the jump starting.

This video offers an incredibly useful step-by-step guide to restarting your vehicle, but below you can see a series of bullet points in case you happen to need this page when you are out and about and can’t access media.

  • Gain assistance from a second car
  • Ensure both vehicles are parked and their ignitions are not on
  • With the RED lead, connect the positive sections of the respective batteries
  • With the BLACK lead, connect the negative sections
  • Wait for a couple of minutes – five should be enough – and then start the engine of the car that is fully operational. Wait another minute or so and then turn the ignition on the car that is not working
  • Move back for 10 to 15 minutes and let the cars run this way. Then, turn off both engines
  • Your battery should now be functional enough to get your car started
  • You should then go for a drive of about 15 to 20 minutes to ensure there is enough charge on the battery so that it will start again then next time you’re parked up.

If you follow the steps listed above and your car does not work then your vehicle could well have bigger problems, and that’s when having valid insurance comes in very handy. Regardless of what vehicle you own, it is essential that you are covered, and that’s why we offer bespoke insurance that provides security to vehicles used by, or modified for, people with disabilities.

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call 0333 331 3770