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How to stop your car battery from going flat - MSE Team Blog discussion

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How to stop your car battery from going flat - MSE Team Blog discussion

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MSE_KelvinMSE_Kelvin MSE Staff
142 posts
Third Anniversary 10 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
MSE Staff
It's now been over a month since the Government said "you must stay at home" to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And MoneySavers with motors have been asking us  and each other via the MSE Forum  how to keep their car in good nick if it's not being driven much, or at all, during lockdown. They want to avoid having to shell out for repairs when the restrictions are lifted.

Now, although we're experts in MoneySaving (so can help you save money on MOTs, car insurance etc), we're not mechanics so can't claim to know everything when it comes to car maintenance. That's why we roped in the AAGreen Flag and RAC to help with this, and though they didn't quite agree on everything we've done our best to summarise their combined wisdom.

Read the full blog:
How to stop your car battery going flat - and six other lockdown motoring tips
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Replies

  • victorialouisebowkervictorialouisebowker Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    To avoid a hefty road tax bill we've decided to Sorn his vehicle for the time being. But cannot find a V11 letter and can't locate the v5 log book. 

    We only have until 1st May to declare it. Cannot call DVLA, can't send them paper forms. I'm panicking as it's £250 we really can't afford at the moment and I'm terrified of being fined.
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
    3.2K posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    To keep our battery charged, we use a solar charger from a major motoring retail business that is staying open at the moment with click and collect - seems very simple and works well for us.

    Regarding SORN, we put both our vehicles on SORN at the end of March.  It was very easy to do and the refund received quickly.  It does require the V5 reference number though.  Unless your road tax is now due, which means you should have the DVLA letter, it is not a case of needing to afford £250 but that you will receive a refund of the amount that remains.  
  • ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    We use our jump-start to give the battery a quick boost before starting a 15 minute tick over once a week. So far, so good.

    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • Dakota_2Dakota_2 Forumite
    54 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I suggest buying a float battery charger if your car is on your own property and within reach of power. You can get one for around £20. I don't recommend running your engine for 15 minutes, when diagnosing a battery problem with test equipment I discovered the engine RPM had to be 2000 for a decent alternator output. Lastly this rocking the car backwards and forwards is complete nonsense, cars are designed to be driven. I reccomend taking your car for a twenty minute drive every 3 weeks. After all I don't see the government offering to pay hefty repair bills. Just my 2p.
  • ronbrindle9ronbrindle9 Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Dakota_2, My 2015 Corsa had a completely flat battery a couple of years ago due to a software problem with the radio, the AA boost started it and let it run on tick over for 45 mins. The charging current was monitored by a clamp meter and was producing 95 amps (it is a 140 amp alternator), this dropped off to about 4 amps after the 45 mins. Revving the engine did not increase the output any further, so was left at tick over.
  • mmulliganmmulligan Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Buy an AA recommended solar booster, round £24.95 from Amazon Tried my car this a.m. and it's working - connect to the EU-mandated EOBD socket by your right foot. Yipee. 
  • nickw56nickw56 Forumite
    7 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    As car batteries get older they begin to lose charge through a process called sulfation, in normal circumstances most people won't notice this but if the vehicle is left unused for a while the battery will eventually stop holding it's charge and go flat.  Provided there are no other battery faults this process can be reversed using a de-sulfator. These are available from a variety of sources - I built mine from a kit - but ready made units are available and some newer  battery chargers also incorporate this technology.   It's not a quick fix but it's worth investing in in one of these gizmos rather than buying a new battery (which is often the solution recommended by breakdown engineers and garages) 
  • jocktheblockjocktheblock Forumite
    4 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    On a different subject how do I prevent my DPF filter becoming blocked if I only do short journeys to local supermarket?
  • John_John_ Forumite
    767 posts
    500 Posts Name Dropper
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    I have a couple of CTEK chargers, which I swap between my cars and bikes once per week. They seem to do a very good job of keeping them topped up. 
  • John_John_ Forumite
    767 posts
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    On a different subject how do I prevent my DPF filter becoming blocked if I only do short journeys to local supermarket?
    You can’t, really. Better to walk or cycle for now.
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