posted 5 years ago

Millions Of Motorists Risk Battery Failure

Kwik Fit Reveals Battery Survey Results

Kwik Fit has claimed that millions of motorists could be stranded by battery failure this winter. Why? Because in the last year 7.1 million had a battery problem but only 4.1 million bought a replacement (that was correct in some cases). Furthermore, 44% have never had their power cell checked by a mechanic and 24% do not know how old their battery is. That is concerning, as age is one of the most common reasons batteries fail – and such problems account for a large percentage of breakdowns. The age of a battery can typically be found by searching through the vehicle's service history.

Kwik Fit Boss Discusses Flat Batteries

Roger Griggs, Kwik Fit Director of Communications, said: “A car’s battery strength is ultimately determined by the amount of work it is doing. With the ever increasing levels of in-car technology in recent years - such as air conditioning, digital stereo systems and satellite navigation – car batteries are under more strain than ever before. Weak batteries could leave drivers stranded or damage the car significantly, leaving people in either a dangerous situation or with a significantly more expensive repair charge than is necessary.” Mr Griggs added: “It is imperative drivers maintain a good healthy battery if they are to avoid becoming a roadside breakdown statistic and at Kwik Fit no appointment is necessary to come in and have your battery checked. We urge all motorists to ensure their vehicle is in the safest possible running condition at all times.”

Car Battery Problems , Symptoms And Solutions

Winter is the toughest time for a battery as the low temperatures ensure that more current is required to start the engine. There are two common types of failure. Naturally, the first is that it lacks charge whereby the typically symptoms include the engine spinning but not firing, or not spinning at all. With either scenario secondary systems may continue to function. A flat battery can be caused by to many stop/starts in a short time that prevents the alternator adequately recharging the power cell. In this situation, a jump-start followed by a longish drive should solve the problem both short and long term (assuming the battery is in good condition). Another common fault is a short-circuit that – as the motorist tries to start the engine – can sometimes be identified via a consistent ticking sound. Typically, a replacement battery is the only viable long-term fix.

I am confused I bought a Ring RCB312 to use with my motorhome Peugot Boxer 2000 and my Kia Picanto, as I don't always use them. Batteries don't stay charged like they did. AA man said I mustn't use that recharger with the Kia or it would destroy some electronics in the car and it would cost me 3 figures to repair. Is that true? Do we really need to use a battery at least fortnightly now? can people advise me please

Ridiculous, purely an advert for quick fit. I had a free battery check and was advised to replace it. Lasted 3 more years, and still going strong when I sold the car. I have one bit of useful advice, if you jump start your car, unplug the leads straight away. Leaving them connected can cause a fault in the alternator, that slowly drains the battery when parked. Many cars have this fault but you don't notice unless you don't use your car for a few days. You find out at the airport after a long flight.

Absolute terrible advice relying on alternator to charge battery. Its simple fit a good quality manufacturers branded battery and yes sound advice for short journey / or stop start drivers an external charge twice a year will 100% prolong battery life.

I wish people would get their facts straight before writing stuff like that above. The car alternator is not designed to recharge the car battery but it is designed to supply the current for the vehicle electrics and a young and healthy battery with a relatively low internal impedance will recharge to a certain extent as a by-product. The car alternator is designed to maintain a fully charged battery and driving with a flat or a faulty battery could damage the alternator. For most people, most of the time the existing system works well enough but as the battery ages and the internal impedance rises recharging takes longer and a periodic discharged battery is the inevitable result. For those car owners who don't wish to change the battery unnecessarily it is still a job for the owner and user of a means to check the battery state of charge and to recharge it if is needed. If a battery is left in a discharged or semi-discharged state for just a few weeks it will be permanently damaged as cell sulphation sets in and accelerates, reducing both the battery capacity and the terminal voltage. Batteries don't like vibration, don't like being tilted or knocked about and sometimes carelessness can make them explode like a hand grenade so always observe the safety precautions. Batteries can last years longer if they are cared for; maintenance can be planned, breakdowns can't!

Oh dear Mr Turvil! If the engine is spinning but not firing it's a fault in the ignition system,not a battery fault.The ticking sound you refer to is the solenoid trying unsuccessfully to cause the starter motor rotor to engage with the starter ring on the fly wheel.That's because the battery is already 'flat',not just getting that way.Please stop scare mongering to boast battery sales,but by all means offer energy saving advice to the millions who do not seem to have a clue.Based on accurate facts of course.

Ref the last comment - whilst the average life is 6 years, there are always 'outliers' ie batteries that last far longer (and far less time).This is down to the quality and spec of the original battery, driving style, maintenance, and good or bad luck as well.If a battery is very deeply discharged, the chemical reactions that have taken place within the battery may be impossible to reverse by driving (and using just the alternator to charge). Your best best to prolong battery life is to buy a decent clip on in car charger, and to recharge the battery a couple of times a year - before it gets critically discharged. Aftermarket battery suppliers won't thank you for this tip - but it works,

Driving around just to charge the battery is an expensive way to do it. What's wrong with a battery charger, assuming the car is not parked on the street. There is a PV panel charger available, but it can only work if the socket inside the car is not disconnected when the ignition switch is in the off position. I have just changed the battery on my Honda for the first time since the car was bought new in 1998.

The average life of an originally fitted (OE) battery in the UK is around 6 years, but can be significantly shortened by a lot of stop start driving especially with accessories all powered up. This loss of performance happens gradually, but eventually becomes critical. Whatever your opinion of Kwik Fit, the advice is sound - a lot of cold weather breakdowns could be avoided by pre emptively fitting a (good ie matching OE spec) battery before it fails and leaves you in the lurch on a freezing morning. On the continent, where winters are harsher, pre emptive battery replacement is the norm.

Lot of tosh talked about batteries. Battery on my BMW 5 series replaced with a fiesta battery 18 months ago, no problem. when you buy a new battery, check the date stamp! Might of been sat on the shelf all summer and as we all know, battery life starts as soon as the acid is added.

Don`t go near Kwik Fit RIP OFF MERCHANTS!

I have always been amazed at the autumn fear stories about car batteries. Keep terminals clean, dont use headlights when engine off, avoid only short runs of less than five minutes and battery will last. My last car had battery checked at 60% and no discernable problems afer 12 years!

some truth in what they are saying.but shop around they will all price match.PS buy quality top of range battery

Before going to Kwik-Fit Go and have the RAC check your battery. you will then know if Kwik-Fit tells you the truth or not. I have read that they are the only one's to pay their staff commission on spares sold, this would include batteries I assume. Be a little wary always get a second opinion.

Yeah kiwk fit would never charge you for work that didn't need doing- stop the scare stories

Batteries can live a lot longer when looked after. 1. Keep it charged. 2. Have a look for signs of electrolyte leakage or poorly attached cables. 3. Have the occasional long drive. 4. Check it more often in the winter, and try to keep the car warm.

Is there no way of checking the battery level oneself? Surely there is some gadget todo this?

Cool bit of writing. Nicely worded, and good comments too. I'd better get myself ready to be on stage, don't want to keep my fans waiting.

Great bit of writing. Interesting read too.

I purchased my car, a Jaguar XJ6 TDVi in 2008, with the original battery as fitted beneath the floor of the boot. Since when I have never had to check it. This is still perfectly serviceable. How long is a car battery supposed to last in 20103?

Typical scare-mongering rubbish!

Although some companies will miss-advise to get a sale it goes with out doubt the cold takes its toll on batteries. I have two cars and a bike which always need to start and run them to keep charge. knackered cells do happen and a drop test by any decent garage can tell you how efficient your battery is. I have trickle charger for the bike and although its not the best method my bike starts first time. Alarms don't help either and only cause the battery to drain quicker.

Blatant advertisement and cynical exploitation of less mechanically savvy drivers. Shame!

Telling the public they need an expensive repair/replacement is not acceptable salesmanship. It is dishonest, a con and close to criminal. Rather than being encouraged to use such tactics as many sales are, they should be liable to dismissal and their managers too. Half truths, spin and lies are permiating our culture sadly.

Re connecting positive terminal first - This is just a commonsense practical method. If you connect -ve first, when you connect +ve, the spanner can slip and touch the car's body causing a short. If you connect +ve first this cant happen.

I once had tyres fitted by kwik fit and they told me that i had a faulty battery that needed replacing as it wouldn't last the winter. Guess what? SEVEN years and 120000 miles later i replaced the car and the same battery was still going strong showing no signs of failure. Nothing better than a kwik fit fitter...yeah right

Kwik Fit (like many others) try to encourage new customers to visit them. However! They did tell me I needed 2 rear shock absorbers when I didn't. After 2 independent M-O-T's. I still have same shockers working fine. Just had 4 month old tyres rebalanced!

My thanks to Ray & also Rab for the helpful advice, but can anybody tell me why some manufacturers, like BMW for instance, insist that you should connect the positive terminals first?

Let me be even more prescriptive re connecting for jump starting. Never ever connect both batteries terminal to terminal Sparks will always occur where different battery votages are concerned and the risk of battery explosion is a real one, even if you can get away with it for hundreds of times - it is most likely if the dead battery has a dead cell and the others have been gassing - more likely with a flooded lead acid battery than a more modern sealed for life type such as gel mat. One should always connect the jump leads to the good battery first. Simple reason; if you are unfortunate enought to drop the connector onto the disabled vehicle there is less risk of sparks or burning. The ignitions on both cars should ideally be in the off position while connecting, although the live battery may not necessarily be connected to a vehicle at all and could even be a starter/charger unit. RAB

Re David Phillips" question, in my experience of jump starting hundreds of stranded motorists, provided the basic safety rules of connecting two batteries to each other i.e.. Negative(black) to negative first, then Positive(red) to positive, before starting the host vehicle, then as the batteries are in parallel, the combined voltage is still 12V, so no damage should be sustained in either vehicle. The moment of disconnection can be hazardous if both vehicle engines are still running, as a spark may be created between the jump lead clamp and the battery post. This may cause a damaging surge, so it may be advisable to stop the engine of the rescue vehicle before disconnecting the first(red) jump lead. Hope this helps.

Sorry Stephen, the ticking sound when trying to start with a low battery is NOT a short circuit. It is battery drain caused by the heavy current drawn by the starter dropping the voltage down to a point where the starter solenoid releases, as soon as it does the voltage rises and pulls the solenoid in again. If it was a short circuit there would be smoke and possibly a car fire that has nothing to t do with a weak battery.

The battery in my Citroen Picasso is 9 years and 6 months old. It continues to turn the engine over at high speed and each year I've expected to need to replace it.

With all the technology that is fitted to modern cars, to avoid affecting any stored data settings, or shorting out any on-board software,are then any general guidance rules to follow if you need to jump start your battery?