Common Car Battery Problems

Despite being a critical part of your car, batteries can be troublesome. Almost every motorist will experience a flat battery or car that refuses to start at some point in their lives, leaving them at best late for work, or at worst stranded at the side of the road.

Your car simply won't work with a battery. The car battery provides the power needed to run your car's electrical systems, as well as the power needed to get the car started in the first place. This is why it's surprising that some many people forget about or even neglect their car battery.

With a little bit of car battery maintenance and some TLC, you can prolong the life of your car battery and keep it in tip-top condition, saving you money and time in the long run. Here is our list of the most common car battery problems, along with some tips on how to prevent them from happening:

1. Electrical equipment being left on without the engine running

If your car's headlights don't automatically switch off when the engine stops, then be prepared to join the endless list of people who suffer from the most common flat battery problem here - forgetfulness. Leaving headlights, indicators or even an interior light on can soon run your battery completely flat, to the point where there isn't even enough juice to get the engine turning over. Before you get out of the car, check that your dashboard is completely clear of warning lights to show you that your lights are completely off and maybe give your indicators/headlight switch a quick turn on and off to make sure everything is completely switched off.

2. Cold weather

Freezing temperatures and batteries aren't the best of friends. Cold weather has a negative effect on the chemical reaction that takes place within batteries, which makes charging slower and can affect the initial reaction needed to get the engine started.

This is where a car battery charger can come in useful. Just connect your charger to your car battery and then to the wall, which will ensure your car's battery is ready to go whatever the weather. Check out our how to charge a car battery guide for more help and advice. Parking your car in a garage or somewhere warm will help too.

If your car battery ends up discharging completely, then you'll need to borrow someone else's car and perform jump start. This can be tricky if you've never done it before, so check out our how to jump start a car guide first.

3. Excessive loading

If your vehicle's 12v power supply is constant use or you regularly run things like travel DVD players or mini fridges from your car on weekends away, then you could be putting your car battery through excessive strain. Buying a powerful battery like one from our Yuasa silver range means you'll be able to use your car as a portable charging point, plus more power will be available for instant starts on cold morning.

4. Corrosion or loose connections

If your car's battery isn't connected properly, then you could be danger of not only damaging your battery, but also the car itself. Loose connectors can cause sparks, which can be particular dangerous in engine bays, so give everything a good twist and tug every now and again to make sure everything is in place as it should be.

Important safety note: Wait until your engine has cooled down and always wear gloves and safety goggles when touching anything in your car's engine bay. Remember to only touch the insulated parts of the connecting leads and avoid touching anything metal/the other connecting lead as you check for tightness.

5. Frequent short journeys/stop-start driving

Constantly turning off and then restarting your engine is an easy way to reduce its effectiveness over time. The extra strain of drawing up power to turn the engine over multiple times within a short period of time can shorten your batteries lifespan, so once your engine is on, try and leave it running as much as possible. Avoid switching your engine off at traffic lights (the fuel savings doing this are minimal).

6. Alternator problems

The alternator charges your battery whilst the engine is running. If you suspect a problem with your alternator, this probably isn't a problem you can solve at home, unless you're an experienced enthusiast or trained mechanic. Head to your local Halfords and we'll be more than happy to check if it's the alternator that's causing issues.

Car Batteries at Halfords

We stock a huge range of batteries that cover around 95% of the car park, so it's highly likely we've got just what you require. If you don't know what you need, use our handy car battery look up tool. We'll even be able to fit it for you for a low fee. It's also wise to keep a set of Jump Leads or a power pack handy in case you leave those headlights on again - take a peek at our guide to Jump Starting for more help.

Shop Car Batteries