Most car batteries that are in good condition will last at least two weeks without you needing to start the car and drive to recharge it. But if you don’t intend to drive your car for a while for whatever reason, you should still start it once a week to recharge the 12-volt battery.
Want to know how to avoid running out of battery if you’re not driving your car often? And what should you do if you go to drive your car and the battery dies? Read on to learn the do’s and don’ts when maintaining your car battery.
How Often Should I Start My Car if I’m Not Driving?
If you haven’t driven your car for two weeks or more, no matter how old the model, you should start it at least once a week and keep it running for 15 minutes. By doing so, you allow the alternator (or ‘dynamo’ in older models) to recharge the battery and ensure that the engine is in good condition as well.
When you do this, remember to turn off the lights (if you need to use them because it’s dark and your car doesn’t do this automatically), otherwise, the next time you go to drive you might that it is completely flat. This is known as a ‘deep discharge’ which lead-acid batteries in cars are not designed to handle. In fact, if this happens too often it can reduce battery life by up to a third.
What Should I Do if My Battery Is Flat?
Chances are that if you’ve been driving long enough, you’ve had to jump-start your car at some point.
Also known as ‘boost’, this quick-fix method starts a vehicle with a discharged/dead battery, connecting it via jump leads to another car’s battery or another power source.
Sometimes a jump can be necessary if you are out and about on the road and need to go quickly. However, a better option for long-term battery maintenance is to use a designated battery charger/maintainer while testing your car’s wattage regularly between charges.
It is important that you know how to jump-start your car if you ever find yourself in front of your car and its battery is dead. It is equally important to know what to do when you want to recharge your battery.
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to jump-starting and charging your car battery.
How to Jump-Start Your Car
When you jump-start a car, you are using external electricity to recharge the battery enough to start the engine.
For the most common way to jump-start a vehicle, you need jump leads.
Here’s a simple procedure to jump-start your car safely:
- Place the car with the working battery near the flat car so that the jumper leads reach both vehicles’ batteries, taking care to keep metal objects out of the way and getting rid of any loose clothing and jewelry that may be damaged. Can be Produces short-circuits and bad zap.
- CONNECT THE FIRST LEAD – First, make sure the car engine is off and attach the alligator clip of the red jump lead to its positive (+) terminal, and connect the other end to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery in the other car In.
- Connect the other lead – Connect the crocodile clip of the black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal of the working car battery, then connect the other end to the earthing point (a metal point on the engine block/chassis) away from the flat battery and fuel system.
- Wait a few minutes and then start the engine of the working car, let it run for one minute.
- Once this time has elapsed, start the engine of the car with the flat battery and let both cars run for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the engines of both cars and disconnect the jump leads in the reverse order of how they were connected (remove the black lead from the car with the flat battery first and the red lead from the working car.) Make sure the leaders are not touched each other in the process.
- Try starting your car again – if it doesn’t start, there is likely a more serious problem that you need to contact AA/your breakdown recovery provider about.