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Install like-for-like batteries to avoid breakdowns and maintain vehicle value

As the colder, winter months draw nearer and the cost-of-living crisis in the UK continues due to soaring energy costs and rising inflation, VARTA the Battery Experts advise workshops not to cut corners when it comes to battery replacements. “There is a temptation for some technicians to take the ‘easy route’ and install a cheaper, standard flooded battery in their customer’s start-stop vehicles” says Andy Cook, Technical Trainer at VARTA. “It seems like an easier sell / message to deliver to the driver, but it’s absolutely not the right approach – it will end up costing them more in the long-run”.

Standard flooded or SLI (Starter, Lights, Ignition) batteries are traditional types made for and fitted to older vehicle types, ones with no start-stop system and with fewer electrical consumers on board. They are not suitable for modern vehicles with fuel saving functions like start-stop on the car. Even entry-level models don’t come without a start-stop system these days, SLI batteries will not last long if incorrectly installed in these vehicles. “It is vital, that if a vehicle has start-stop functionality, either an EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) or AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) is fitted; trying to get away with a SLI will result in short battery lifespan and could even lead to features on the car not working properly” continues Andy.

In fact, as reported by GiPA the second-hand vehicle market is strong at present, with cars already in the market maintaining higher-than-usual values, as new car sales slumped during 2021/22, due to the chip shortage and economic downturn. “With vehicles in the 3-7 year old segment remaining a valuable asset, why would you want to effectively de-value it by fitting the wrong parts, thus leading to problems” stated Cook. “When it comes to re-sell value, you’re potentially worse off if you fitted the wrong technology, instead of maximising your return on investment by installing the correct battery type.”

VARTA always recommend fitting like-for-like, or like-for-better when it comes to technology – if you take an AGM off the vehicle, replace with an AGM. “When I talk to customers I always say replace with the same technology and if you can, fit the same brand; if you see VARTA as the original equipment, why not ensure it’s the exact same; then you know the vehicle will work like new. I understand that everyone is being cautious of spending at the moment, I really do think it’s wise to invest in your car maintenance, to fit the best available replacement parts – this helps avoid any potential break-downs or lowering the re-sale value of your car” said Andy.

Test Every Battery

VARTA also recommend technicians test every car’s battery coming into the garage. With over half of vehicles on the road now having a start-stop system, it’s vital that a workshop has an up-to-date tester, that can also accurately test AGM and EFB Batteries. If it’s an older tester that doesn’t have the capabilities to test AGM or EFB batteries, then it’s worth upgrading the tester; otherwise the test results will likely be inaccurate.

Andy highlights “it shouldn’t take long to complete a battery test, not much longer than 5 minutes, but by explaining the results to the customer, you are giving them peace of mind that the battery is operating properly, or advising that it might be time for a replacement. By doing this you’re ensuring they have a functioning battery and will be ready for upcoming journeys.”

Batteries face greater demands than ever before, as they have to serve increasingly complex and power-hungry car electronics. Whereas digital dashboards, inbuilt screens and parking cameras used to be limited to high-end vehicles, they are now commonplace on most models, all placing additional strain on the battery. Andy commented “Many drivers are also plugging in their mobile devices to charge them whilst on-the-move, again drawing power from the vehicle. This is why it’s paramount to ensure the battery is in a condition to support all the comfort and safety features; it’s the heart of the car.”

VARTA Partner Portal

The VARTA Partner Portal provides assistance to technicians; the industry leading online platform uses Original Equipment information to help identify the correct battery for every vehicle, and also includes step-by-step fitting instructions.

Access to the VARTA Partner Portal is available via all internet-enabled devices: after a quick one-off registration, each workshop employee has FREE and unlimited access, so you can ensure the correct battery is recommended and installed in the quickest time possible.

About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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