Due to the extreme and long-lasting heat waves this summer, significantly more batteries could fail now it is winter than in previous years. Even in normal years, defective 12-volt batteries are responsible for almost half of all broken-down vehicles. And that applies to both vehicles with combustion engines and modern electric cars. That’s why battery manufacturer Clarios, the company behind leading European brand VARTA, urgently advises drivers to have the condition of their low-voltage battery checked at a specialist workshop now the first cold snap is here and for workshops to be prepared with an up to date battery tester.
Despite the last few years having mild winters, the low-voltage battery has further extended its lead over other causes of breakdowns. The main reason for this was downtime due to lockdowns and home office working, where batteries lost their voltage and were not recharged. The hot days of this past summer are now added on top. The high temperatures lead to self-discharge, which ages the battery faster. This has already taken its toll on batteries this year. If battery performance then drops because of the cold and engine starts demand more from the battery, that’s too much for old or stressed batteries. Even one night of frost can be enough and the battery can no longer start the engine. And even the warmer winters in the last few years have had an average of more than 50 frosty days.
In the UK, one temperature record followed the next: In Wales, a new all-time record of 37.1 °C was set on July 18, according to the British Meteorological Service, followed by the warmest summer night in the United Kingdom to date in some areas. This was followed the next day by a new record of 40.3 °C at Coningsby military airport, the first time the 40-degree mark had been exceeded.
Dublin reached 33.1 °C on July 19, the second highest ever recorded in Ireland. However, there is considerable doubt about the reliability of the 1887 measurement, which came in at 33.3 °C.
“The car battery ages in the heat in summer and dies in winter,” advises Andy Cook, battery expert at Clarios. “Drivers should therefore routinely schedule the annual workshop check of their vehicle battery before the cold season begins, and garages should implement a test every battery routine in workshop.”
A battery test-check at a workshop will clarify how much the vehicle battery has suffered this summer and whether it can survive throughout the winter.