As the UK prepares for all COVID 19 restrictions to ease this summer, the Battery Experts at VARTA says it’s vital that garages test the battery of every car coming into the workshop.
Many car owners will not have used their vehicle as regularly
or even at all during the recent lockdowns but as the UK workforce returns to their commute, and many people take to the roads for UK-based summer holidays, are Britain’s cars ready? With roadside assistance callouts recently reporting record numbers of callouts due to battery-related breakdowns, the figures suggest not. One leading roadside assistance company has said 55% of all home callouts in the last year have been due to battery problems. The lack of car usage coupled with a cold winter and spring has exasperated the issue. April was the frostiest for 60 years according to the MET Office. The cold weather results in the battery having to work harder to start the engine, and with batteries already in a weak state, it has been a challenging time for battery performance.
Andy Cook, Technical Representative at VARTA, explained: “Lots of cars have been stood still for much of the year, therefore the alternator has not had chance to re-charge the battery. This along with the cold start to 2021, has led to many batteries failing and leaving people stranded, or unable to even begin their journey.”
VARTA is therefore advising that technicians should use a battery tester to determine if the battery is in a good state of health, or needs attention. With over a third of vehicles now having a start-stop system, it’s vital that a workshop has an up-to-date tester, that can also accurately test Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) and Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB). 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 Cook continued “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 in working order, 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 summer getaways.”
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 even entry-level 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 have been highlighting as part of their ‘Back To Better’ campaign that now is the time for a workshop to implement a test-every-battery process if they haven’t before. It’s been a challenging year for batteries, there is no better time for garages to generate revenue by ensuring batteries that need replacing are done so, whilst also keeping customers happy the service they received was thorough and keeps them on the road. Andy added: “Testing batteries isn’t all about profiteering, it’s about offering great customer satisfaction and ensuring their car will start when they most need it to. This then adds to customer retention.”
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.