• There was a 30% rise in flat batteries during first lockdown
• Lockdown combined with cold snap could see cars used less regularly
• Drivers urged to turn their engine over to keep their car in good condition
With England back in lockdown and a spate of cold weather expected, new data from LV= Britannia Rescue today reveals that a lack of driving could lead to a huge rise in people reporting flat batteries in the next few weeks.
During the last lockdown period (mid March to early July) battery related breakdowns were up almost 30% compared to the same period in 2019. By the end of April 2020, home call-outs - people breaking down at home or within a quarter of a mile – averaged 63% of all breakdowns, compared to 37% in the previous weeks.
Breakdowns relating to batteries are normally very common at this time of year anyway – in 2019 there were 38% more in November and December compared to the non-winter months of April to October. The combination of the cold weather at this time of year and people not using their cars as much because of the new lockdown mean battery related breakdowns could see a substantial spike in the coming weeks.
Henry Topham, Managing Director of LV= Britannia Rescue, commented:“Suffering a flat battery can happen to any car, particularly at this time of year, but it usually happens when it hasn’t been driven for a period of time, or only gone on short journeys when the battery and engine haven’t warmed up sufficiently.
“The introduction of a second lockdown, and the combination of cold days and dark afternoons and evenings, means lots of cars may end up sitting on the street or the drive for large parts of the next month. You don’t want to be in a situation where you urgently need to get somewhere and the car won’t start, so it’s really important to keep an eye on your vehicle and try to keep it ticking over.”
There are various ways to make sure your car stays in shape while it’s being used less often:
1. Charge your battery – keep an eye on your battery and if it’s running down, give it a charge. If your battery keeps going flat, you may want to consider replacing it or getting it checked – especially if you’re using your car for essential work during these challenging times.
2. Turn your engine over – essential trips such as food shopping, collecting medicine or going to work can be used to run your car over. Even if it’s a quick drive to the shops, any trip can help in maintaining good engine performance. If you’re not going out, you can keep battery issues at bay by turning the engine over until your vehicle is up to working temperature, while stationary in a parking space or on your drive. If you do this and notice any engine warning lights come on, make sure you take it to a nearby garage.
3. Check your car and tyres – make sure your lights, rear reflectors and both indicators are clean and working and that no lenses are cracked. Regularly checking your tyres is always important, no matter how often you use your car or how far you drive. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre and around its circumference. However, you should replace your tyres well before they get to the legal standard.
Drivers can get breakdown cover with LV= Britannia Rescue for as little as £30 a year. There are five levels of cover to choose from, so you only pay for what you need. LV= Britannia Rescue has 4,000 breakdown professionals and an average response time of just 46 minutes.
For more information visit https://www.lv.com/breakdown-cover.
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