If your car is sitting in your garage or driveway during lockdown without being used much, it’s important to take care of your battery. Ernest Simon of leading battery distributor Probe provides some handy tips for helping you preserve your battery during lockdown and beyond.
“Batteries need action to stay in good nick, and if you’re not driving your car for long periods at a time, your battery will be the first thing in your car to suffer,” says Simon. “To prevent this, start your car at least once a week and allow the engine to run for approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively, take a drive to get your essentials, which helps keep everything in good working order. It’s a good idea to put your battery on a trickle charger if you have one available and leave your car plugged into the mains while it’s not in use to maintain charge.”
Simon says it is worth investing in a good quality charger to charge your battery at least once every month. Certain chargers from Schumacher, stocked by Probe, also have a useful desulfation function.
One of the reasons your battery won’t start may be sulfation, a process whereby larger lead sulfate crystals form and deposit on the negative plates, settling in a white layer around the battery’s active material that restricts the flow of electrons. If you’ve caught it in time, reversible sulfation can often be corrected, but if you have permanent sulfation after the battery has been in a low state-of-charge for an extended period, you’ll need to buy a new battery. Simon says it’s easy to spot a build-up of large lead sulphate crystals on batteries with a Magic Eye indicator, which all Probe batteries have, as you’ll see whiteness around the eye of the battery.
If you do find yourself with a dead battery – you’ll need to jumpstart your vehicle. You can go the jumper cable route. However, Simon recommends portable power packs like the multipurpose Avanty or slimline jumpstarters like those from Schumacher, which are now powerful enough jumpstart a vehicle and are excellent to keep on hand. You no longer need to find another vehicle to give you a jumpstart - just use your fully charged power pack to boost your dead battery.
Battery life can depend on your driving conditions, habits, and the weather. Simon offers these tips to help prolong battery life.
1. Check your battery regularly: Probe batteries have a useful state-of-charge indicator (Magic Eye) which allows you to easily check the power status of your battery.
2. Clean your battery: It is surprisingly easy to clean a battery. When the engine is off, remove the clamps and clean away grease, dirt and oxidation. A dirty battery connection will weaken the charge.
3. Ensure your battery is secure: A loose battery will negatively affect your battery’s life and can damage the engine. We advise that you keep the battery tray clean and make sure the battery is correctly and securely placed. Any Probe dealer nationwide will be able to assist you.
4. Charge and recharge with good quality chargers: Good quality chargers at an appropriate size for your vehicle are not very expensive, and there are even solar chargers available. Probe stocks an excellent range from light to heavy duty vehicles from Schumacher.
5. Ensure you have the right battery for your vehicle: The Probe Battery Finder is a handy tool that ensures you’re using the right battery for your needs. For example, you may need to use Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB) if your vehicle has Start-Stop technology.
6. Go maintenance-free! It’s worth getting a sealed battery that does not require any maintenance. This can offer extended battery life. All Probe batteries are maintenance-free, as they are permanently sealed and never need water. Look out for a high performance battery, such as the Probe Performance Plus XHD battery, which offers increased grid strength and internal plate supports making it vibration resistant, extremely durable and robust.
Visit Probe Group South Africa on YouTube for more on batteries, boosters, chargers and testers.
Probe is a certified supplier to Registered Essential Service Businesses and is able to supply all emergency product needs and services to keep you operational during lockdown. Please call +27 (0) 86 111 3507 for stock requirements as well as emergency field services for our full product range. All orders can be collected at Probe branches nationwide.