Danger, high voltage! 11 percent don’t know where their car battery is

Tim Pitt
Car battery

More than one-in-10 drivers don’t know where their car’s battery is located, despite flat batteries being a leading cause of winter breakdowns.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults also found nearly a third (30 percent) have never checked their car battery, while more than half (53 percent) haven’t done so within the past five months.

This lack of battery TLC could cause problems tomorrow (2 January) as many motorists return to work – and cars left idle over the Christmas break refuse to start.

Equally, while older cars might require a straightforward jump-start (via leads connected to a healthier car, to boost the battery and start the engine), this process can overload the electronic systems of modern vehicles, leading to greater problems.

You can cause damage – or even invalidate your warranty – if you attempt a jump-start using a hybrid or electric car. If in doubt, call your breakdown service provider.

Car battery warning light

The poll, commissioned by Halfords, also reveals 42 percent of motorists don’t know how to fix their car battery if it dies. Yet many have noticed the early-warning symptoms.

In total, a third (31 percent) of drivers have heard a clicking sound when they turn the ignition key, a fifth (21 percent) have noticed their dashboard lights dimming when turning over the engine, and 13 percent have experienced the ignominy of their car backfiring.


“If your battery takes more attempts than usual to start the car, appears sluggish or the warning lights on your dashboard are illuminated, it could be a sign of imminent failure,” explains Laura Walsh from Halfords. “Using your car’s heater, lights and devices like sat-navs places greater demand on your battery. This, combined with leaving your car standing idle in the damp could result in a less than positive start to 2020, so it’s worth giving your car a quick health check.”

Many cars have a voltage gauge on the dashboard to indicate battery health. Alternatively, you can check your battery using an electrical tester. Examples are available online from less than £5.

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