Drivers told to beware battery problems in cold weather

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:27th February 2023

Drivers told to beware battery problems in cold weather

Much of the UK has been hit by wet and windy weather and low temperatures this month, leading to potentially hazardous driving conditions.

As well as raising the risk of accidents and disruption on the roads, cold weather can lead to various mechanical problems that all car owners should be aware of. One of the most common issues is a flat battery, as a road safety and breakdown organisation has warned.

Battery bother

GEM Motoring Assist has advised that being aware of potential battery issues at this time of year can help you avoid getting stranded at the roadside – a particularly unpleasant experience in the middle of winter.

The company pointed out that cold weather can cause a slowdown in the chemical reactions that take place inside car batteries.

When the temperature drops to 0 degrees C, a battery loses 35 per cent of its effectiveness.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Cold weather also reduces the battery’s ability to hold its charge – meaning it’s potentially at its weakest when you’re likely to need it the most!”

If your engine fails to start but you can hear a slight noise from under the bonnet, a flat battery is the most likely cause.

Lack of any sound at all when you try to start the engine probably means a loose connection on the battery, or that it has no charge left at all.

If you have a good set of jump leads and another car owner willing to do you a favour, you can try to jump start the battery. However, it’s also possible that your car’s battery has reached the end of its lifespan and needs replacing.

“Batteries don’t last forever – in fact the average life of a battery is five years, so be ready to replace it when the time comes,” said Mr Worth.

If you want to get your car checked out for battery health and general reliability during the winter, MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can help by providing access to regular servicing and maintenance at thousands of garages nationwide.