There’s nothing worse: it’s 8am on a cold, dark morning, the kids are in the back of the car and need dropping off at school, you’ve got an important meeting to get to at work so can’t be late, and you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens. You try again, with your fingers crossed, but the battery is definitely flat.

It’s a scenario we all dread but can often be avoided with some basic knowledge about car batteries – how to look after them and how to get going again if the worst happens.

The Life of a Car Battery

Generally, a car battery will last about six years. However, as with all things, this will depend on how it’s used. If you only use your car for lots of very short journeys, the battery won’t have the opportunity to fully recharge itself, and this can lead to it going flat. Try to take your car on a longer run every now and then.

Plugging in electronic equipment such as sat navs and mobile phones also drains the battery, especially if the car engine isn’t running, as they are directly pulling energy from the battery.

Cold weather can also affect battery performance, as many of them have an electrolyte solution in them, so try a battery cover in winter – basically a jacket for your battery.

If you have your car long enough though, the battery will eventually die no matter how well you look after it.

When it is time to replace it, a car battery supplier such as will be able to supply and fit a new battery for you.

Getting Your Flat Battery Going Again

If you have roadside assistance and the time to wait for a recovery vehicle, you can sit in your car and wait for the professionals to turn up.

If not, then you can jumpstart your vehicle, but you will need a pair of jump leads and another vehicle with a fully charged battery of similar voltage to your own. Then follow these simple steps from the RAC:

A lot of people carry jump leads in their boot all the time. If you don’t, it might be worth investing in a pair to go alongside the rest of your emergency kit.