Car batteries are one of those things people have a hard time understanding. They can be expensive to replace, so you want to look after them as best you can. Get the most from your car batteries by knowing how to treat them!

Why does my battery die when I leave the lights on, but I can drive for hours and everything is ok?

This is something that confuses a lot of people, and many don’t want to ask because they don’t want to appear dumb. Basically the battery is used to start the car, not to actually run it. Once the car has started, the engine starts burning petrol and powers the alternator. It’s the alternator that provides electricity to the lights, not the battery. So as long as the car is running, car batteries don’t really do much. It’s only when the car is sitting and you leave the lights on, that’s when the battery is working, and that’s why it will drain if you leave it sitting for a short time.

My battery went flat and I jump started it- it’s ok now, right? 

Meh. Probably not. Just driving about after jump-starting your car won’t make your battery charge up again. You need to take it to a professional and have it charged up properly. With a little luck you should bring it back to full life and have no more problems with it.

Can my battery affect my mileage?

Absolutely, yes. If your car battery is running flat, then the alternator will have to work harder to compensate for it. The harder it works, means the more the engine has to work to power it, and the harder the engine works the more fuel you use.

Will my battery drain if I don’t use my car at all?

Another yes!. Car batteries will last a few weeks, and if your car is sitting in a garage, or even worse, outside, for long periods of time, the battery will eventually go flat. Car batteries lose charge because even if the car is switch off, they still keep the vehicle’s electrical system going. This small amount adds up over time, eventually draining the battery.