With fuel prices and the general cost of living increasing rapidly, many drivers are looking at ways to save money and make their budgets stretch further.
A survey out this week from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 42% of Brits are looking to combat the rising cost of living by cutting back on non-essential car journeys. But says global vehicle charging specialists CTEK, few drivers will have considered how regular battery charging can also save them money, especially as making fewer and shorter journeys could be having a detrimental effect on battery health.
“There are several reasons why regular battery charging and maintenance with a reliable battery charger like the CTEK MXS 5.0 can save you money,” says Gary Brown, Aftermarket Division and Consumer Product Manager at CTEK. “Regular battery charging can extend your battery’s life by up to three times and, if your car has a ‘stop/start’ function, this may not kick in if your battery is drained. This will increase the amount of fuel you’re using, and with pump prices at an all-time high, fuel is a precious commodity that we really can’t afford to waste.
“Also, if you keep your battery in good condition, you’re less likely to find yourself stranded on the side of the road with a car that won’t start, saving you the cost and inconvenience of breakdown and recovery. And not only that, battery failure can impact your vehicle’s electronics, leading to costly repairs.”
So let’s do the math! A CTEK MXS 5.0 battery charger retails at £90 and, if you have two cars, two indicator eyelets (one for each battery, so you can simply connect your battery charger to either car) will cost £22, so you’re looking at a total investment of £112. When you consider that an EFB vehicle battery costs around £150, you can quickly see how a single battery replacement alone will cost more than the initial investment in the battery charging equipment.
A hefty bill for vehicle repairs, recovery and battery replacement is the last thing you need when you’re focused on making your household budget stretch that little but further. But regular battery charging can help keep your battery in tip top condition and avoid that unwelcome dent in your wallet.
Here is CTEK’s quick guide to maintaining battery health, to combat the rising cost of living.
1. What is draining your battery?
It takes 150-350A of battery power just to start the car, so nipping out on lots of short journeys, particularly in urban areas, drains the battery because the alternator won’t have the time or capability to replace this charge. This is especially so if your car has a ‘stop/start’ function. In fact, if you’ve noticed your ‘stop/start’ hasn’t been kicking in lately, this may be because your battery isn’t sufficiently charged, as your car will gradually turn off ‘non essential’ functions to focus the remaining battery charge on keeping the engine turning.
Even while your car is parked, your battery will lose 0.1V of energy every month and, if your car is also running an alarm system, onboard computer, remote locking etc, the continual drain on the battery will be much more than that.
2. Why is a drained battery bad news?
There is a very fine line between a fully charged battery and a dead one, and even a small drop in charge can compromise battery health, reducing its life span and making replacement necessary. A car battery is fully charged at 12.72V. Below 12.4V, sulphate crystals can build up, degrading the battery and reducing battery capacity. And below 10.4V, the battery won’t start the car at all. Battery failure can also damage or compromise a vehicle’s electronics, which could be even more costly.
3. Charging your battery
Driving around in your car will only ever charge your battery to 80% capacity so, to top it up to 100%, you’ll always need a battery charger.
4. Extending battery life with maintenance charging
Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a reliable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense.
The CTEK MXS 5.0 is an advanced microprocessor-controlled battery charger that delivers automatic charging, maintenance and reconditioning for lead acid vehicle and motorcycle batteries, from 1.2-110Ah. It includes battery diagnosis to establish whether your battery can receive and retain a charge, patented automatic desulphation program, an AGM option which maximises the performance life of most stop/start batteries and a special ‘Recond’ mode for reconditioning deeply discharged batteries. The MXS 5.0 uses CTEK’s patented float/pulse system, which is the most efficient maintenance mode when a battery is connected for long periods.