RAC issues urgent warning for UK drivers to avoid common habits or risk flat battery breakdown

RAC issues urgent warning for UK drivers to avoid common habits or risk flat battery breakdown

Bev Turner on the state of roads in the UK

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 29/12/2023

- 08:56

'Fortunately, the flat battery blues are very easy to prevent ahead of January 2'

Drivers are being urged to check the state of their vehicles when they return to work in the near year, or they could fall victim to the “flat battery blues”.

People up and down the country have been enjoying time off work and celebrating the Christmas period with friends and family.

Many drivers may have left their car parked this week without needing to travel to work or go shopping, with the same pattern expected to happen over the coming days for the new year.

However, this could lead to huge issues when motorists get behind the wheel again after days or even weeks without driving.

Car engine check

The RAC predicts that around 28 per cent of breakdowns on January 2 will be for flat batteries


The RAC said it deals with more flat batteries on the first working day of each year than any other day, with the organisation preparing for January 2 already.

Britons may leave their cars idle for more than a week after stopping work for Christmas, causing the batteries to drain.

The RAC predicted that around 28 per cent of the breakdowns it attends on January 2 will be for flat batteries, out of a total of around 12,000.

Alice Simpson, spokesperson for the RAC, said: “Going back to work after a good Christmas break is bad enough, so the last thing any driver wants is a car that won’t start.

“Fortunately, the flat battery blues are very easy to prevent ahead of January 2.”

Drivers can reduce their chances of being affected by a flat battery by ensuring their cars are not left unused and that everything is properly switched off once they have finished their journey.

Motorists can also check their battery connections, making sure they are tight and free from corrosion.

Alice Simpson continued, saying: “We suggest drivers don’t leave their cars sitting completely idle over the holiday period and instead try to use them regularly.

“Any car that’s currently reluctant to start is a sign of a weak battery, meaning it’s more at risk of failing at the start of the new year.

“A combination of colder weather putting more strain on vehicle batteries and the greater demand on lights, heated windscreens and wipers is a recipe for a flat battery in the winter.”

This comes as new data from the RAC found that more than half of this year’s animal damage breakdowns were caused by rats.

The rodents often gnaw fuel hoses, infest engine bays and break headlights.

Patrols also reported a number of cases where foxes were able to chew through speed sensor wiring, windscreen wiper blades and brake hoses.

RAC patrol Nick Isaac said he discovered a squirrel using a car’s air filter to stockpile nuts while working in the south-west of England, adding that the car had lost power and had an “odd smell”.



Drivers are also being warned of animals causing breakdowns


He added: “When I lifted the bonnet and revved the engine, the air filter moved like it was being sucked towards the engine.

“It turned out a squirrel had been taking nuts from a bird feeder and storing them in the air box, restricting air flow to the car.”

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