Heading away to recharge? Check your car battery first

DRIVING | January 2019

We Kiwis need to get into the habit of checking our car batteries more often. We found that our Roadside Rescue team responded to almost 1,300 callouts across Aotearoa over the Christmas and New Year period.

Forty-five per cent of all callouts over that period were battery related with the most common issues being:

  • Batteries being too old to keep a charge (67 callouts).
  • Batteries needing to be replaced (49 callouts).
  • Batteries needing a jump start due to lights and electronics being left on, or other electrical issues (454 callouts).

When so many of us are travelling around the country for day trips to the beach or campsites, the state of the car is usually the last on the priority list, or not on the list at all.

Batteries can have issues for many different reasons, it might be that it’s too old or drained due to GPS or other electronics using the charge - or the good old lights were left on.

The good thing is that most batteries carry warranties of up to three years so take advantage of this and get a check-up or a new one fitted before hitting the road.

It’s also good to check if you have a compliant spare tyre in the boot which is inflated to the recommended level - make sure all lights and electrics are off when you’re not using the car to avoid draining the battery. The most common callouts relating to tyres include:

  • 57 call outs for help with tyre punctures, blow outs or damage.
  • 87 drivers needing assistance to replace a tyre or change their tyre for the spare.
  • 6 unlucky drivers had two flat tyres at once.

Broken cambelts, overheated or flooded engines, faulty ignition switches, locked steering wheels and 100 pairs of keys being accidentally locked inside vehicles were some of the other reasons our roadside rescue teams were kept busy over the break.

Safe and happy traveling!