When leaving a vehicle standing for a period of time, you may be surprised to find it won’t start when you eventually come back to it. This is more than likely a flat battery.

Simply put, driving maintains the battery’s charge and not driving allows the charge to drain. This happens quickest on modern vehicles with computers, alarms and gadgets that will be using a small amount of power all the time.

If you know a car won’t be used for some time, it’s worth having a charger available to keep the charge topped up. You could also disconnect the battery (if you are confident doing so and dealing with any issues that being disconnected might bring.) If you have multiple vehicles (or nice neighbours) a set of jump leads may also be useful.

Simply starting the car on the drive every few days for a couple of minutes may not help much and could actually be worse than not driving! Power is needed to start the car so a short burst is using up valuable charge that’s not being regenerated.

If you can’t go out for a drive but want to run the car, it should be left for long enough for the engine to get up to full running temperature.

Multi-vehicle households should also aim to alternate which vehicle they take out for their essential trips, where possible, so that they all get a turn at running properly.

DISCLAIMER: This is one of our basic tips for helping to keep you safe on the roads between MOT tests. The nature of vehicle wear and tear means we cannot cover every possible situation and tips should not be considered complete and definitive advice. If in doubt, ask a mechanic to check your vehicle.

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