Even we fall foul of winter's bite. Imagine our dismay, on the first freezing Monday morning of November, when we hopped into our Nissan Micra runabout only to find that the battery was as flat as a pancake. Granted, it's a few years old now (8 years and I hadnt used it in a year), but it reminds us that winter preparation is essential for your car. Red faces all round. 

The most common reason for calling out the breakdown truck is battery fault, causing more than half a million calls to the AA each year. Winter weather is especially tough on vehicles; with rainy nights drawing in, headlights and wipers get more use. Heated seats, de-misting, blowers on full and phones/tablets on charge are an extra strain and falling temperatures can mean many batteries don't recharge as quickly as you're driving. 
Some tips to keep you motoring this season: 
    Get your battery tested – older batteries are more likely to develop problems in cold weather. Check connections and clamps are secure and look for any signs of corrosion. Make sure to top up your battery water if levels are low – always use distilled water as the high mineral content in tap or regular bottled water can cause problems. 

    If your battery shows any signs of struggling and/or it is more than 4 years old, get it replaced. Many breakdown cover plans include free fitting if you're not confident doing it yourself. 

    Switch off before you get out – make sure all lights, wipers, heater and phone chargers are disconnected before you leave your vehicle; preventing extra load on the battery next time you turn your ignition and that nothing is draining your battery while you're parked up. 
    Park in a garage whenever possible – less exposure to the elements. 

If you're mostly driving short distances or leave your vehicle standing for days at a time, consider investing in a battery charger – prolonging battery life, particularly in harsh temperatures.

Our service teams are always on hand to offer free advice. Feel free to pick up the phone or pop in
Our experience is a lesson learned, and we were back on the road in 20 minutes. But don't let a flat battery spoil your day.