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Flat batteries most common cause of winter breakdowns

Date: 13 January 2011

Following a 40 % increase in vehicles requiring replacement batteries, the RAC is warning fleet motorists of the capabilities and limitations of vehicle batteries during the cold weather.

Flat batteries have been the most common reason for RAC call-outs so far this winter with patrols fitting a third more batteries in November than anticipated. The breakdown organisation is expecting worse this month and February.

Mark Johnson, RAC parts, tools & equipment manager, said: "We are fitting hundreds more batteries than we expected for this period, and we haven't even reached the depths of winter, a time when our most common call-outs tend to be battery-related.

He added: "During September and October we worked directly with our battery supplier Bosch to ensure an additional 25,000 batteries were made available from stock."

RAC is urging fleet managers to ensure motorists are aware that prolonged cold weather can place extra strain on batteries. It has provided the following advice to help avoid downtime through flat batteries this winter:

. Ensure everything is switched off when you end your journey including lights, heater, fan, heated rear windscreen, radio etc.

. Heaters, heated screens and heated seats put high demands on the vehicle's battery so try to avoid using these types of devices any longer than necessary. High use of satellite navigation equipment and music players can also drain the battery.

. Park your vehicle in a garage where possible.

Data from the RAC shows the proportion of larger, higher output batteries it has fitted this year has grown 8% compared with small batteries. Larger and more advanced batteries are required in newer vehicles to power comfort, safety and environmental features such as heated windows and seats, ABS and stop-start engine technology.

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