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Breakdown firms set for record calls as thousands set to face car battery issues tomorrow

Motoring firms look set to deal with calls from panicked motorists suffering from frozen batteries after picking up damage over the Christmas break. Car retailer Halfords have even warned some motorists may even fry their battery control units in a desperate attempt to jump-start their vehicles.

Halfords have dubbed tomorrow as “Flat battery Thursday” as road users wake up to malfunctioning cars after they find vital tools have frozen.

According to the RAC, cold weather, frost and rain will affect chemical processes inside the battery which will reduce how much charge it can hold.

Winter weather will drastically reduce battery performance across older vehicles and these cars can go flat quickly without proper maintenance.

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A recent Halfords study revealed almost one-third of motorists have never checked their car battery at all.

READ MORE: Car garages could be charging motorists extra for repairs 

Vital car parts can seize in cold weather (Image: Getty)

Breakdown companies are expecting callouts (Image: Getty)

More than half said they hadn’t checked their battery in the past five months despite experts recommending checks at least once every two or three months.

A total of 42 percent of motorists said they didn’t know how to fix their car battery, and 11 percent said they weren’t sure where their battery was located.

Halfords warns road users of the dangers of batteries in modern vehicles. They say the control unit could be fried and rendered useless if a simple jump-start is mishandled.

Laura Walsh, spokesperson at Halfords says: “If your battery takes more attempts than usual to start the car, appears sluggish or the warning light on your dashboard are illuminated, it could be a sign of imminent failure.”

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Problems starting your vehicle is the biggest indicator of an issue followed by electrical issues such as fault lights failures or a flickering dashboard.

A Halfords survey revealed many road users have experienced symptoms of a flat battery and should have taken their cars into a garage for a check.

Almost one-third said they had experienced a clicking sound when they turn their key in the ignition; one-fifth said they have experienced dimming lights.

However, car battery damage may be avoided if motorists take some simple precautionary steps.

Ms Walsh added: “Using your car’s heater, lights and devices like sat-navs places greater demand on your battery.

“This combined with leaving your car standing idle in sub-zero temperatures could result in a less than positive start to 2020.”

According to the RAC, the worst of car battery damage can be avoided with simple maintenance over the winter months.

The recovery firm urged all motorists to switch off features like windscreen wipers and car radios before they turn off an engine.

They say this will stop your battery from unnecessary draining next time you start up your car and will save charge.

RAC experts also say road users should avoid using interior lights and make sure they do not leave phone chargers left plugged in when they are not being used.

Motorists can protect their vehicle and battery from the elements by storing their vehicle inside a garage.

However, RAC chiefs still urge road users to get their battery properly tested if a car is more than three years old.

The AA says car batteries are often replaced between every five and seven years but can be shorter based on how motorists choose to drive the car.

AA mechanics claim to have seen batteries failing after just a couple of years if a vehicle has done too many short journeys or there is a fault which is affecting the rate of charge. 

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