Drivers’ obsession with in-car technology could leave them stranded this winter, new research suggests. A survey by Kwik Fit suggets our increasing reliance on in-car devices will put us at greater risk of having a flat battery during the winter months.
It’s a well-known fact that batteries tend to discharge more quickly in winter – adverse temperatures cause chemical reactions in a power cell to take place more slowly. This phenomenon is compounded by the fact that drivers tend to rely more heavily on devices that use a car’s battery during winter months, making it more likely those devices will run a battery completely flat at a time.
According to Kwik Fit’s research, 25 per cent of us (9.2 million) use climate control systems, 20 per cent (7 million) rely on heated wing mirrors and 11 per cent (4 million) use heated seats, with greater usage of these devices occurring during colder months. Worst still, many of us use tend to use these systems on very short journeys, which places an even greater burden on our cars as short travel times don’t give batteries sufficient time to recharge.
Cars are, to some extent, built to handle this sort of strain, but many motorists place further burden on our vehicles by connecting extra devices such as music or DVD players, sat-navs, phones and laptop chargers. According to the survey, 2.1 million (six per cent) of drivers have more than three tech devices installed in their car. 430,000 drivers have connected between four and five luxury gadgets and, incredibly, some 140,000 drivers run more than ten gadgets.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “Often people don’t realise how much of an effect the newer technologies such as climate control, heated seats and in car entertainment can have on a battery. Sometimes the latest luxury devices and gadgets that are designed to make our lives more comfortable can actually do the opposite, by seriously shortening the life of even a new battery and leaving us stuck with a car that won’t start.”
“It’s vital to remember that during the winter months, the battery has to work harder and that even switching basic heating and headlights on can add to the struggle,” he continued. ““The best thing to ensure the battery is not being too strained is to keep unnecessary devices turned off, especially when the lights and heating are also in action.”