Car batteries are going flat during lockdown - here's what you need to do

AA Ireland has put up 'car care' advice on its website.

Eddie Cunningham

I'm getting several reports from people finding that their cars won't start after being left sitting for a couple of weeks due to the lockdown.

I suspect the helpful David Pimlott from Ford is hearing similar stories. He fears a major level of panic when thousands of car owners try to start their vehicles over the coming weeks.

In an effort to stave that off, he has been on to warn that there could be a surge of vehicles not starting due to lying idle for so long.

People think only older cars are affected. But it is important to know that newer vehicles are hit too because of the on-board alarm system.

Mr Pilmott says: "The smart-charging system will keep a minimum amount of charge in the battery to restart the vehicle (for CO2 reasons).

"However, the vehicle's internal alarm constantly scans the car interior which runs down the battery over time."

He revealed it happened to someone close to him recently.

The recommendation from their engineers is that you run the vehicles for "at least 10 minutes per week".

I'd say go a few minutes more - just to be sure.

He adds that AA Ireland, Ford and other distributors have put up 'car care' advice on their websites to let people know what they need to do.

"My concern is that this message will not get out to everyone and we'll end up having a 'surge' of non-starters."

So if your car has been lying idle for some time or even for a week, sit in for a few minutes and have it ticking over so it will not let you down should you need it.