Do you need to "run the car"

(60 Posts)
copernicium Wed 13-Jan-21 13:40:53

It's just occurred to me that I haven't driven my car since before the New Year. When I started driving, you'd always be told to give the engine a run every week or whatever...

Is this still a thing with new cars? Will it be dead if I don't take it out soon?

OP’s posts: |
StopMakingATitOfUrselfNPissOff Wed 13-Jan-21 13:52:12

Last lockdown a car that was due to be mine sat for 3 months and the battery went flat

BobbinThreadbare123 Wed 13-Jan-21 13:57:39

www.theaa.com/driving-advice/laying-up
Advice from the AA. You do need to run them to keep the battery topped up.

Clymene Wed 13-Jan-21 13:58:44

Keeps the battery topped up and everything going. It also stops uneven pressure on the tyres

WhoWants2Know Wed 13-Jan-21 13:58:57

I was wondering this too, as you generally need to run the battery for 20 minutes or so to build the charge back up. Apparently you can get trickle chargers that help maintain the battery. Also make sure dash cams, etc are unplugged

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 13-Jan-21 13:59:46

My battery is flat for the fifth time in a year. It’s an ancient banger and I hate driving it. Hate driving all together. Thank god for breakdown with home recovery as it’s been too dead to jump start a couple of times.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 13-Jan-21 14:00:55

WhoWants2Know

I was wondering this too, as you generally need to run the battery for 20 minutes or so to build the charge back up. Apparently you can get trickle chargers that help maintain the battery. Also make sure dash cams, etc are unplugged

Trickle charger?! That sounds excellent. I’ll look it up but care to share more? Do you have one? Do I need one if I only drive when I absolutely have to?

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HerNameIsIncontinentiaButtocks Wed 13-Jan-21 14:01:08

Unless you have a trickle charger hooked up or disconnect the battery then your battery will go flat eventually. Likely sooner on a modern car with all the additional tech inside it.

Do take it out for a drive yes, but it needs to be a serious run to get the battery charged more than you used by starting the car, and to get the engine fully up to temperature and oil all spread around inside, or you can be doing more harm than good.

If you have aircon, that should be run weekly for 15 minutes to prevent unpleasantness in the moisture-removal area (not a euphemism!), that is long enough to get a bit of charge in so take the car out for at least that long.

None of this is absolutely essential. I've left mine for two months or more before and not had any trouble starting, but on the other hand now the aircon smells fusty so I really should have done more...

DustyMaiden Wed 13-Jan-21 14:02:01

Yes and you should not leave it sitting on the same part of the tyre permanently.

BobbinThreadbare123 Wed 13-Jan-21 14:04:41

Also bear in mind that it is pretty cold at the moment, which does affect batteries because of the electrolyte solution responding to temperature.
If the battery keeps conking out, if might need replacing (they last an average of 4 years).

copernicium Wed 13-Jan-21 14:05:24

Oh wow. Thank you. In my head it was an old problem for old cars, good point that newer cars have more "stuff". With no lockdown, I would easily do this a good few times a week but I can't see a need for the foreseeable future.

OP’s posts: |
Vicliz24 Wed 13-Jan-21 14:06:11

I take mine out every week for half an hour . In cold weather the battery can run flat very quickly

WhoWants2Know Wed 13-Jan-21 14:06:19

A trickle charger is around £25-30, usually. It attaches to the car battery terminals and the other end can plug into the mains. It keeps the battery in good condition.

(In the states, some cars in cold areas have them built into the cars because it's so cold that the battery will freeze over if it's not plugged in)

JimmyTheBrave Wed 13-Jan-21 14:18:24

I've been using my car for maybe half an hour a week recently and after a couple of trips out with the engine turning over for a bit before starting the battery went flat on the third trip.

UltimateIrritant Wed 13-Jan-21 14:20:37

I have put my mums car on a trickle charger as it's used so rarely and she was having the same problem with batteries going dead. DH has his motorbike on a trickle charger too as that doesn't get used much in the winter. Def a god send at moment

JustAnotherUserinParadise Wed 13-Jan-21 14:21:23

In the first lockdown I didn't run mine for about 3 months as I'd SORNed it - it went totally flat and wouldn't start. Had to buy a trickle charger, and after charging for about 2 days it was fine!

tatutata Wed 13-Jan-21 14:21:59

Yeah we try to take a drive to somewhere to walk once a week for this reason.

toomuchfaster Wed 13-Jan-21 14:22:46

Just check your insurance as some companies won't cover a trip 'to charge the battery' and if you have an accident you may not be covered if not essential travel.

Pumpkinstace Wed 13-Jan-21 14:25:52

I took my car off the road and when I went to sell it 3 months later I was really shocked when it started fine. I was expecting a dead battery.

murbblurb Wed 13-Jan-21 15:05:25

newer cars do indeed have more gadgets (along with lots of other design disasters) and so you should not expect them to be as resilient.

battery chargers aren't expensive and every car owner should have one. Along with a foot pump and a tyre gauge, unless you have crappy run flats in which case you are also fairly screwed.

GiantKitten Wed 13-Jan-21 15:15:55

My car is old (04 plate) but with newish battery. It tends to be parked 2-3 weeks at a time at the moment but even in the very cold weather we’ve had here it’s started first time each time.

I always take it on a decent length run though - 10+ miles each way, enough to get properly warmed up, & without too many electrical things turned on!

Frollocks Wed 13-Jan-21 15:17:02

Mine has barely done 150 miles in 9 months and have had to buy a charger to top up the battery. Newish battery, only 18 months old but gone dead. Plus there's green mould growing on the car since it hasn't been washed/used for ages.

GiantKitten Wed 13-Jan-21 15:21:30

WhoWants2Know

A trickle charger is around £25-30, usually. It attaches to the car battery terminals and the other end can plug into the mains. It keeps the battery in good condition.

(In the states, some cars in cold areas have them built into the cars because it's so cold that the battery will freeze over if it's not plugged in)

They also have (or used to have...) sump warmers, so the engine doesn’t seize up due to oil too thick to circulate. (We lived in MInnesota one winter - our apt block had basement parking but we knew people who had to park outside)

GlowingOrb Wed 13-Jan-21 15:26:43

20 years ago I lived in a spot where I didn’t use my car that often. It was about 10 years old , so I guess that translates to a 1990 car in 2000. I found I had to drive it once a week or the battery would go dead.

DH has a classic car now, from 1963. He keeps it on a trickle charger so the battery doesn’t die.

JohnMcCainsDeathStare Wed 13-Jan-21 15:28:47

We run ours every 2 weeks - it's in a garage. Plus we use this as a trip to get large, bulky items like washing powder or large quantities of drinks.

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