It’s the last thing you need in the morning: you rush out of the house, late for work, hop in the car, turn the ignition and… nothing. The battery’s dead, and you’re going nowhere.


To avoid this nightmare (which usually starts with you hitting your fists against the steering wheel, and ends with you phoning a friend with jumper cables), here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your car’s battery.


First of all, it’s important to know that the electrolyte in your battery (even if it’s a “maintenance-free” battery) will boil off and evaporate over time. Have the levels checked regularly at your local automotive workshop, just to make sure you’re not running low.


As far as maintenance goes, check regularly (say, once a month) to make sure the battery terminals aren’t corroding. They will, over time, but if you keep them clean they’ll last a lot longer. Use water, baking soda and an old toothbrush if you feel like getting your hands dirty, or whip out your RCS Card and take the car down to an RCS Network battery repair shop every few months for a quick clean.


High temperatures are another battery killer. Luckily, that’s not a problem in the winter – but the flip-side of that is that if it’s cold and you’re cranking up the car’s heater, you’ll also put strain on the battery! Try to reduce the electrical “pull” on your battery by going easy on that thermostat.


One final note: if your battery is completely flat, don’t try to jump-start it. Jumping a dead battery can damage your car’s electronics – so rather phone a friend, get a lift to your nearest battery service centre, swipe your RCS Card, and buy a new battery. Let your car rest in your driveway while you do it.


Your RCS Card gives you access to the RCS Network of over 21 000 retailers – including South Africa’s leading automotive outlets and battery maintenance centres. Swipe your RCS Card today, and keep your car’s battery running smoothly.