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Battery replacement for Cars and Vans
Think you need a new battery for your car or van? Look no further; our car battery range covers all of the popular vehicle fitments and are suitable for all types of vehicles. Our extensive range includes cheap car batteries with a high specification through to premium batteries. These best value car batteries are manufactured by Platinum; innovators in technology, producing quality batteries for OE (original equipment) fitment.
Enter your vehicle registration into the battery search lookup above to find the right battery for your car or van.
With over 250 locations nationwide, and hundreds of batteries in stock locally we can supply and fit your battery at a date and time that is convenient for you.
How do I know if my car battery needs replacing?
There are a number of warning signs to look out for that signify it is time to replace your car battery, these include:
- Dashboard warning lights. If you see either the battery warning light or the engine warning light illuminated this is an indication that there is an issue and you must get the battery tested ASAP.
You may wonder why the engine warning light would come on, this is because the battery will be providing low voltage to the car’s computer system which will trigger the check engine and check battery lights to come on.
- Trouble starting the car; often as the battery ages the internal components will begin to erode and therefore become less effective. This is noticeable when you turn the key and its slow to start the engine.
- Electrical issues in the car and dimmed lights signify an issue with the battery. The battery failing will hinder its ability to power the cars electrical system.
How do I get my car battery tested?
At National, our technicians can carry out a FREE battery test which only takes a few minutes. This quick and simple health check can diagnose any underlying battery faults. The test involves checking the voltage, start capacity and condition of the battery. Pro-active car battery testing will give you the peace of mind and flag any potential faults before they become a problem.
An increasing amount of in-car technology puts extra demands on your battery, if there are issues with the car starting try turning off the heated windscreen wipers, mobile chargers, satellite navigation systems, heated seats, heated wing mirrors and any in-car entertainments systems.
If subsequently you are advised that a replacement is needed, our technicians will advise you on exactly the right type of battery for your car.
How to test a car battery?
If you have a multimeter you can test your car battery at home. When testing your car battery with a multimeter, it is important to be aware that a car battery should have no fewer than 12.6 volts. Alternatively, if you are wanting your car battery testing, pop down to your local National Tyres and Autocare branch for a FREE battery test. Our technicians will use the latest equipment to test the batteries voltage, start capacity and condition.
What we test and why:
The voltage reading should be 12.6v if lower than this the battery will need re-charging or replacing.
The battery test measures the starting ability of the battery from cold. It must maintain 7.2 volts at a low temperature and the reading will be displayed as a % of the start capacity of the battery. If the start capacity is below 75% this indicates that the battery is beginning to deteriorate and you may experience problems.
The results of a battery test will be displayed as:
- Good battery – no action required
- Good battery Recharge – battery needs re-charging, this can be done by taking the car for a 45 min journey to allow the battery to recharge.
- Recharge Battery then re-test – the battery is drained and in need of recharging, this will need to be re-tested again in 7 days’ time
- Replace battery – the battery is entering the end of its service life and a new battery is recommended.
Related: How to test a car battery?
What are leisure batteries?
Leisure batteries are used to power electrical appliances within caravans and motorhomes. They differ from car batteries as leisure batteries are designed to provide power at a steady level over an extended period whereas a car battery would provide a quick burst of energy to the car’s engine. Car batteries can be used to power caravans and motorhomes however this is only a short term solution as car batteries are not designed to release the power over an extended period. To read more about Leisure Batteries please click on the following blog article: The complete guide to Leisure Batteries.
What battery do I need for my car?
The right battery for your car will depend on the vehicles usage and increasingly the level of electrical equipment in operation. The battery size required for your car can be found in the owner’s manual. If you are unsure, simply enter your vehicle registration into the battery search tool at the top of this page.
How much does a car battery cost?
Battery prices vary depending on the type needed for your vehicle with prices starting from as little as £52.00. Our battery prices are inclusive of fitting and disposal.
For an accurate battery price, enter your vehicle registration details in the battery search tool above to find the batteries that are suitable for your vehicle.
Don’t forget that here at National we understand that motoring issues can be an unwelcome expense, therefore we offer unbeatable prices guaranteed with our price promise scheme and flexible payment options with our Payment Assist finance plans.
What is the difference between a start/stop and a regular car battery?
Battery replacement is increasingly becoming more difficult, prolonged and specialised for the installer with the staggering rate at which technology is moving.
Batteries are increasingly being manufactured for specific vehicles with over 70% of newer vehicles having Start/Stop technology.
If a vehicle has this functionality and an AGM battery fitted, then the replacement battery must be of the same technology and of no less electrical performance.
It is essential that the correct battery is fitted, failure to do this will result in the vehicle not working.
A ‘start / stop’ battery supplies the starter motor with a larger current to enable the car to re-start at the press of a pedal.
Unlike a regular battery, Start / stop battery technology sometimes referred to as micro hybrid, automatically switches off a car’s engine when the vehicle has stopped to conserve fuel helping car manufacturers cut co2 emissions.
It is important to understand that the continuous cycling feature in a start/stop car would fail if a standard battery was fitted as they are not designed to be discharged and recharged on a cycle in this way. Standard batteries are only designed to start the car. While they look very similar to standard batteries, the internal construction is different.
AGM can be replaced with AGM batteries and ECM can be replaced with either ECM or AGM batteries.
What do I do if my car battery is dead?
If you believe your car battery is dead because your car won't start a potential option is to use jump leads to connect the flat battery to another car's charged battery.
You will need to ensure that the leads are connected noting the correct polarity ( + ) and ( - ). It is imperative that you refer to the manufacturer's handbook first.
The ECU (engine control unit) in some cars could sustain damage if they are jump started, always check the manufacturer's handbook first.
Related: How to jump start a car
What are the different types of car batteries?
At National we stock four types of batteries, these are:
These traditional lead-acid batteries are an excellent choice for Start / stop vehicles. ECM (Enhanced Cycle Mat) is also known as AFB (Advanced Flooded battery) or EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery). These batteries contain liquid battery acid which coats the internal battery parts to generate a reaction. They offer lower C02 emissions and increased fuel efficiency.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) are sealed lead-acid batteries that are designed for micro-hybrid cars that have been manufactured with start / stop technology and other fuel reducing technologies such as brake energy regeneration. These batteries do not leak due to a fibreglass mat which absorbs any spilled sulphuric acid. They have an increased life, offer even lower C02 Emissions than the ECM batteries and increased fuel efficiency.
A flooded lead acid battery that can be fitted to most vehicles. These batteries contain lead plates that react with the battery acid to store electricity when charged. Inside these batteries there is an electrolyte that can leak out of the top of the battery through the caps if not stored upright. Manufactured along with OE (original equipment) batteries, the Prestige range offers calcium / calcium technology which offers a longer life, a reduction in water loss and an increased resistance to higher temperatures whilst under the bonnet. This battery is also suitable for diesel engines.
Using labyrinth technology, which enables the flow of water back into the battery to maintain a level of fluid, the prestige plus offers heavy duty performance with an extra 30% power. This battery is designed to support vehicles manufactured with additional electrical items such as satellite navigation systems, media players, DVD’s and iPods. Offering an increased shelf life, this battery is suitable for diesel engines.
How long do car batteries last?
The lifespan of your car battery will depend on a number of factors including the type of vehicle the battery is installed in, extreme weather conditions and driving habits.
Related: Battery lifespan guide
Our batteries are guaranteed for up to 5 years
All our batteries are covered by either a 3 year or 5 year guarantee depending on the type of battery you require.
- Prestige range comes with a 3 year guarantee and covers 97%+ of the European Car Parc. Although new technologies are emerging, these flooded lead acid batteries will continue to be fitted to the majority of vehicles on the road.
- Prestige Plus range comes with a 5 year guarantee and has been specifically designed to offer superior performance, exceeding O.E specifications. These batteries have an increased service life in even the most demanding conditions.
How do I dispose of an old car battery?
Car batteries should never be disposed in a household bin, not only is this dangerous due to the hazardous waste but it is also against the law to do so. Let us save you the trip to the tip to dispose of your car battery, simply pop down to your local National Tyres and Autocare who will dispose of the battery responsibly as we only use registered environmental waste carriers.
A car battery is a rechargeable automotive battery that is needed to start a motor vehicle and power the electrical components at the press of a button or the turn of a key. Without it a car simply won’t start. Once started, your car battery continues to power the electrical system within a vehicle that powers car stereos, dash cams, sat navs, phone chargers, the exterior and interior lights and all electrical items in a vehicle.
Your car battery re-charges automatically as the car drives, providing the car’s alternator and drive belt are in good condition.
Car batteries are usually located under the bonnet in the engine bay but in some cases they can be found elsewhere such as under the floor in the boot.
A car batteries main purpose is to provide an electric current. The current fuels the starting motor which starts the engine and moves the car. The battery also provides power to the vehicles electrical system which controls your dashboard, as well as plugged in electrical devices. Batteries failing are a common reason for breakdown call outs.
When starting a car, your first half-turn of the key fires up the vehicle. You may notice the lights on the dashboard illuminate, the air vents blowing and the radio come on – this is all because of your battery.
The headlights and interior lights can be switched on when the key is half turned – again this is due to your battery.
Other electrical items such as sat-navs, phone chargers and the car stereo are all able to work because of the battery supplying the power.
Car batteries work by storing a chemical form of electrical energy, then releasing it in a controlled way as a direct current.
Vehicles with start/stop technology, where the vehicle’s engine turns off when the car is stationary still utilise the battery to power the dashboard and in-car technology.
Car batteries are complex devices made up of the following:
- Terminals – these are the small posts on top of the battery marked (+) positive and (-) negative that work as the connecting points between the car’s electrical system and the battery.
- Battery acid – is a sulphuric acid and water solution used in a lead-acid battery.
- Cast on strap – these provide an electrical connection to the terminals and are welded to the top of each element.
- Negative plate – made up of spongy lead active materials and a metal grid.
- Positive plate – made up of spongy lead dioxide materials and a metal grid.
- Battery separator –the separator is a plastic membrane that provides an electrical current flow by separating the positive and negative plates.
- Battery plates – positive and negative plates stacked in an alternating pattern to create these elements. These are then fitted into individual cells in each battery.
- Case – cases are the unit that holds the plates.
- Lid – the lid attaches to the case to seal the battery to protect it.
The dimensions of a battery are important when choosing one for your vehicle. The group size refers to the dimensions of the battery including the terminals, and where the terminals are located which all needs to be considered when purchasing a battery. This information can usually be found in your manual.
All electric and hybrids that plug-in use lithium-ion batteries or nickel-metal hydride batteries.
They have a much greater energy capacity as they store energy over time.
A standard starter battery is designed to produce a high level current to start a car. Car batteries focus more on the start-up of engines, whereas Leisure Batteries are designed to focus more on durability.
A car battery voltage should be 12.6 volts or over if it is fully charged. Once a battery is less than 75% charged, reading from 12.45 or less action is needed to re-charge the battery.
If a battery voltage reading is lower pop into a local National Tyres and Autocare where the technician will carry out the necessary checks.
An alternator is commonly associated with the battery. This component convert’s the engines energy into an electrical current for the battery which in-turn powers the electrical system. So if your battery isn’t working, this is good place to investigate first.
Car batteries have two main cycles; a charge cycle which occurs when the vehicle is driving and is therefore charging the battery and a discharge cycle which occurs when the battery uses its stored energy. These are chemical reactions within a battery.
CCA is the rating given to a battery which states its ability to start a car’s engine in cold weather. This is also referred to as starting capacity.
A batteries reserve capacity (RC) refers to the time in minutes that a battery can discharge 25 amps while maintaining above 10.5 volts.
This number determines the number of amps that the battery can provide over a period of 20 hours e.g. a 100h battery will deliver 5 Amps for twenty hours.
Battery terminals are the positive (+) and negative (-) post like structures either on top of a car battery or on the sides, some batteries have both and are referred to as dual terminal. The terminals come in different sizes.
If you are needing to jump-start a car battery you will need to ensure that you connect the positive (+) terminal first as connecting the negative (-) terminal first can cause the circuit to be shorted.
Car batteries self-charge from a running engine. If a car has been sat idle for some time the battery will lose charge, this is more apparent in older batteries but additional electrical equipment such as alarms and immobilisers can contribute to the battery losing charge. A substantial amount of battery power is required to start your engine so depending on the age of the battery, it is recommended that the car is driven for around 45 minutes at 70mph to re-charge the battery to 90%+ of its fully charged state, quick trips will not be enough to charge a car battery.
When a battery is completely flat the engine wont turnover and the battery may need charging. Car battery chargers attach to the terminals of a car battery and charge it through the electrical mains. Terminals must be connected to the appropriate electrical lead, if you not sure, check your car’s handbook or get it checked by a professional in one of our branches.
Car batteries are made up of battery grids made of lead which conduct the electrical current. These structures are for the active materials to stick to. Lead oxide, sulphuric acid and water is then mixed into a paste which is applied to the grids. Powdered sulphates form and expander material which is mixed with the paste to produce negative plates. Once the plates are fully pasted with this material, they will need to be cured. This process takes place over a few days in a controlled environment with a warm temperature and humidity, this allows the paste to bind to the grids.
Once this process is complete, the grids are stacked alternately positive, negative and so on with separators in between them. The separators prevent short circuits whilst allowing a flow of electrical current. All the negative plates connect together and all the positive plates connect together which created a single 2-volt battery cell.
These cells are then inserted into the battery case. Depending on the overall battery voltage required will determine the number of 2-vole cells being placed in the battery case. These are the welded together and the lid sealed on top. The terminals are then added ensuring a tight seal to prevent acid leaking.
Sulphuric acid (electrolyte) is then added and the battery is charged for a minimum of 24 hours. The battery is then drained and a stronger acid is added then the battery is sealed.
A battery charger is a device which will force an electrical current (amps) through a flat battery. When switched on a needle on the charger will jump to the desired amps, as the battery is getting charged, the needle will move down, when it reaches around the half way point of the desired amps the battery is fully charged.
There are a number of reasons why a car battery might continue to keep going flat, the most common reasons include corroded or lose connections, excessive electrical drains and power demands on the alternator as well as charging problems.
If a car battery is not re-charging this signifies that there is a mechanical issue, most likely this is with the alternator which should be generating energy to charge the battery.
AGM stands for absorbent glass mat; this is a material composed of glass microfibers that is used as a separator in a battery. The microfibers absorb the electrolyte retaining it to prevent spillage.
We would also advise that you book in for an appointment if you think you need a new car battery. However, if you would like to know how to fit a car battery, please click on the following link: How to change a car battery.