What is an AGM battery? What leisure battery do I need? How do I charge a battery? Why won't my car start? In the past, it was commonplace to replace a car battery yourself; you could go and buy a low priced battery, take out the old one and connect the new one; but modern batteries are more expensive and require a professional to fit them, why? We've got the answers, click the boxes below to read more.

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My car isn’t starting; do I need a new battery?

If your car isn’t starting, it doesn’t necessarily mean the battery is at fault. There may be an electrical issue causing the problem. The best thing to do is to get a professional to test the battery; it may be that the battery needs to be charged, or the battery might have started to suffer from acid stratification, in that case, you may need to replace the battery. Jump start the vehicle  and take it to a mechanic for testing. To prevent potential non starts, periodically get your battery tested.

I have a Stop-Start car, do I need a special charger?

Not necessarily. The only batteries that require a special charger are Lithium batteries. Start-Stop AGM and EFB batteries are made out of the same lead and acid as non-Start-Stop batteries and can be charged with a regular battery. However, some battery chargers do have an AGM mode which uses a slightly higher voltage which better suits AGM technology. Find out more about chargers here.

I have a Stop-Start car, why do I need an AGM or EFB Battery?

If your car turns off at traffic lights when you have it in neutral and foot of the clutch, you have a Start-Stop engine. Start-Stop engines require batteries with a higher cycle life to cope with the constant stopping and starting. Higher capacity engines (1.8l+)  will require AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries while smaller vehicles may have an EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery). If you replaced your AGM or EFB battery with a standard SLI (Starting Lighting Ignition) battery, the SLI battery will fail within weeks. You must replace like for like to ensure the replacement battery doesn’t fail prematurely.

Start-Stop engines need a battery that can very quickly recover the energy taken during engine start. An SLI battery takes around 20 minutes to recharge after an engine start, an AGM or EFB battery takes 2 minutes to recover. An SLI battery would be destroyed in a matter of weeks if it were put through the strain of stopping and starting constantly.

Why has a garage quoted me for fitting a battery?

Many people can easily locate their vehicles battery and assume that it can be unhooked and a new one put in within a few minutes. This may be true for some vehicles with SLI batteries, however, AGM and EFB batteries require recalibrating to the vehicles on board computer. In addition, many modern vehicles have full engine bays which means the battery is not so easily accessible; in some cases, the battery is located under the passenger seat, replacement can take up to an hour.

How can I prevent my battery from deteriorating in cold weather?

Many people have got into their car on a freezing Monday morning to find the car won’t turn over. What can we do to protect the battery from freezing temperatures?

  • Regular use.
  • Trickle charge.
  • Keep in a garage.
  • Add a battery fleece around the battery.

You should also get your battery tested in Autumn to ensure you’re battery is healthy and ready for the colder weather that winter brings.

What’s the difference between AGM and EFB?

Both AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) and EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) were developed for use on Start-Stop engines. AGM batteries are generally used on larger engine vehicles (1.8l+)  and EFB are used on smaller engine vehicles. If you’re replacing an AGM or EFB, you must replace like for like. Failure to replace like for like may reduce in premature failure of the replacement battery.

What’s the difference between the brands?

Ecobat Battery Technologies offer a variety of brands for distributors to stock. Many distributors and garages will offer a ‘Good, Better, Best’ range.

Best – OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) £££
Exide and Varta are fitted in many vehicles that roll of production lines. If you need to replace your battery, you may wish to replace it with the exact same brand; more often than not, you will need an Exide or Varta battery. Exide is fitted OEM on Citroen, Dacia, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo and many more. 70% of European car brands work with Exide.

OEM batteries are often the most expensive option; however, having an OEM battery fitted will give you peace of mind that the battery will last longer than a standard battery.

Better – Lucas Batteries ££
Lucas is brand that has been around for more than 140 years. The Lucas battery range is vast and covers 99% of the UK car parc. Lucas batteries are widely available throughout the UK and Europe. Lucas batteries offer a great value for money and are built to OEM specifications.

Good – Numax Batteries £
Numax is Ecobat’s own brand. The Numax range covers the most popular battery types in the UK and is the most economically priced product.

Why does my car have two batteries?

Modern vehicles like Range Rovers may require more than one battery. The first battery is a battery that is in charge of starting the vehicles, usually an AGM battery. The second battery is much smaller and is called an auxiliary battery; the job of the auxiliary battery is to power the internal electronics like lighting and electronic seating etc. The auxiliary battery is commonly found under seats or in the vehicles boot.

 

How can I find out what battery my caravan or motorhome needs?

Deciding what leisure battery you need can be confusing, especially if you’re a new owner. There are three things you need to consider before choosing the right battery for you. Firstly, what size space have you got to store your battery? Often, in camper vans the only space available is under the passenger seat. Next you need to consider how you will be using your motorhome or caravan; are you going to be mainly hooked up or will you be travelling off grid? Finally, you need to think about how many electrical devices you will need; microwaves and hairdryers are two of the biggest draws of energy. This information will give you a guideline of how cyclic your battery needs to be. Battery cycles refer to the number of discharge/recharge cycles the battery is capable of when discharged by up to 50% between recharging.

If you’re going to be hooked up to the electric provided at a site, you won’t need an overly cyclic battery. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re planning to be off grid for a few days and will only have the battery as your power source, you will need a battery with far greater cycles. You will need a more cyclic battery if you use a motor mover, they take a lot of energy from the battery.

You can use the Ecobat Leisure battery finder here.

How often do I need to charge my leisure battery?

Making sure your leisure battery is charged and maintained is essential if you want to start your trip with ease! In an ideal world, the leisure battery is removed from the motorhome or caravan and kept in a dry place on a trickle charge. The NUMAX Connect+Forget charger is the best charger to use; you connect the charger to the battery, plug it into a power source and leave it to charge and maintain your battery. However, if you aren’t able to keep your leisure battery on a trickle charge, you can follow these simple steps to ensure you give your battery the care it needs.

  1. Charge your battery after purchase and prior to each use.
  2. Apply a charge to the battery at the end of the season and remove it from the caravan or motorhome where possible.
  3. Check your caravan or motorhome for systems that draw a constant charge; this may be a tracker or alarm. You will need to counter this draw with a constant re-charge to maintain the battery.
  4. Never over discharge your battery; try to keep the voltage from dropping below 12.3v.
  5. Don’t leave your battery in a discharged state for a prolonged period.

What is the NCC Battery Scheme and why is it important?

The NCC Battery Scheme is a great way for consumers to confidently purchase a leisure battery. All NUMAX Leisure batteries are NCC registered and you will find a NCC label on the top of each battery. It’s important to note that the rating given does not represent the quality of the battery, rather the cyclic ability of the battery. If you never go off grid, you don’t need an A rated battery; a C rated battery with less cycles will be fine.

All approved batteries will have this label on them:

What kind of charger do I need for my leisure battery?

In the past it was very easy to choose your battery charger required as it was based upon 10% of your amp hour of the battery for example if you had a 100amp battery you would require at least a 10 amp charger.

However now with smart chargers they pretty much regulate charge required, always check the box as this will tell you the what amp hour the charger will maximise at. CTEK chargers are very good for the regulation process.

Always look to buy an ‘intelligent’ charger.

I’ve seen Lithium Leisure batteries advertised, are they better than regular leisure batteries?

They are very new to the market of leisure and the positives are they are very light in weight which makes them easy to move. They discharge to a much lower level than a standard battery and recharge much quicker, however, the downside is a lot of older caravans don’t have the correct charging system in place to fully charge the batteries; you will need an additional charger to do this and they are both expensive. There is still a debate on how to dispose of a lithium batteries, some companies have a charge for disposal.

I have solar panels fitted; do I still need to use a charger?

There are two types of solar panels, the first type works from sun light only and the other works from day light hours.

The day light type will keep the battery topped up if it’s fully charged (weather dependant).

The sun light type is not so much as it is weather dependant, however, in both cases it is still worth volt checking your battery and manually charging periodically when required.

Both work better in sunnier climates and, as we know, we can’t always rely on the great British weather!

Who are ECOBAT?

ECOBAT Battery Technologies, formally Manbat Ltd, has been the UK’s largest and most trusted battery supplier for decades. Opened in 1952 by Harry Pemberton in Abergele, North Wales, the company remained in the Pemberton family until 2009 when it was purchased by the ECOBAT Technologies Group.

ECOBAT is a global brand that specialise in using cutting edge technology to produce the highest quality lead and lead derivatives. ECOBAT also have a logistics division, as well as the Battery Distribution network. You can find out more about the ECOBAT Group here.

How many branches are there?

ECOBAT Battery Technologies has 27 sites across 7 countries. ECOBAT Battery Technologies is the largest independent battery distributor and distributor of stored energy products in Europe. In the U.K and Ireland, there are 17 sites; two of those sites are specialist Industrial sites. the ECOBAT Industrial sites specialise in installation, servicing and maintenance of large batteries within the material handling, airside support and cleaning sectors; you can find out more about the Industrial division here.

In the UK, you can find ECOBAT Battery Technologies branches in Glasgow, Sunderland, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Bodelwyddan, Shrewsbury (Head Office), Shefford, Rainham, Guildford, Bristol, Crumlin (NI) and Portlaoise (ROI). More details here

 

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