How much does it cost to charge your car battery?

With fuel prices and the general cost of living increasing rapidly, many drivers are looking at ways to save money and make their budgets stretch further.  CTEK, the leading global brand in vehicle charging solutions has revealed that one of the most frequently questions is “how much does it cost to charge my car battery?”

CTEK calculates that, when using a CTEK CS ONE battery charger, and based on a typical electricity cost in the UK of 36 pence per kWh1, it only costs about 19 pence to get an almost flat 12V, 75Ah battery fully charged (assuming battery power efficiency of 85%2 and charger efficiency of 85%).

So that means that you can charge your car battery for an equivalent cost as watching television for 5 hours, or for less than it would cost you to cook dinner in an electric oven for an hour (68 pence), playing on a games console for three hours (30 pence) or running two loads of laundry through a washing machine (61 pence)!3

The precise costs to change your car battery will of course vary, based on how much you’re paying for your electricity and other considerations such as the size of the battery and the overall health of it. The minimal effort needed to maintain your battery on a consistent basis will not only save you the annoyance of a car breakdown, it could also save you money in the longer term.

Regular battery charging can extend your battery’s life by up to three times and, if your car has technology such as a ‘stop/start’ function, this may not kick in if your battery is drained. This will increase the amount of fuel you’re using, and with pump prices still high, fuel is a precious commodity that we really can’t afford to waste.

Even a minor change in the level of charge can affect battery health, decrease its longevity and make a costly replacement battery essential. Battery failure can damage your vehicle’s sensitive electronics, leading to expensive repairs, as well as causing lasting damage to your battery, and if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a flat battery, you’ll have the cost and inconvenience of breakdown and recovery to deal with.

Consistent battery charging can actually increase your battery’s life, saving you money on battery replacement. Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a reliable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense.

Beware the dangers of jump starting

If you find yourself with a flat battery, you may be tempted to jump start your car from another vehicle, using jump leads, or from a battery booster pack.

But while this may get you going again, did you know that jump starting can damage your vehicle’s sensitive electronics, leading to expensive repairs, as well as causing lasting damage to your battery?

Today’s modern vehicles have more than 200 mini computers or ECUs (electronic control units) performing a range of tasks from engine management to controlling air conditioning, lights and parking sensors. These computer systems have a sensitive level of around 16 volts, but jump starting the lead acid battery on your car causes a surge of power of up to 20 volts – rather like hitting your car’s electrical system with a lightning bolt – and this sudden spike in voltage can quite easily blow one of these ECUs. And with replacement ECUs costing hundreds of pounds, this is a risk you really don’t want to be taking!

What happens when you jump start a car?

When you jump start a car, the battery booster pack – or, if you are using jump leads, the battery on the connected vehicle – acts as a power reservoir to get the engine started, temporarily bypassing the drained battery. Then, once the engine is running and you disconnect the booster pack or jump leads, the alternator suddenly sees an empty battery and instantly reacts by opening the floodgates to refill it. This massive rise in current creates a spike in voltage, and this is what can cause the damage.

Jump starting a car can damage your battery too, as the alternator is pumping in current at a higher rate than the battery can handle. This causes the battery to heat up, bending the battery plates, leading to the shedding of active material (lead dioxide) and causing a buildup of debris in the bottom of the battery. This damage will reduce the efficiency of your battery and dramatically reduce its lifespan, making earlier replacement necessary.

Safe starting with CS FREE

But you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a safe way to get your car started safely if you find yourself with a flat battery. CTEK’s fully portable CS FREE uses patented adaptive boost technology to get you going again in around 15 minutes.

This is completely safe for your vehicle’s electronics, because the CS FREE gently refills the battery with charge and will let you know when it’s safe to start the car. Then, when the CS FREE is disconnected, the battery is already half full, so the alternator only raises charge slightly, and within safe limits, to top up the battery.

The CS FREE is actually four great products in one portable unit. As well as being an adaptive booster, CS FREE also works as a battery charger, a smart maintainer and high tech power bank. And if you use the CS FREE to maintenance charge your battery on a regular basis, you can actually extend battery life by up to three times.

You can find more information about the CS FREE, which is compatible with all types of 12V lead-acid battery as well as lithium (12V LiFePO4) batteries, here.

Give your car an Arctic BLAST check

Home / Auto News / Give your car an Arctic BLAST check

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Peugeot 2008 GT Line in the snow

Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, is urging motorists to be ready for the cold spell with a simple five-point checklist.

The checks spell out the word BLAST and are easy to remember when icy weather is predicted.

Kwik Fit has highlighted the key components which can be vulnerable to cold weather and are vital for ensuring your car can be relied on in winter, especially it has been used less frequently than previously.

  • Battery.  Batteries have to work harder to start a car in cold temperatures with problems sometimes only becoming apparent when it’s too late.  If a battery has struggled to start a car in warmer weather, a cold snap may place too big a demand on it
  • Lights.  The importance of working lights is obvious during the shorter hours of daylight, not only to see but to be seen
  • Antifreeze/coolant. Anti-freeze will protect the engine at low temperatures, but only at the correct level and concentration so the condition of the liquid in the reservoir and system should be checked
  • Screen. Visibility can be poor in winter weather, so drivers should make sure their screen condition does not comprise it further.  Screen wash level and wiper blade condition should be checked, as well as the glass for any chips or cracks.  If not repaired, these can become more vulnerable in cold weather.  Never use boiling water to clear icy glass as the very sudden temperature change brings a risk of it cracking
  • Tyres. As the only point of contact with the road, having tyres in good condition is even more important when surfaces are slippery.  Drivers should check tread depth, pressures and also sidewall condition.  They should also ensure that their spare is ready to use if needed, or if their car has an emergency sealant kit they know how to use it

“The first cold spell of a year always reveals problems with cars which are a surprise to their owners,” said Roger Griggs of Kwik Fit.

“The most common of these is battery failure which can happen with little or no warning. A engine which was starting during warmer autumn months may simply be too much for an old or worn battery when the temperature drops.

“In the case of tyres, drivers may not have noticed excessive or uneven wear until they need maximum grip in slippery conditions – and at that point it may be too late.

“As is always the case in motoring checks and maintenance, prevention is much better than cure, so we urge drivers to carry out winter BLAST checks in advance of any journeys they need to make.”


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Six ways to protect your car this winter


Winter is well and truly on its way, and the more the weather becomes unpredictable, the more challenging or even dangerous driving becomes.

In fact, the highest percentage of severe car accidents happen between November and January, with drivers 20% more likely to be in an accident over the winter months.

And that’s if you even make it off the driveway, as your car is 18% less likely to start during the winter months.

However, winter driving doesn’t always have to be hazardous if you make sure you are prepared.

To help you get ready for winter, car finance experts Zuto have pulled together all the best tips and tricks to help you prepare your car for the worst of weather.

Check your tyres
When working well, tyres help to prevent skidding and enable you to stop in an accident. As winter approaches, with both handling and stopping becoming more difficult, it is important to make sure your tyres are in good condition.

Although tyres only need a tread depth of 1.6mm, a 3mm depth is safer in winter. A quick and easy way to check this would be to use a 20p coin. When inserting it into the groove of your tyre, if you see the rim of the coin, you’ll need to get your tyres checked out at your local garage. Make sure to check this around the entire width of the tyre and at several points around the circumference.

It may also be worth investing in winter tyres if you live in an area particularly prone to ice or snow.

Refill your fluid
As temperatures drop, both coolant and washer fluid can freeze, so you’ll need to keep them topped up with anti-freeze. Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and you should make sure your winter washer fluid also contains antifreeze.

Check your battery
Winter can be hard on your battery as a drop in temperature can cause your car battery to fail if it’s at the end of its shelf life. This is because the cold weather reduces the output of a battery, so it has to work harder to keep running.

If your battery has been reluctant to start in the summer and autumn months, it’s best to get it checked out by your local garage before it completely refuses to start on a cold morning when you’re running late for work.

Check your windscreen
Windscreen chips often get worse in the winter months thanks to hail and ice. If your screen has any chips, it’s best to get them fixed or the windscreen replaced before they impair visibility. This is especially important with the upcoming frosty weather.

Get a winter service
Although nothing can guarantee that your car won’t break down in the winter, getting a winter service and maintenance check can help to prevent problems associated with the cold weather. This often includes a lights assessment, an oil level replenishment, and windscreen wiper check to make sure that your car is ready for the winter weather. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Pack your winter car kit
Having a winter survival kit can make all the difference if you happen to breakdown in the cold and dark months and you can never be too prepared. This should include key items such as jumper cables, mobile and battery pack, and a torch with fully charged batteries. As well as a blanket, a first aid kit and a supply of food with a bottle of water or flask.

“Many motorists dread the arrival of winter, and all the issues they may face with their vehicles,” says Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto.

“However, as long as you prepare your car properly now, take extra precautions in extreme weather conditions, and stock up on your anti-freeze, you’ll be able to take on the winter roads.”

More winter driving tips from Zuto.