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Been an idiot - left my headlights on


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Just had a knock on the door from a neighbour pointing out that I'd left my lights on - must have been like that for at least 7 hours.

 

It's starts fine and I've taken it for a 20 spin and seemed ok. Should I do anything else or will it sort itself out? I.e should battery be

tested/charged? (car is only 2 years old, but only been mine 2 days. At least I know what the beeping noise meant when I got out the car now).

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My kids are always leaving the inside light on in the car when they read in the back, so I regularly discover the battery is flat in the morning. It's a good idea to buy a portable starter to keep in the car and they don't cost much, buy a charger too as they are always worth having. My battery still seems fine though. The drive should have put a bit more charge in it and it seems it never went completely flat, so you should be fine.

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Ah, the old recharge drive.

 

10-20 minutes of driving to give it a reasonable charge. Bricking yourself at every set of lights thinking "don't stall, don't stall, don't stall".

 

Fun :)

 

As others have said though, you should be fine if it has already started.

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There was a time when a car battery would let you know when it was starting to struggle. The starter motor might turn over abnormally slowly but the engine would just about start - if you were lucky.

 

On modern cars however there is no middle way anymore. Battery's seem to perform as if they were a on/off switch - IE they either start the car instantly or (without any warning) you just get that dreaded 'tick' noise from the ignition and a call to the AA is in order.

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If you want to be certain that the battery will be reliable, then buy yourself one of those "intelligent" chargers that you can leave on without the risk of overcharging the battery. This will properly "deep" charge the battery and you will have no fears that it will let you down. Of course this assumes that the battery is in good condition and is only discharged. Don't rely on the alternator to charge the battery up properly. You could buy a very cheap trickle charger that would do the job, but you have to know when the battery is fully charged (I have a tester and the knowledge to use it, and I can tell that you don't) so the safest way is to get one of the self limiting chargers that I have mentioned above. Hope that clarifies things things for you.

 

By the way, you won't have wasted your money when the inevitable cold hard winter arrives and you have a battery that will be reliable in all weathers by just leaving it on the charger at night.

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