Retrofitted Accessories “Can Cause Premature Battery Death”
Varta Automotive Batteries says that recent evidence from both sides of the Atlantic of a growing trend in premature battery failure caused by the retrofitting of power-sapping accessories has again raised the issue of like-for-like battery fitment.
RAC patrols attending more than half the call-outs in 2006 believe the use of in-car accessories has resulted in an increase in flat batteries. In the USA, a leading car customiser has experienced an increase in reported battery failures from customers who have add-on electronics such as i-pods and Sat Nav systems.
This incidence of batteries “dying young” is likely to have an increased impact on the aftermarket; recent SMMT figures show that sales of retrofitted in-car entertainment and Sat Nav systems grew between 2001 and 2005 from 100,000 to almost 1.9 million units.
Varta’s technicians warn that unless owners fitting these accessories upgraded their batteries to the same specification that would have been used by the vehicle manufacturer had the accessories been factory fitted, it could lead to premature battery failure.
At the other end of the scale, the power requirements of many recently-launched models, such as Audi’s luxury Q7 V12 TDI and the Lexus LS460 can only be met by batteries to the same specification as OE fitment. Varta says that its 95 Ah Ultra Dynamic AGM or Blue Dynamic calcium-silver starter batteries exactly mirror the Audi’s OE fitment.
With body temperature sensors, electronic reclining rear seats and even a heated steering wheel, the electrical demands of the new Lexus LS460 also requires a 95 Ah battery, which Varta can cater for from its ASIA Dynamic range.
Varta Product Manager Tony Miller pointed out that the growing number of accessories on cars is increasing the strain on car batteries, saying: “Some of the worst offenders are Sat Nav and high power stereo systems, DVD players and mobile phone chargers.”
He added: “Even when modern cars are parked, many electronic devices continue to draw power after the ignition is switched off and can slowly discharge a battery to a point where it cannot easily be recharged by just driving the car.
“The dramatic growth in sales of diesel-engined cars, which require more starting power than petrol variants, has brought further pressure to bear. The only way for the trade to address all these issues is to ensure like-for-like battery replacement. Low spec products without the backing of an OE pedigree will not be able to cope.”