What to do if you have a flat battery?

Woman with flat car battery

Flat batteries can happen any time; usually at the most inconvenient and in completely inappropriate locations. If you do have to stop your vehicle due to a flat battery it’s important that you stay safe in a breakdown situation by following these tips.

Car battery-related problems represent the highest number of NRMA roadside assistance callouts, with 579,000 battery jobs in 2014, and can occur for any number of reasons, including leaving your lights on or your radio playing when parked. 

  • Make sure you’re in a safe location. Find a safe spot to pull over such as an emergency breakdown area. Always activate your hazard lights and turn on your parking lights in poor light.
  • Diagnose the problem. Is your engine struggling to turn on, or are you simply getting a ‘click’ with no further response? Are the lights dim? If so, it’s most likely the battery.
  • Once you have identified the problem, try and identify the cause. Did you leave the lights on? Is the battery old? Some batteries will show the date, whereas most will use an alphanumeric code. E.g. A2=January 2012.
  • If you’re an NRMA Member, you can request roadside assistance by using the my nrma app or give us a call and we’ll diagnose it, jump-start it if possible or if needed, replace the battery. If you’re not a member, you can sign up on the spot by calling 13 11 11.
  • If a friend or nearby driver has jumper leads, a jump-start could do the trick. This won’t fully recharge the battery, even after a long drive but will get you home or to a mechanic. Before you jump-start, check the battery for damage. If you notice cracks or leaking battery acid, do not jump-start. Also, consider the age of your car. Jump-starting a modern car can cause additional problems. Consult the owner’s manual and if uncertain, call the NRMA.
  • Successfully jump-started your car and back on the road? Make your first port of call your mechanic to get your battery checked and fully recharged or replaced.

Need assistance?

The NRMA will give you the right advice or replace your car battery if required.