While there have been positives to Britain's decrease in car use because of the coronavirus lockdown, but it has brought with it some rather unwanted consequences too, according to Kwik Fit.

The service centre chain has noted a marked increase in people needing new car batteries in the last four weeks, double the rate it usually expects at this time of year. Battery failures traditionally pick up in the winter but the lockdown, which has led to many cars remaining stationary, has seen winter levels of battery failings happening now.

The problem isn't just exclusive to older cars either, with some newer cars also struggling. WHat's more, the number of fleet vehicles needing new batteries has also risen by around 10 percent compared to the same period last year.

Mechanic uses multimeter on car battery

Kwik Fit's battery tips to help avoid encountering battery problems

  • If you are not using your car at all, start the car once or twice a week and let the engine run for at least 15 minutes (stay in your car when you are doing this and the car must be outside).

  • Bear in mind that a colder engine takes more out of the battery to start, so if possible start your car during the warmer part of the day rather than first thing in the morning.

  • Check under the bonnet and inspect the battery terminals for signs of corrosion. Clean any corrosion and residue away from the terminals to allow a good clean connection with the battery.

  • If your car is parked on a driveway or garage, consider buying a trickle charger which can be plugged into the mains and keep your battery charge topped up - always follow the guidance in your vehicle’s owners handbook prior to connecting a trickle charger.

  • Check your battery’s age – most batteries are stamped with date codes and a battery more than five years old may be at risk of failure, especially if the car is only making short or infrequent trips.

Most of us associate battery failure with the winter months and having to call out a breakdown service to get us started after Christmas holidays," said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. "The lock down has had a dramatic effect on motoring and has been positive in helping control the spread of the virus, but this is one area which is storing up potential problems for motorists.

"We certainly don’t encourage anyone to use their car unnecessarily, but we hope that our advice will help some people avoid a nasty surprise when they next need their car."