Battery and soot filter issues expected as “lockdown light” is relaxed

The Flemish Automobile Association VAB expects a big increase in the number of motorists reporting issues with their vehicles’ batteries and soot filters during the coming weeks. With many people working from home, lessons in schools suspended and all shops except those selling essential goods having been closed for almost two months, many thousands of cars have not been or hardly been used in recent weeks. 

VAB conducted an online survey of more than 10,000 motorists, the results of which were published earlier on Sunday. The survey reveals that since the “lockdown light” measures came into force in mid-March people have been using their cars much less and those that have ventured out onto roads with their vehicles have been making much shorter journeys than would normally have been the case.

This means that many car batteries are flat or nearly flat. In order to fully charge a car battery, a motorist would have to drive at least 30km at a constant speed, preferable on a motorway, VAB wrote in a press release.

In addition to issues with car batteries VAB also expects an increase in issues with soot filters. This is because with a vehicle having stood idle for a long period, the filters will have been unable to have burned off the soot that they had collected, a process known as “regeneration”. In order for a soot filter to regenerate completely a motorist needs to have driven at least 20km. The first 10km to allow the filter to reach the temperature at which it starts to work and a further 10km to  complete the regeneration process.

VAB advises motorists that see that the soot filter light on the dashboard of their car is lit up to go and get the filter checked as quickly as possible. A new soot filter can easily cost more than 1,000 euro.  

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