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Cold weather car trouble: Motorists may experience battery problems as temperatures drop


Mon, Jan 10th 2022 11:55 pm

By AAA of Western and Central New York

Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits overnight, and a wind chill advisory is in effect in some areas. AAA is preparing for an increase in call volume, especially for dead batteries, as temperatures fall. Call volume in the Buffalo metro area on Monday exceeded a typical January day with the majority of calls for battery issues.

Motorists who need assistance should request road service via the free AAA mobile app or AAA.com to avoid waiting on hold amid high call volume over the telephone.

Extremely cold temperatures in the forecast will cause many car batteries to fail. Driving your car is the best way to maintain its charge. Motorists should keep this in mind, and they shouldn’t wait until the last minute to make sure their vehicle car starts. If possible, park inside a garage where it is warmer.

Did you know that a car battery loses a third of its power in freezing temperatures? Why? Because as the air outside cools, the oil in the car thickens making it harder to turn the engine over.

Motorists should be aware of signs that show a car's battery is nearing the end of its life. Here are some things to look out for:

√ Vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start

√ Grinding, clicking or buzzing when the ignition is turned on

√ Vehicle has stalled

√ Headlights dim when idling, but brighten when the driver revs the engine

√ Battery is more than 3 years old

To avoid being stranded due to a battery problem, have the battery inspected at every oil change to make sure the cable connections are clean and tight, and the hold down hardware is secure. Once a battery reaches 3 years of age, have it tested annually. A AAA survey found that two-thirds of American drivers have never proactively had their car battery tested. The test will identify if the battery has deteriorated to the point where replacement is recommended to prevent an unexpected failure. In most areas, members can use AAA mobile battery service to have a battery tested for free and replaced (if necessary) at their home or work. Learn more at www.AAA.com/Battery.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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