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Brrrr - batteries cranking in cold temperatures


Fri, Jan 19th 2024 11:00 am

AAA reports uptick in battery problems across region as temperatures drop

By AAA of Western and Central New York

AAA is reporting an increase in call volume for dead batteries as temperatures fall. On Thursday, AAA call volume for the Western and Central New York region (Buffalo, Rochester, Central New York) reached a typical January day in just 16 hours, rather than a 24-hour span.

Here are some observations:

√ Buffalo Metro: 40% of calls for batteries, 29% for tows

√ Rochester Metro: 35% of calls for batteries, 29% for tows

√ Syracuse Metro: 37% of calls for batteries, 37% for tows

With continued cold temperatures in the forecast, more car batteries are expected to fail, especially if the vehicles are not driven for extended periods. Driving your car is the best way to maintain its charge. AAA typically sees a spike in battery requests after a storm when motorists stay home, or on Mondays after a weekend at home.

Drivers should keep this in mind and 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 vehicle 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. The average life span of a car battery in this region is three to five years.

Here are some signs of wear 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

Electric Vehicles

2019 research from AAA found that, when the mercury dips to 20°F and the HVAC system is used to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average EV driving range is decreased by 41%. This means that, for every 100 miles of combined urban/highway driving, the range at 20°F would be reduced to 59 miles.

When colder temperatures hit, AAA urges EV owners to be aware of a reduction in range and the need to charge more often to minimize the chance of being stranded by a dead battery.

Being Proactive Pays Off

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. AAA surveys find that two-thirds of American drivers have never proactively had their car battery tested. AAA offers free mobile battery service in most areas, weather permitting. Learn more at www.AAA.com/Battery.

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. All vehicles must be cleared of snow before requesting service.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 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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