WILKES-BARRE – The National Weather Service predicts intervals of the coldest air of the season this Friday through next Thursday, with record lows not seen in the region in 20 years expected on Monday. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that extreme cold temperatures, especially over an extended period of time, can wreak havoc on a car and its battery and warns motorists to prepare their vehicles before this severe weather hits.
“In frigid weather like this, weak car batteries are the first to go, especially since cold weather damage is cumulative,” said Jana Tidwell, Manager of AAA Mid-Atlantic Public and Government Affairs.
“At 32°F, your car’s battery loses 35 percent of its strength and at 0°F, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. If your battery is more than three years old, it’s worth having your battery checked. If you’ve postponed vehicle maintenance, now is the time to take care of it.”
AAA, the premier roadside assistance provider for more than 100 years, says during extended cold temperatures they typically see a spike in emergency roadside assistance calls, where upwards of 30 percent are battery related calls or cars that won’t start.
Warning signs that you are at risk for a battery related breakdown include the following include: hearing a grinding or clicking sound when you turn on the ignition, your vehicle cranks slowly when attempting to start, your headlights dim when idling but brighten when the engine is revved or your battery is more than three (3) years old.
Here are some additional recommendations from AAA to make your car winter ready:
· Get a checkup. Give your car a complete once-over, especially if it is older than five years. Make sure all belts are tight and hoses are not leaky. Test all lights.
· Test battery. Make sure battery cables are tightly connected and corrosion-free. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 0°F, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength and at 32°F it loses 35 percent.
During cold temperatures starting an engine can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions While three to five years is a typical life span, various internal and environmental conditions impact a battery’s long term health. Periodic inspection, testing, and cleaning are suggested and monitoring the use of accessories and electronic devices when your car is not running can help maximize its longevity.
· Check tires. During cold weather, tire inflation pressure decreases 1-2 psi for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Make sure pressure levels match those found in either the owner’s manual or on the driver’s door jamb, and note that pressure levels may be different for front and rear tires. Visually inspect tires for cracks or bulges, and ensure tread depth is adequate.
· Oil and filters. Be diligent about checking the oil and filter on a regular basis. Low oil level, as well as dirty oil, can compromise your engine in extreme cold.
· Keep it clean. Get your car to the car wash frequently to scrub off de-icing chemicals and salt. Besides eroding your car’s paint, these items can also reduce visibility by clinging to windows and mirrors.
· Pack a bag. Don’t leave home without an emergency kit in the trunk with a fully charged cell phone and charger, ice scraper, shovel, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, drinking water, and a high-protein snack. Kitty litter, sand or salt will help with traction if your vehicle becomes stuck.
Motorists seeking a trustworthy repair shop to help prepare their vehicle for winter driving are encouraged to visit one of AAA’s more than 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities or visit a AAA Car Care Center. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness.
In addition, AAA Mid-Atlantic offers battery replacement service through its roadside assistance operations and at select Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities throughout the region. To request service call 1-800-AAA-HELP or for a battery price quote visithttps://midatlantic.aaa.com/Automotive/MobileBattery.