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Freezing Temperatures Putting Car Batteries To The Test

November 19th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

Historic cold November days, not seen since the mid-1970’s, are not just putting a big chill on the inhabitants of Maryland, but these successive bouts of frigid temperatures are also taking their toll on car batteries across the region.

The motor club reports that the overall number of emergency roadside assistance calls to its call centers rose more than 22 percent Tuesday, compared to year-ago numbers. Territory-wide, AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to 7,296 requests for roadside assistance yesterday, compared to 5,970 such calls on the same day a year ago.

On Tuesday, November 18, the auto club fielded 2,251 calls from motorists plagued by dead batteries across its footprint with 551 of those calls from Maryland motorists.  Battery-related issues amounted to 31 percent of Tuesday’s calls with the remaining 37 percent (2,704) of calls for tows and an additional 18 percent (1,330) for tire-related issues.

“In frigid weather like this, weak car batteries are typically the first to go on the list of potential car issues related to cold temperatures,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “At 32°F, your car’s battery loses 35 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.”

Warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown include the following: 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

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