|Roadside Assistance calls triple in January|
|Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:12 PM|
BY STEPHANIE GROVES
DELPHOS — The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that throughout January, 80 percent of the roadside assistance calls have been attributed to battery problems.
Senior Public Relations Manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club Kimberly Schwind said that they have had triple the call volume in January and it is much the same throughout the Midwest region.
“We expect the same this week through the weekend,” Schwind said. “Crews are working in extremely cold weather with high call volumes.”
The AAA website reports that as the temperature drops, so does the cranking power of a vehicle’s battery. At 32 degrees, the battery has 15 percent less starting power than it does at 80 degrees; at 0 degrees, it has 35 percent less power; at -20 degrees, it has less than half the cranking power while the engine needs 3-1/2 times the power to start.
• Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. Turn off all unnecessary lights and accessories if vehicle starts are sluggish.
• Dim head lamps or sluggish engine starts may be signs a new battery is needed.
• When purchasing a battery, rely on advice given by auto parts or service personnel, who will cross-reference the vehicle for the proper replacement battery.
In Delphos, auto parts stores have seen the sale of batteries double in the past few weeks. Car Quest co-owner Joe Wrasman said he has had quite a few customers in his store having their batteries checked.
“This weather makes people think about preventative maintenance,” he said. “They have a battery that’s four or five years old and get it checked or buy a new one so they don’t get stranded somewhere.”
Wrasman said fuel supplements like gas line anti-freeze for regular and diesel engines have also been in demand.
Auto Zone Store Manager Tod Sturgeon said battery sales are up due to the deep freeze.
“In the past week, we have had over 90 battery cores turned in, which will go to our distribution center for recycling,” Sturgeon added. “That’s double the number of core returns than what we normally see during this time of year.”
There are a few more preventative measures drivers can take to be safe and not stranded this winter. Sturgeon recommends people keeping their fuel tanks close to full and using a pre-mixed 50/50 anti-freeze to avoid moisture and water freezing in the fuel lines and heating and cooling systems.
Schwind said there have been a higher number of lock-out calls from people who are at home and have locked themselves out of their cars after starting them to warm up.
“With these cold temperatures, more people start their vehicles in the morning,” Schwind detailed. “Unfortunately, they accidentally lock the door and don’t have a spare set of keys to get in.”
In general, the weather has been treacherous for drivers. Schwind says there has been an increase of roadside assistance calls from drivers who have spun out off the road into a ditch.
“If the vehicle is still working and the driver stays in the vehicle to wait for help, it is crucial they brush the snow off, out and away from the tail pipe to keep gases [carbon monoxide] — which will eventually cause death — from building up in the car,” Schwind explained.
Schwind advised drivers to have emergency gear in vehicles just in case they become stranded, including:
• Blankets and extra warm clothing;
• Flashlight and extra batteries;
• Shovel and a bag of cat litter;
• First aid kit;
• Cell phone and charger;
• Jumper cables; and
• Road flares and triangles.
Schwind said if drivers calling for assistance are experiencing long wait times, they can go online to the website or use the mobile app to request assistance. For more information visit ohio.aaa.com/cars-and-driving/roadside-assistance.html.