It happens every year, but it’s worth repeating. As temperatures drop, AAA wants drivers to get their car batteries checked.
On Monday when below-freezing temperatures hovered throughout the region, the motor club responded to nearly 1,900 calls for assistance in the Greater Hartford area, about half of which were for dead batteries. AAA spokeswoman Amy Parmenter said this was the highest call volume since February 2016’s deep freeze.
While drivers may know cold weather takes a toll on car batteries and prevent the car from starting, AAA says many people don’t release that just because the car starts doesn’t mean the battery is in good shape.
“Sometimes the car starts to act up with the cold only a lot of us feel when you start the car up, we’re good. And yes the car started up and you can drive away, but if the car’s already old when it comes to the battery life and things like that, you want to get the battery checked out. All because it turned on for you doesn’t mean that it’s a good battery,” said Jerry Jurado, a AAA fleet driver.
AAA recommends having car batteries tested, especially if it’s over three years old. If the battery is weak, the cold can zap it down to nothing, potentially leaving a driver stranded.
Common signs that a battery are at risk for failure are if the car makes a slow cranking noise when started, or if the car makes buzzing or grinding sounds as the ignition key turns.
AAA also recommends having a winter emergency kit in case of breakdown in the cold or snowy weather. That kit should include a fully charged cellphone and charger, a snow/ice scraper, a blanket and extra gloves and hats, flares or brightly colored hazard triangle, a shovel, a de-icer, an abrasive material like kitty litter (for traction in snow and ice) and any medications or snacks that may be needed by riders.