HAMILTON – Cold winter weather is rough on batteries, as many motorists learn when their cars won’t start on a chilly day. Battery calls are one of the top three reasons people call AAA roadside assistance.
“The changing technology in today’s automobile has also changed the role of the battery,” says Joe Erickson, an ASE master auto technician and Approved Auto Repair Territory Manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s no longer just an issue of cold cranking amps as starters are more efficient. The constant small load the battery now draws when the engine is not running has grown exponentially to support ‘keep alive’ memories for idle, seats, radio, engine control unit and the vast assortment of luxuries that consumers demand.” Some vehicles are already equipped with start – stop technology that further taxes the battery.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says there are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:
Is Your Vehicle Battery at Risk to Fail?
- Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start
- You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on
- Your vehicle has stalled
- Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine
- Your battery is more than three years old – the average life of a battery is 3-5 years, but driving conditions, climate, and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan
“Motorists need to be vigilant and have their battery tested on a routine basis,” Erickson says. “That way it will be cheaper, easier and safer to replace compared to being stranded on the side of the road or in a dark parking lot after work.”
AAA’s trained Battery Service Technicians test batteries at the roadside, and can replace them immediately onsite, wherever the member is located. The average member cost of an installed AAA battery is $119 and includes a three-year free replacement warranty.
AAA Mid-Atlantic tested more than 300,000 batteries at the roadside throughout its territory in 2012, with more than 144,000 in New Jersey. AAA recycles every battery replaced, saving resources and keeping hazardous waste from landfills.