AAA responding to increased number of calls during cold stretch

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(WPRI) — The cold weather can take a toll on your vehicle, and AAA roadside technicians know that all too well.

AAA Northeast said the cold snaps in the last two weeks have kept technicians busy jump-starting cars and fixing flat tires across the region.

Thursday night was no different. AAA roadside technicians worked in the extreme cold to help stranded motorists.

“It’s not fun at all,” Scott Vickers, of East Providence, said. He ended up with his second flat tire in just two days.

MORE: Winter Weather Resource Guide

AAA Lead Roadside Technician Tim Beauchamp said the low temperatures can do a number on your car battery.

“The cold reduces the tire pressure, the PSI in the tire. And the heat actually expands it,” Beauchamp explained.

Chris Desmarais, of Johnston, dealt with a dead car battery Thursday night. It was the second time he had experienced this dilemma in the past two weeks.

“Early this morning I tried starting my car up, and all of the sudden it wouldn’t kick over,” Desmarais said.

Beauchamp said there are two things in your battery that start the car: the voltage and the cold cranking amps. The voltage, Beauchamp said, is the power source and the cold cranking amps are the “push.”

“You can have as much power as you want, but if you don’t have enough push, it won’t start the car in the cold weather.”

AAA Northeast said in the single digit temperatures, it takes 50 percent more energy to turn the engine over. Now, technicians are using new technology to test car batteries. They can scan the battery with an app to figure out the diagnosis faster.

“I’ll run through the results with the member. I’ll either offer a replacement, or give them advice to service their battery correctly,” Beauchamp said.

In Desmarais’ case, Beauchamp charged his battery, and then recommended he begin looking for a replacement.

“The best thing they can do is invest in what’s called a battery tender,” Beauchamp said. “Basically that will provide power to the battery in the cold weather, even if you aren’t in your car.”

Beauchamp recommends anyone with a car battery that is between three and five years old to have it checked out prior to an extreme drop in temperatures to avoid getting stuck somewhere.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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