Frigid Temperatures Take a Toll on Vehicles

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CLIVE, Iowa — Cold weather can take a toll on vehicles, especially a vehicle’s battery.

Interstate All Battery Center said they had about three times the normal amount of customers Monday who were all experiencing the same thing: they had dead or dying batteries, and most of those batteries were probably on their last leg, completely drained by cold weather.

Crystal Sieverding said it was a pretty normal Saturday when she came out of her parents’ house, got in her car, put the key in the ignition and turned it only to find her car wouldn’t start.

“Over the weekend I was parked outside at my parents’ house and the car just wouldn’t start up when we were going to leave, so luckily we live close and we just got home. And then I got in the garage and started it up this morning and apparently I got here on a miracle because there is no charge in the battery,” Sieverding said.

Sieverding said she thinks the extremely cold temperatures likely had something to do with it.

“I think so. I haven’t had a problem with it before … but apparently it’s probably old enough it was time to replace anyway,” Sieverding said.

Interstate All Battery Center owner Brian Weber said they had about 50 customers come in before noon on Monday with dead or dying batteries.

“The heat actually is what damages a battery, but when it gets this cold, a car battery that’s weak cannot start, so that’s when you get a rush of people needing a new battery,” Weber said.

Weber said there are some things the owner of a vehicle can do to extend the life of their battery.

“Properly maintaining it. So what that means is you don’t want to let it sit for a month at a time in this cold weather because the battery could freeze and then that becomes a problem and you won’t be able to start it at all. If you can keep it on a trickle charger keeping it charged up, that’s great. Keeping it in a garage, that’s great, but the batteries are meant to be able to start in cold weather, provided they are not just sitting there for too long,” Weber said.

Sieverding says it was extremely important for her to go through the process of assessing the old battery and examining her options for buying a new one.

“Got to be safe and make sure we have a reliable vehicle,” Sieverding said.

If you are concerned about your vehicle’s battery, several places including Interstate All Battery Center will check your battery for free and tell you how much longer it will last.

Weber said it is best to check your battery at the end of summer or in the fall to make sure it lasts all winter so you’re not in the position that many customers were on Monday.

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