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Hamilton, NJ, February 5, 2021 – With weekend snow and a Polar Vortex blast moving into the region, AAA urges drivers to make sure their cars are ready for the cold as vehicles are sitting idle for days or weeks at a time because of COVID-19.

Since last Friday, AAA Mid-Atlantic has responded to nearly 9,000 calls for roadside assistance, with 34% of those calls for dead car batteries that fell victim to the extended cold snap.

AAA Mid-Atlantic New Jersey Emergency Roadside Assistance Volume

January 29 - February 4, 2021

Date

Battery

Battery % of total call volume

TOTAL VOLUME

Fri., Jan. 29

462

37%

1,234

Sat., Jan. 30

614

48%

1,343

Sun., Jan. 31

515

42%

1,227

Mon., Feb. 1

141

18%

791

Tues., Feb. 2

373

28%

1,336

Weds., Feb 3

569

34%

1,655

Thurs., Feb. 4

457

33%

1,394

TOTAL

3,131calls

34% avg. per day

8,980

 

“Our fleet and contractors within the Mid-Atlantic region have been working tirelessly to rescue stranded motorists throughout the past week, as the extreme cold temperatures proved damaging to so many car batteries,” said Tracy Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Even as requests for roadside assistance soared, our priority is always to get our members back on the road or to safety as quickly as possible.”

AAA is preparing to see an increase in requests for vehicles with tire, battery and other issues caused by dangerously cold weather in the week ahead.

While routine maintenance is the best protection against breakdowns that could leave drivers, and their passengers stranded, it may have been overlooked by drivers amid the pandemic.  Even with fewer miles driven, preventative maintenance check-ups are still important.

Aside from routine maintenance, AAA automotive experts recommend drivers pay special attention to these key vehicle components:

Batteries
Starting an engine in cold temperatures can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions. Calls for dead batteries in particular have been higher than usual because more vehicles are sitting idle for days or weeks at a time because of COVID-19.

  • The average battery lasts 3-5 years.
  • Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician.
  • Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.

Tires
Air expands when it is heated and contracts when it is cooled. As the air temperature drops outside, so does the air pressure in your tires. Why is this important? Maintaining proper tire inflation is essential for safe driving.  For every 10 degree-change in air temperature, a tire's pressure will change by about 1-2 PSI (pounds per square inch). 

How to Check Your Tires

  • Check tire pressure. Colder weather can require adding air to tires. Make sure pressure levels match those found in either the owner’s manual or on the driver’s door jamb, and note that pressure levels may be different for front and rear tires.
  • Check tire tread. Test tread depth with a quarter. If all of Washington’s head can be seen, it is time for new tires.
  • Check for a spare tire. Motorists should know whether their vehicle comes with a spare tire (many newer cars do not). This helps AAA know whether to send a light service vehicle (to put on the spare) or a tow truck for a vehicle without a spare.

Fluids
AAA Car Care experts report seeing increased numbers of vehicles coming in for repairs because of issues with fluids. With subzero temperatures expected, it’s critical that drivers take time to ensure proper vehicle fluids are being used, levels are correct and they are rated for the weather conditions.

  • Coolant: engine coolant performs a vital job when the temperature drops. It lowers the freezing point of the cooling system in winter. Failing to ensure coolant levels can handle the extremely cold temperatures could result in serious and expensive damage to the vehicle’s engine. AAA Tire & Auto experts recommend that coolant protection be at 30 below zero.
  • Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter-blend cleaning solution to prevent it from freezing and avoid damage to the windshield washer system.

Safety
Whether you have a long commute to work or just need to drive a short distance to the store, preparation is key to making the trip safely. For more information on ways to prepare your vehicle for the winter weather visit 5 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Weather Travels.

Check your wallet to make sure your AAA membership is active and that the coverage level meets your current needs. AAA offers multiple levels of coverage and also special savings on memberships for first responders and teachers. Visit AAA.com to learn more.

AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers throughout New Jersey offer FREE car battery checks.  Motorists can see firsthand whether their car battery is strong enough to withstand the bitter cold.



AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and nearly two million members in New Jersey.AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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