John Townsend
Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171
jtownsend@aaamidatlantic.com

WASHINGTON, D. C.  (Friday, May 8, 2020) –– Dead batteries. Perhaps nothing is as frustrating to motorists, even if your vehicle is parked in the garage or driveway. The AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance nerve center is seeing a sharp increase in battery service calls in Maryland and Virginia, while also seeing a sharp decrease in the District of Columbia, as stay-at-home orders remain in place, and vehicles stay parked.  

 

Depending on how long your car sits idle in the driveway or garage, issues like stale fuel, rusty brakes or issues with rodents and other critters should be addressed, in addition to dead batteries, cautions AAA, the premier roadside assistance provider for more than 100 years.

 

“Even though your car isn’t running, the electronic systems still tap the battery, which can affect its performance when you try to start it,” explained Bruce Jenkins, Manager, AAA Roadside Assistance Fleet Depot, Springfield and Richmond. “But batteries aren’t the only automotive component or vehicle part that vehicle owners and motorists have to worry about while the vehicle sits in their driveway or garage. It is important, and an imperative, to keep your car running properly during a hiatus from driving.”

 

AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance Call Volume Amid The Shutdown
District of Columbia Maryland
Service April 2019 April 2020 % Change April 2019 April 2020 % Change
Battery 1,773 31 -98% 10,037 13,200 32%
Extrication 10 9 -10% 229 142 -38%
Fuel 100 33 -67% 772 276 -64%
Light Service 59 18 -69% 902 632 -30%
Lockout 471 226 -52% 4,123 2,188 -47%
Locksmith 81 29 -64% 368 198 -46%
Tire 1,209 533 -56% 7,337 3,944 -46%
Tow 2,475 1,193 -52% 21,790 10,860 -50%
Total 6,178 2,072 -66% 45,558 31,440 -31%
Virginia
Service April 2019 April 2020 % Change
Battery 8,059 10,353 28%
Extrication 357 178 -50%
Fuel 502 171 -66%
Light Service 867 566 -35%
Lockout 3,767 1,938 -49%
Locksmith 278 180 -35%
Tire 4,697 2,536 -46%
Tow 15,172 8,180 -46%
Total 33,699 24,102 -28%

 

 

In the District of Columbia, during the month of April, AAA saw a 98% decrease in the number of calls for battery service compared to April of 2019, making up one percent of AAA service calls and resulting in 31 responses. Then again, average daily trips in Washington, D.C were down 45.29% on April 28, compared to a pre-COVID-19 baseline daily average during the period from February 10 through February 23, according to data from TrafficCast. Overall, calls for roadside assistance in the District of Columbia are down 66% as there are fewer vehicles on the roadways. 

 

Conversely, in Maryland and Virginia, battery calls increased about 30% in each state. In Maryland, AAA saw a 32% increase in the number of calls for battery service compared to April of 2019, making up 42% of AAA service calls and resulting in over 13,200 responses. Calls for roadside assistance in Maryland are down 31% as there are fewer vehicles on the roadways. Meanwhile, in Virginia, during the month of April, AAA saw a 28% increase in the number of calls for battery service compared to April of 2019, making up 43% of AAA service calls and resulting in over 10,353 responses. Calls for roadside assistance in Virginia are down 28% as there are fewer vehicles on the roadways. 

 

Many people are working from home these days, and it’s a new situation for a lot of folks, explains AAA. While you’re not adding the wear and tear of a daily commute or paying as much for gas, you can’t completely forget about your car while it sits in your driveway, cautions AAA Car Care.

 

“Your tires are the only part of your car that contacts the road and they don’t always hold pressure well, so be sure to check tire pressure,”  explained James Moore, AAA Fairfax Car Care Center Manager.  “You can give them a good visual inspection for damage or even flat spots, which would indicate low pressure, especially if your car hasn’t moved in a while.”

 

Always there for motorists, the auto club has been working diligently to help motorists whose car batteries have failed through our AAA Mobile Battery Service which will:

  • Come to wherever you’re located,
  • Perform a diagnostic test of your electrical system,
  • Replace your battery right on the spot if needed.

Signs of a weak battery may include: clicking noises when turning key; the engine turning over slowly; dim interior lighting or warning lights on the dashboard.  If your car hasn’t hit the road in a while, AAA encourages you to take some simple steps to keep you and your vehicle safe.

  • Take Charge - Drive your vehicle(s) once a week to ensure the battery stays properly charged, even if that is just around the corner. If you won’t be driving your car much, consider buying a battery tender. It’ll ensure your battery maintains its charge at proper storage voltage when not in use.
  • Gas Goes a Long Way – Keep your gas tank level at three-fourths or full. Full tanks provide less space for air and help minimize the possibility of condensation.
  • Fluid Situation – Check oil, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Replace or re-fill as needed by consulting your owner’s manual.
  • Under Pressure - Check the tire pressure and fill, as needed, to the proper inflation amount located inside the driver’s door.
  • Road Trip Ready – As an added precaution, consider taking your vehicle to your trusted repair shop, such as an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, for service. Make sure to call first for shop hours and procedures for bringing in a car for service.
  • Keep it Clean – Keeping a vehicle clean is a great way to protect your investment and maximize your car’s resale value. Now, however, vehicle cleanliness has become even more important due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of cleaning products that will destroy the COVID-19 virus on often used surfaces inside your car, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. Choose carefully because some cleaning products may damage or discolor your upholstery or dash.

As always, how long you leave a car without starting can depend on the condition of your car's 12-volt battery, explains AAA. Here is another important reminder: even if you’re not using your car, keep it insured. It will prevent a major financial loss, if something befalls your vehicle while it sits in your driveway or garage.

 

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Washington, D.C. Mailing Address:
1405 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and nearly 82,000 members in the District of Columbia.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works 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 for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit  http://aaa.com

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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