Cold weather stalls many cars, prompts many calls for service

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 Below freezing temperatures have taken hold in the Philadelphia region. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Below freezing temperatures have taken hold in the Philadelphia region. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The first really cold day of the winter has area road service technicians very busy. 

It always happens the first day the mercury takes a dip, said Rich Bradley of AAA South Jersey, an overload of calls from people whose cars won’t start.

“We’ve seen an increase in calls, we are at about a 166 percent increase compared with a normal Tuesday during the winter,” he said.

Many drivers neglect the rule of thumb for car batteries, Bradley said, that “after three years, you are on borrowed time.”

“With proper maintenance, it’s three years … that’s just routine checking the cables, that they aren’t corroded,” he advised. “If you have something older than that, you should be looking at replacing it at some point and time.”

The scientific explanation is that when the temperature plummets, the battery’s power drops. And a weak battery sometimes just can’t provide enough juice to start your car.

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