AAA Battery Maintenance

No one likes to be stuck with a dead battery on a cold winter’s night, but the fact is that cold weather is hard on cars, especially car batteries. According to Auto Club of Southern California Roadside Assistance statistics, dead battery calls in December 2012 increased almost 18 percent over December 2011. That’s 128,000 vehicles for December alone. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center offers some insight and advice to help keep your battery strong and keep you safe and warm.

At zero degrees Fahrenheit, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery is 35 percent weaker, according to Auto Club Automotive Research Manager Steve Mazor. Keeping battery terminals clean helps batteries stay strong, but a load test performed by a qualified automotive technician will help determine whether a car’s battery is strong enough for winter starts. It’s also beneficial to keep cars in the garage and out of the cold in general, but very helpful to protect the battery as temperatures drop, Mazor added. 

What should you know about your vehicle battery?

The average life of a battery is three to five years, but driving conditions, cold climate, and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan. Here are warning signs that you’re at risk for a battery-related breakdown:

  • Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start 
  • You hear a grinding, clicking, or buzzing when you turn the ignition on 
  • Your vehicle has stalled 
  • Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine 
  • Your battery is more than three years old

What should you do if your battery is failing?

Battery testing is provided as part of the free Roadside Assistance service to our members. As a benefit to members, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service can install a new AAA battery and recycle the old battery for you. 

Since the inception of the AAA Mobile Battery Program, AAA/CAA clubs have tested more than 22 million batteries at the roadside, resulting in 7.5 million defective batteries being replaced on the scene. All AAA/CAA members are eligible for this service which includes a visit from a trained Battery Service Technician to their location to test their battery. If a problem is identified, members have the option to purchase a new AAA battery onsite. The average member cost of an installed AAA battery is $119 and includes a three-year free replacement warranty.


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