AAA Kansas responds to twice as many calls for help during arctic blast

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Drivers for AAA are seeing twice as many calls for help during this recent frigid cold weather.

AAA of Kansas responded to 1,313 calls for help over the last week. That’s more than double the 653 calls the company responded to in the first week of February.

More than 75 percent of these calls are for dead batteries or cold weather related engine failure.

“We’ve been seeing a lot more tire changes and regular breakdowns with tows,” said Jayson Briggs, a fleet driver for AAA. “Luckily we haven’t had as many accident calls with the weather. It’s been pretty good. People are doing a lot better at driving.”

Aside from routine maintenance, AAA of Kansas recommends 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.

  • At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start.
  • A battery’s life can be drained faster if devices are plugged into cars (cell phone chargers, upgraded audio and GPS devices)
  • 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.

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. Insert the quarter with the top of Washington’s head into the tread. If all of his 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. 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, 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.

  • Antifreeze/Coolant: engine antifreeze/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.

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