Battery beware

By CRM Staff

Toronto, Ontario — November 14, 2018 — Battery related calls to CAA have been on the rise since 2016 and are showing no signs of slowing down.

Last year CAA received a total of 264,266 calls for battery service, representing a 25 percent increase over the past three years. Data from this year shows that the volume of calls is on pace to match the same number from 2017.

As a result CAA is urging drivers to have their car battery tested before the winter season in order to avoid battery failure.

“When you are getting winter tires on why not ask your mechanic to check the health of your car battery?” said Tony Tsai, AVP of corporate communications for CAA SCO.

“Even with good care and maintenance, the life of a car battery only ranges from three to five years.”

Modern technologies such as entertainment and navigation systems, along with extreme weather, place increased demands on car batteries and often lead to a shortened life expectancy.

Battery checks in automotive facilities across Ontario range from $30 to $50. CAA members can call for a battery check through the CAA Battery Assist Program as one of their service cars. Signs that your battery may need to be replaced include: cranking, grinding or clicking when turning on the ignition.

A survey conducted by CAA on car battery health and testing showed that one in four CAA members in South Central Ontario didn’t know when they should check their battery and less than half plan to get their battery tested before the winter. The survey also revealed that of those motorists that don’t plan to have their battery tested, close to one third didn’t know they needed to have their battery tested at all.

To help motorists avoid a dead battery, CAA has provided a checklist of preventative maintenance options.

  • Swap out your old one – Most batteries last between three to five years. If yours is getting old, replace it before wintertime.
  • Keep corrosion at bay – The white or blue powder that appears on your battery terminals is corrosion, which can prevent a car from starting. Inspect your battery and carefully clean away any residue that you find.
  • Install a battery blanket – These handy devices, which need to be plugged into an outlet, bathe your battery in heat. That stops the fluids inside from freezing. You can also install a trickle charger, which does virtually the same thing.
  • Turn off your accessories – Don’t start the car with the heater and radio on. They can use up the power coming from the vehicle’s alternator and prevent the battery from charging.
  • Disconnect your battery – If your car is going to sit idle for an extended period, unplug your battery. Some devices, like clocks and alarm systems, use power when the car is off. Left long enough, they can drain the battery.

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