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Extreme Cold Kills Car Batteries, AAA Flooded With Calls

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined KDKA-TV in October 1988 as a General Assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The cold doesn’t give you many options.

If you want to go out, you have to deal with it and it can take a toll, especially on your car.

This kind of weather stings the skin and kills batteries. A marginal battery yesterday is a dead battery today and at one point Tuesday, the AAA offices reported 328 people stranded and waiting for help.

The operators at AAA hardly had time to breath Tuesday morning.

“We were double, if not more than double, our normal call volume for this morning,” Steve Popovich with AAA said.

Calls from people like Marion Monheim.

“I turned the ignition key and I heard nothing but silence,” Monheim said. “Not what I wanted to hear on a day like this.”

Dan Visnic from Stuckerts Service was the triple a driver who came to Monheim’s rescue. He hooked up a booster and a meter to the battery.

“The battery is about 50 percent, a little less than 45 percent,” Visnic said.

With so many of the cars in our region parked outside, AAA expects to get lots of calls on marginal batteries and when Visnic took off the booster:

“This batter needs to be replaced,” he said.

Monheim gave the nod and Visnic went to work.

And replacing batteries was the bulk of the calls, but other problems arose throughout the day.

“We’ve gotten a lot of lockout calls,” Visnic said. “People go out and start their cars and the door locks and we have to get the doors open while it’s running.”

On the other end of every call is a driver anxious to get rolling again and the weather tends to slow that process a bit.

“It slows down especially my dexterity, hammers that a little,” Visnic said. “But I’m not out here all that long, get back in the vehicle warm up and go to the next call.”

Which is exactly what happened over and over Tuesday, one car rolling and another waiting just around the corner.

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