Extreme cold can be bad for your car

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Extreme cold has descended on our region, and it could wreak havoc on your car.

"Car wouldn't start. Got the little click click noise," described Erica Bray of South Philadelphia.

The dreaded sound came bright and early for the Brays.

Sean Bray went to start the car, but he wasn't going anywhere.

"'Oh shoot, my battery is dead. What am I going to do this morning?'" he recounted.

Mike Desmarets from AAA was soon on his way.

It's been a busy morning for AAA.

"When it's the first big chills of the season, that's when we get swamped," according to Desmarets.

When the temperatures hit freezing, AAA Mid-Atlantic warns car batteries are 35% weaker.

The organization adds at zero degrees, a car battery loses about 60% of its strength.

Battery life can be drained faster if devices like GPS devices and cell phone chargers are plugged in.

"Batteries usually average three to five years, but I have even seen when temperatures drop really below freezing, brand new batteries sometimes go too," explained Desmarets.

AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers throughout the Philadelphia area offer free car battery checks.

"This extreme cold is a warning of what's to come for the winter season. It's not even technically winter yet," pointed out AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Jana Tidwell.

Tidwell advised drivers to take this time to prepare your car.

Check your car battery and wiper fluid. Pack an emergency kit, including jumper cables, rock salt, warm clothes, and even snacks.

"This is just cold, but cold coupled with snow and ice, that's a really dangerous situation to be stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery," said Tidwell.

As for your tires, AAA recommends checking tire pressure frequently because tires lose air when it's this cold.

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