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Cold kills car batteries across the Tri-States

If you had to scrape ice and snow off your car before heading to work Thursday, consider yourself lucky. You could’ve ended up having to jump-start your car to head to work, which means it’s probably time for a new car battery.

Experts said now’s the time of year many people discover their battery is failing, a surprise expense they say could cost you a $100-250 depending on the battery.

“I came to work this morning and tried to start my car and and it would not turn over, it just kinda went, click click click,” said Katie Kraushaar.

She said that’s when she called DJ Peters, owner of Niehaus Auto, to come get the car and replace the battery.

Peters said days like today keep him busy.

“Of course when vehicles don’t start people still gotta go to work, so we get called out for lots of jumps and tows,” said Peters.

Technicians at Interstate Battery in Quincy said that wasn’t a unique situation, they replaced dozens of dead batteries all throughout morning.

“I was expecting it fully because when it gets cold like this, when we get that first cold snap, it kills a lot of batteries, so we usually get slammed like this,” said Business to Business Sales Manager Interstate Batteries
Justin Heming.

He said his Halloween costume didn’t get in the way as they replaced so many batteries they had to start working on cars in their warehouse as well.

He said to avoid the problem altogether, make sure you go in for a free check before the winter weather.

“That’s gonna be the biggest thing is just knowing before it happens, but if you wake up in the morning and it’s cold and your battery’s dead, you can jump start it and get it here,” said Heming.

In newer cars, Heming said you should use an external jumper, because a car-to-car jump could damage the electrical systems.

Chris Mueller was at Interstate this morning for a battery replacement. He said he already planned to get his battery replaced today, and was glad he did before something bad happened.

“I drive out to the farm quite a bit, and if I had a dead battery out there it would be at least a half hour, 45 minutes before I could get a family for friend to come out and help me,” said Mueller.

Heming said over the Summer, many batteries become brittle due to the Summer heat, which is why they fail when the cold hits.

According to Heming, batteries typically last four to four and a half years in this region. He says batteries in new cars can last about half that long however.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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