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AAA cautions of dead car batteries with freezing temperatures

Megan Zerez
A city parking garage in Ithaca.

Several parts of the area are being hit by an arctic blast through the weekend with temperatures expected to plunge below zero. AAA is warning drivers of potential car battery failure due to freezing temperatures.

Big changes in temperature can cause car battery failure as the cold air makes the fluids in the engine thicker — making it harder to turn the engine over. The battery itself can also be compromised from the cold.

Valerie Puma, of AAA Western and Central New York, said AAA is expecting high volumes of calls Monday and advises allotting extra time to your morning commute just in case.

"You don't want to wait until the last minute in case you do have a dead car battery and need to call AAA," Puma said. "You don't want to be already running late to work when you find that out."

Puma said if you can't park your car inside a garage where it's warmer, turn it on each day and take it for a drive. Even a short jaunt through your neighborhood or a trip around the block can help prevent the possibility of a dead battery when you leave for work Monday morning. This helps prevent the car from getting too cold between uses.

"Not only are you confirming that your car is going to start and it's going to run, but getting it to warm up even just for a little bit is going to combat the freezing temperatures that we're seeing this weekend," Puma said.

AAA also advises having your car battery regularly tested to be proactive for future potential issues — suggesting it be tied to regular oil changes.

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