AAA: Heat-worn batteries a concern this holiday travel weekend


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With real-feel temperatures in the triple digits this week, AAA East Central reminds motorists that the heat has just as much potential to kill more batteries as the winter cold. With a nearly record-breaking 47.7 million Americans preparing to travel for Independence Day this weekend, preventative maintenance will be necessary for many to prevent roadside breakdowns.

“Hot sun breaks down the internal components of a battery, and a lot of people may end up stranded at the roadside this weekend,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services, AAA East Central. “Moreover, people letting their cars sit idle during the Pandemic presents additional challenges that thousands of batteries won’t be able to withstand.”

When temperatures climb above 90 degrees for a few consecutive days, AAA experiences a sizable increase in drivers needing assistance for dead batteries. Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components, putting older batteries in danger of failing. It’s for this reason that batteries in cooler northern climates tend to last a few years longer than in hot southern areas. In Pennsylvania, vehicle batteries typically last three to five years.

AAA expects to rescue more than 460,000 Americans at the roadside this weekend, with dead batteries topping the list. Basic battery care can help prevent unexpected problems, and AAA advises vehicle owners to:

Consider having your battery and charging systems tested. Having a battery tested can expose any weaknesses that may break down under extreme circumstances. AAA offers its members on-site battery testing and, if need be, replacements.

Make sure the battery cables are clean and tight. Dirty, loose connections to battery terminals limit the flow of current and are a common cause of issues. Consider cleaning corrosion off of a battery terminal by using a small wire brush and cleaning it with a mix of one tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of water.

Make sure to drive. For vehicle owners who don’t drive often or far, a vehicle should be taken out for a long drive once every week or two. Shorter drives can drain a battery over time, given that it doesn’t have time to recharge properly.

Having a vehicle inspected in the summertime can help stave off breakdowns, especially ahead of long road trips. Motorists can take their vehicles to a certified technician like those who participate in AAA’s Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program. Garages that participate in the AAR program offer qualified technicians, a wide range of professional repair services, and guaranteed quality. These shops meet AAA’s strict quality standards and display AAA’s logo. AAR shops can be found at [AAA.com/AutoRepair]AAA.com/AutoRepair.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 73 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at [news.eastcentral.aaa.com]news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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