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Towing companies, mechanics busy in blistering cold

Published On: Jan 07 2014 06:59:39 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 07 2014 11:54:49 AM CST
Car batteries cold
MADISON, Wis. -

A true Minnesota man, Rob Dean was in his element.

"I prefer this. I love the cold. I love it," Dean said.

A knight in neon armor Monday, Dean spent his day jumping car after car for Prairie Land Towing.

Monday was busy. Been really busy. A little chilly, but we all survive it. Every year, same time every year it gets cold.

Yet, after buzzing around Madison saving dozens of drivers, even Dean admitted the weather he is so fond of was doing some damage.

"The batteries, they're not able to do the cold-cranking amps that they need to have in there, and their cars are cold," Dean explained. "There's not much you can do about that. You just got to get a jump start and go."

Dean said in this kind of weather, it’s not the battery’s voltage that’s failing, but the battery’s ability to power up the engine in freezing temperatures when the car’s fluids are much harder to move through the vehicle.

"The batteries are rated for what they're rated for. It's the proper battery," Dean said. "They just don't have enough of the cold-cranking amps to get it to turn over, so you do need a boost, basically, to get it to go."

Smart Motors service manager Matt Jones said the shop saw 15 battery-related appointments Monday.

"And this is kind of uncharted territory. We haven't been this cold in several years," Jones said.

Jones said he also sees tire issues with this winter weather and suggested checking your tire pressure at least once a month when it’s cold.

"One of the things you run into with older wheels especially is when it gets really cold, where the tire and the rim meet each other, they can start to bleed air, and that can be more rapid when it's cold," Dean explained. "So that my cause people to get a flat tire, so again making sure you do maintain your tire pressure."

Jones said he has also seen an uptick in animals trying to nest in cars, often finding warm places to live in the engine compartment.

Jones also advised to ease into your commute when it’s this cold to prevent repairs.

"You want to kind of start out slowly to get those things warmed up, not just jump right on the beltline immediately and start going 55 mph," Jones said.

Dean said despite his love for this weather, everyone should just push through to warmer times.

"Keep your spirits up, that's all there is. Summer will be here," Dean said.

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