Dead battery calls up as cars sit idle during COVID-19 lockdowns

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AAA is seeing a sharp increase in battery service calls in Virginia as stay at home orders remain in place and vehicles stay parked.

During the month of April, AAA saw a 28% increase in the number of calls for battery service compared to April of 2019 in Virginia. Battery service calls last month made up 43% of AAA service calls and resulted in 10,353 responses. Overall, calls for roadside assistance are down more than 28% this year as there are fewer vehicles on the roadways.

Always there for drivers, the auto club has been working diligently to help drivers whose car batteries have failed through our AAA Mobile Battery Service which will:

  • Come to wherever you’re located,
  • Perform a diagnostic test of your electrical system,
  • Replace your battery right on the spot if needed.

Signs of a weak battery may include: clicking noises when turning key; the engine turning over slowly; dim interior lighting or warning lights on the dashboard.

If your car hasn’t hit the road in a while, AAA encourages you to take some simple steps to keep you and your vehicle safe.

  • Take Charge: Drive your vehicle(s) once a week to ensure the battery stays properly charged, even if that is just around the corner. If you won’t be driving your car much, consider buying a battery tender. It’ll ensure your battery maintains its charge at proper storage voltage when not in use.
  • Gas Goes a Long Way: Keep your gas tank level at three-fourths or full. Full tanks provide less space for air and help minimize the possibility of condensation.
  • Fluid Situation: Check oil, brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Replace or re-fill as needed by consulting your owner’s manual.
  • Under Pressure: Check the tire pressure and fill, as needed, to the proper inflation amount located inside the driver’s door.
  • Road Trip Ready: As an added precaution, consider taking your vehicle to your trusted repair shop, such as an AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, for service. Make sure to call first for shop hours and procedures for bringing in a car for service.
  • Keep it Clean: Keeping a vehicle clean is a great way to protect your investment and maximize your car’s resale value. Now, however, vehicle cleanliness has become even more important due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of cleaning products that will destroy the COVID-19 virus on often used surfaces inside your car, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. Choose carefully because some cleaning products may damage or discolor your upholstery or dash.

“Even though your car isn’t running, the electronic systems still tap the battery, which can affect its performance when you try to start it,” said Brent Stegner, AAA Swift Creek Car Care Manager. “Your tires are the only part of your car that contacts the road and they don’t always hold pressure well, so be sure to check tire pressure.  You can give them a good visual inspection for damage or even flat spots, which would indicate low pressure, especially if your car hasn’t moved in a while.”


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