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Auto Shops Running Low on Batteries After Winter Blast

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  You get up, get dressed, and are heading to work.  You scrape the ice off your car, jump into the front seat, turn the key, and…dead battery.

Bummer.

That's the situation many Iowans are finding themselves in this winter. And that’s a problem, because there’s a battery shortage in the area. Auto shops say while they have a few batteries left in stock, getting a restock is proving challenging.

“My warehouse stocks thousands of batteries, and for them to have to go outta town to get more, that tells you right there. It's been hard keeping them on the shelves for them if I'm having to wait a day here to get them,” said Luke Veik, who manages Midtown Auto Repair.

Not only that, but with a bunch of people in the same boat, getting to an auto repair shop can be tough.

“The tow company I normally use is 30 cars behind right now, which is huge, I've never ever seen that before. I've called two other companies and they're in about the same boat. It's gonna be a really hard time finding a tow nowadays,” said Veik.

Veik said if you're lucky enough to not have needed a jump recently, be proactive.

“Come visit your local shop and they'll be more than happy to test that battery, and that's one thing you can do to be proactive. Go in now while it is running, if you notice a slow start or something, come in, get it tested, a lot of parts stores will do that for free, as well,” he said.

Even though a battery may seem like something you can change yourself, Veik said it's a good idea to let the pros handle the situation.

“Finding your battery can be very difficult at that, as well as if those terminals are crossed at any point in time you can blow a lot of fuses and cause a lot more severe problems for yourself. And you're going to be paying for testing time on top of that,” he said.

Veik recommends looking to see when your battery was installed; batteries typically don’t last more than seven years. Auto experts also say to start your car a few times a day to keep the battery warm.