Experts Say Extreme Cold Temperatures Put Strain on Vehicles

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Mechanics and tow companies are booked as Iowans prepare for a second winter storm Friday.

Des Moines Resident Holden McGraw found out the hard way his battery was dead, when he car wouldn’t start Thursday.

“Theory is it got too cold outside so the car wouldn’t start. Tried jumping it with other vehicles, would not happen so a few days later got to a company here hoping they would start it up and now we are here,” McGraw said.

McGraw said it sounded like a ‘low gravel’ when he attempted to start the engine.

Midas Assistant Manager Alexander Schell said a battery lasts an average of 50 months.

“When it’s cold it seems to put a lot more stress on it. When we get below that freezing mark it seems to take a real heavy toll on batteries that haven’t been checked or that are weak,” Schell said.

Schell said they like to do oil changes, fill air in the tires, check batteries and more before a winter storm hits.

“We’re checking all over the car looking for things that is problematic during these temperatures,” Schell said.

According to Crow Tow President Randy Crow the company has been seeing 80 to 100 service calls a day.

“It’s at the top end of average. When the cold comes we can still get around pretty quickly, so we can actually do more calls then we can in the snow. The bitter cold we have to be worried about even our own trucks for gelling up and having mechanical failures,” Crow said.

Crow Tow has 700 cars in the lot right now and can hold up to 950.

Crow said it is important to follow snow ordinances and get cars off the streets during a storm.

“It’s a safety issue to have these cars on the street. They can be hit by the snow plow. Then once they plowed around it, its left with crunchy snow behind. Again, being a traffic hazard,” Crow said.

McGraw said he is happy the battery died before the incident and has learned his lesson.

“Even if you know you aren’t doing anything for two days or three days straight, go out and start your car for 10-15 minutes just so you know its running and you know there something broken or nothing wrong with it,” McGraw said.

Crow recommends keeping a shovel and ice scraper in the trunk of your car.

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