Warning Signs That Your Battery May Fail

PHILADELPHIA, PA, (January 14, 2013) – Cold winter weather is rough on batteries, as many motorists find out the hard way when their cars won’t start on a chilly day. Battery calls are one of the top three reasons people call AAA roadside assistance (the other two reasons are towing and flat tires).

“The changing technology in today’s automobile has also changed the role of the battery,” says John Ryder, an ASE master auto technician and Approved Auto Repair territory manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s no longer really an issue of cold cranking amps as starters are more efficient. The constant small load the battery now draws when the engine is not running has grown exponentially to support ‘keep alive’ memories for idle, seats, radio, engine control unit and the vast assortment of luxuries that consumers demand.” Some vehicles are already equipped with start – stop technology that further taxes the battery.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says there are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:

Is Your Vehicle Battery at Risk to Fail?


• Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start

• You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on

• Your vehicle has stalled

• Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine

• Your battery is more than three years old - the average life of a battery is 3-5 years, but driving conditions, climate, and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan

“Motorists need to be vigilant and have their battery tested on a routine basis,” Ryder says. “That way it will be cheaper, easier and safer to replace compared to being stranded on the side of the road or in a dark parking lot after work.”

AAA’s trained Battery Service Technicians test batteries at the roadside, and can replace them immediately onsite, wherever the member is located. The average member cost of an installed AAA battery is $119 and includes a three-year free replacement warranty.

Motorists can get their batteries tested by trained technicians at AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers or AAA Approved AutoRepair in their areas. AAA Mid-Atlantic Car Care centers in the Philadelphia region are located at: 849 West Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA 19087 and at: 5233 W. Baltimore Avenue, Clifton Heights, PA 19018.

AAA Mid-Atlantic tested more than 300,000 batteries at the roadside throughout its territory in 2012, with more than a third of that number resulting in defective batteries replaced at the scene. In the five-county Philadelphia area alone, more than 67,000 batteries were tested roadside last year, and more than a third of that number resulted in defective batteries replaced. AAA recycles every battery replaced, saving resources and keeping hazardous waste from landfills.

For some of those motorists calling for battery service, AAA Mid-Atlantic might be sending a “green” truck to the rescue as well. The motor club’s Philadelphia fleet is rolling out six new Ford F-350 battery trucks powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). This is the first CNG-powered AAA roadside assistance fleet in the Eastern United States (AAA clubs also have them in Oklahoma and in Washington state.) Although the mileage between fill-ups is similar to gasoline powered trucks, these trucks will utilize a cheaper fuel source and reduce smog-forming emissions.

AAA Mid-Atlantic serves 700,000 members in the Philadelphia (5-county) region and nearly four million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with personal insurance, financial, automotive and travel services through 63 retail branches, regional operations centers and the internet, at www.aaa.com/community.