27 August 2010


CONTACT: Joanna Newton, Automotive Services, AAA Public Relations, (813) 787-6886 cell

Jay Bolster, Sr. Manager, AAA Battery Service Operations, (321) 436-3068 cell 


Tennessee ERS calls for dead batteries increased 20 percent from 2008 to 2009
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2010) — In the past decade, AAA’s requests for battery assistance spiked from 4,000 a year to more than 400 thousand. Throughout the Labor Day weekend in Tennessee, the call volume for AAA Service Technicians to provide jump starts and battery replacements to stranded motorists increased 20 percent from 2008 to 2009.
“We want motorists to be prepared if their battery fails this Labor Day weekend. It’s a busy holiday for motorists and extremely hot—the heat alone can drain a battery,” said Jay Bolster, senior manager, AAA Battery Service Operations. “Traditionally, car batteries last an average of 37 months in a hot climate but now, the average life of a battery can be as little as two years because of the massive amount of power required by the average ‘modern’ car and driver.”
The power needs of a modern-day vehicle drain the same 12-volt battery drivers have relied on since 1960. Car batteries used to charge items such as cell phones, iPods, and navigation systems are more likely to need to be charged and replaced sooner than one might expect. Cars also draw extra energy to power fans, security and diagnostic systems, and engine management tools even when the car is not being driven.
In 2008, AAA Service Technicians responded to 238 Tennessee motorists with battery issues throughout the Labor Day weekend (Aug. 29-Sept. 2) versus the 285 motorists in 2009 (Sept. 4-8), even though overall call volume decreased 0.6 percent in the state.
“The increased temperatures and use of more after-market products increase the chance a car battery will die,” said John Droese, AAA Regional Fleet Manager in Tennessee. “If you need to change your car battery this holiday weekend, it’s important to know your limitations because things are not like they were in the old days. Even though the battery itself has not changed in more than 30 years, what used to take 15 minutes, can now take up to an hour if you don’t have the right tools since cars are designed so differently.”
Drivers may get an early warning when their car battery is about to die. Motorists may notice their car will start slower than usual, interior lights may start to dim or flicker and after market equipment may not function properly. This is the time to test the battery to see if it needs to be charged or replaced to prevent being stranded. Motorists will know if the battery has failed because the car will make a series of rapid clicks and will not start. 
How to Properly Jump Start Your Car Battery:
  • See your owner’s manual for detailed information on how to care for your vehicle
  • Always wear safety glasses when jump starting a battery in case of an explosion
  • Check for visible signs of failure
  • Corroded connections
  • Loose connections
  • Attach the negative connection to the metal frame of the car to avoid too much power going into the negative battery
  • Attach jumper cables to dead battery first to prevent live cables
  • Attach positive cable and negative cable last to the live battery to avoid sparks
  • Always double check connections to make sure you have correct polarity to avoid damage to the car’s electrical system
  • If in doubt, you can always use your AAA Membership and call on AAA’s service technicians to assist you with your car battery
AAA Auto Club South is the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, West and Middle Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.
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