AAA Cleveland and local mechanics swamped during cold blast

CLEVELAND - AAA Cleveland was swamped Wednesday and expects another busy morning and afternoon Thursday.

By late Wednesday morning, they had handled more than 500 calls for service, including drivers need tows, and help with dead batteries and flat tires

By 3 p.m., AAA Cleveland had already handled more than 1,100 calls, which is very high considering many people are still off work and school from the holidays.

AAA handles about 900 calls on a typical winter day in Cleveland, but expects to handle close to a 24-hour total of 18,000 calls by the end of Wednesday.

Downtown Safeway Tire and Car Care mechanic Chuck Pulaski is also very busy this week with some of the coldest air in two years digging into Cleveland. 

"Cold will discharge your battery and make it so it doesn't start the vehicle, but it can usually be saved with a charge. But heat in the summer will destroy the components of a weak battery and make it unusable," Pulaski said.

Getting your battery tested and recharged for about 25 bucks can keep your battery going during the winter.

Pulaski said you should have your battery charged after three years and buy a new one after five years. A good car battery costs about $150, Pulaski said.

This cold weather also impacts tires.

"For every 10 degrees of temperature drop, you lose a pound of air pressure. So if you set the tire pressure when it's 60 degrees and it drops to 20 degrees you've lost four pounds of air pressure right there. So tires sit lower and they run hotter and you're more likely to blow a tire," Pulaski said.

AAA advised that if you do break down on the side of the road put your hood up, open your trunk and stay in your vehicle until help arrives that way other drivers will notice you're broken down and you're car is less likely to be struck by another vehicle.

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