Paul Miller, Key Towing and Storage driver supervisor, takes a look at a battery Thursday night, while the temperature sat around 20 C. Miller said the Red Deer towing company has been very busy the past week with the low temperatures. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Cold temperatures can make starting vehicle tough

As the weather gets colder, cars get harder to start.

Key Towing and Storage in Red Deer has received plenty of calls over the past week, a number of which have been for battery boosts. This comes as weather has dropped below -30 C at points.

Paul Miller, driver supervisor, said the towing business’ normal response time to a call is one hour. But this past week, it’s taking four or five hours to respond.

“It’s quite a bit busier with the cold snap,” he said. “Every single winter we’ll have stretches like this.”

Miller said when he went home Wednesday night, the 24-hour business had 30 calls on hold.

In addition to battery boosting calls, there are plenty of tow calls after collisions in the snow during winter.

Miller said the most important thing a driver should do if their car doesn’t start is to immediately call for a tow.

“The sooner you call, the sooner we’ll get to you and the busier it gets, the longer the wait time,” he said.

If a driver’s car does start during the hours-long wait for a truck’s arrival, make sure to call and cancel, he added.

“What slows us down the most is when we show up to somebody’s house and find out they no longer need us,” Miller said.

Randy Loyk, Alberta Motor Association (AMA) manager of technical services, said there are three things a driver should do to ensure a car starts in the morning.

“You won’t have any issues if you get your oil changed to synthetic, make sure you battery is in good condition and plug the vehicle in,” said Loyk.

Using synthetic oil allows the engine to turnover quicker in cold temperatures.

Drivers should plug their vehicles in if the temperature drops below -15 C, Loyk said.

If a vehicle won’t start and wasn’t plugged in overnight, Loyk said the driver should plug in the vehicle and wait two hours.

“Generally the vehicle will start, but if it doesn’t give us a call. We’ll come out, determine what the problem is, try to get it going, but if that doesn’t work we’ll tow it to a repair facility,” he said.

Central Alberta isn’t the only place experiencing a number of calls, Loyk added.

“We’re extremely busy right now,” he said. “We’re completing more than 3,000 call around the province. Of those calls, we’re completing five times the normal amount of boosting calls.”



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

VANCOUVER — The new coronavirus has spawned an increase in online and… Continue reading

Three more cases of COVID-19 found in Red Deer

Across the province, two more deaths have been confirmed

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools to lay off support staff June 1

Educational assistants at Red Deer Public Schools will be laid off June… Continue reading

Airport primed for expansion

Ambitious vision sees airport as air freight and aircraft servicing centre

WATCH: Firefighters, RCMP help Red Deer boy celebrate 3rd birthday

Firefighters and RCMP officers helped a Red Deer boy celebrate his third… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

Police in Saskatchewan charge man with killing his parents and son

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

PM, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisis

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Feds likely didn’t have enough protective gear in emergency stockpile: Hajdu

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Supply-line disruptions could cause Canadian drug shortage

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Duration of COVID-19 measures depends on obeying health authorities: PM

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Parliament to sit again to approve more COVID-19 relief as spending climbs

Most Read