Cold Weather Wreaks Havoc on Car Batteries

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WILLIAMSPORT -- Many of us had to brave the bitter cold weather today to go to work. But imagine this: you jump into the driver's seat to start your car, turn the key...and nothing! Frigid weather can cause trouble for a vehicle's battery, which it did today for many drivers here in Lycoming County.

A steady stream of customers stopped by Willard Battery Outlet on West Fourth Street in Williamsport. They all had the same problem: dead batteries in their vehicles.

"I had to jump it to get it started. I know it's worn out, I checked how long it's been in, it's been almost seven years. It's time to put a new one in," Warren Miller said.

"Getting this cold weather I guess. Other times it just takes right off, but this time it didn't want to," Keith Pepperman said.

Employees at Willard Battery Outlet say they know the drill. The first cold snap of the year means a busy week of business.

"If it stays below zero, we'll be busy. We'll probably run out of batteries," Steve Shaffer said.

The store sold more than 30 batteries in less than three hours!

The professionals say there are things you can do to prolong the life of your car's battery. They recommend unplugging your GPS and your cell phone charger when your car is not running.

"Nothing should be left on these newer cars overnight plugged in," Shaffer said.

Willard Battery Outlet co-owner Steve Shaffer does not recommend starting your car with the heater and radio on. Also, if your car will be stored in a garage for a long period of time, disconnect the battery.

"How you drive it. If you take short trips a lot, you might have some problems. Today's cars are an electrical demand and they ask a battery to do a lot," Shaffer said.

If your battery does die, it is a quick fix, and it will set you back an average of around $70.

Employees at Willard Battery Outlet in Williamsport say today was busy, but they think tomorrow will be even busier. The manager says if the last few years are any indication of how business will be, he expects to sell around 50 batteries tomorrow morning.