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Auto Expert: Vehicle Batteries

By AMA Staff

Vehicle batteries are a lot like a cup of coffee on a Monday morning: absolutely essential to getting your motor running. Unfortunately, many of us don’t think about these unsung heroes until it’s too late, which explains why battery boosts are among the most popular requests made to AMA Roadside Assistance.

In this month’s Auto Expert, we ask AMA’s chief mechanic Randy Loyk—a Manager in Automotive Services with four decades of industry experience—to “discharge” his knowledge of vehicle batteries, and explain how CAA Battery Service can help you this winter.

What is CAA Battery Service? I thought AMA just did boosts?
Boosts are certainly a huge part of our business. But CAA Battery Service, which is exclusive to members, also includes free battery testing and competitive pricing on new CAA Premium Batteries, which are delivered and installed by our professional technicians. You don’t even have to leave your house!

How often should I get my battery tested?
Although battery life varies based on vehicle and weather conditions, most have a life cycle of three to five years. So if your battery is more than three years old, booking a free test before winter is a wise preventative measure.

Wait, why would winter affect my battery?
Extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery, making it harder for your vehicle to start. In fact, battery output drops by about half at -18 C. Furthermore, when the water in a battery freezes, the expansion can cause irreparable damage to the cells. Keeping your battery fully charged—either by driving regularly or by using a battery tender—will help prevent these winter woes.

Vehicle Batteries CAA Service Highlights

Do I need to perform routine maintenance on my battery?
Working with lead acid batteries can be risky, as any leaks could result in corrosive material getting in your eyes or on your skin. That’s why our technicians always wear safety glasses and carry eye-rinse in their pockets when doing a test or installation. But it’s a good idea to occasionally check that all your terminal connections are clean, snug, free of leaks and protected from the elements. If anything looks questionable, give us a call and we’ll come to you.

What does a CAA Premium Battery warranty cover?
Every CAA Premium Battery comes with an industry-leading six-year warranty, including free replacement in the first three years.

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What is a battery tender?
Battery tenders are recommended for people who leave their vehicles inactive for two weeks or longer—snowbirds, for example—or people whose regular commutes are extremely short. A tender ensures your battery maintains its proper storage voltage, giving you the peace of mind that your vehicle will start when you need it.

I’m not sure if CAA Battery Service is available in my area. How can I find out?
You can call our Roadside Assistance team at 1-800-CAA-HELP, or check out our website for a full list of CAA Battery Service providers and their locations. Alberta locations of Lube City, an AMA partner, also offer members the same free tests and exclusive battery pricing—including installation.