AAA Releases Information on Car Battery Failures

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Tampa, Florida - September 20, 2012

Between July and September, service requests for battery assistance can be as much as 75 percent of AAA’s total call volume. However, nearly half of those calls are for a discharged battery.

Car batteries often to fail because of scorching temperatures which cause battery fluids to evaporate. This damages the internal structure of the battery and shortens its life span.

Seasonal residents, returning to the southern states, are particularly susceptible to experiencing discharged car batteries. The culprit could be the heat or if they have not driven their vehicles for an extended period of time.

“A car battery warranty only covers defective materials within the battery such as a separation of lead plates,” said Gerry Gutowski, Sr. Vice President, AAA Automotive Services, The Auto Club Group. “A severely discharged battery is not covered by any battery manufacturer’s warranty.”

When a motorist wants to replace their battery, it is important they understand what the warranty covers. The industry standard for automotive battery defects, which are covered under a battery manufacturer’s warranty, is less than 2 percent.

Motorists with a discharged battery are fortunate because they may not have to purchase a new battery. However, the battery may need to be charged for up to eight hours or overnight on a low-amp trickle charge. Motorists can have this done at an auto shop, repair facility, or they may purchase a battery charger. The charging protocol depends on the size and type of the battery being charged.

“Think of it this way, if you bought a cell phone and decided not to charge it at all, within a few days your phone battery would be dead and would not work—a car battery is not that different,” said Jay Bolster, senior manager, AAA Battery Service Operations.

The average life of a battery can span as little as 30 months because of the amount of power required by the average ‘modern’ vehicle. Today, car batteries are required to power security and diagnostic systems along with engine management tools, long after a driver parks their car. Many motorists are also charging cell phones, iPod players, navigation systems, and DVD players. All these power needs drain that same 12-volt battery motorists have relied on since the 1960s when it became the world standard.

AAA Tips: How to Detect & Prevent Upcoming Battery Failure

Drivers 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
Motorists will know if the battery is discharged because the car may make a series of rapid clicks and will not start
Have the charging system tested at the same time as your battery; under or overcharging can damage the battery and may leave you stranded.


The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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