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CAA seeing spike in service calls in Guelph, Waterloo region during cold snap

CAA has been receiving more calls as temperatures plunge into a deep freeze. Brittany Greenslade /Global News

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) says it is seeing a spike in calls for service during the cold snap in south-central Ontario this week.

Their daily call volumes have doubled over the last number of days, according to Kaitlynn Furse, manager of public relations.

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“On a normal winter day, we’ll receive about 4,000 calls,” Furse said. “Over the past few days, that number has doubled pretty much every day, so very, very high call volumes.”

In Waterloo region, CAA responded to 181 calls on Wednesday, 135 rescues as of noon Thursday and they were predicting another 236 on Thursday.

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In Guelph, CAA responded to 141 calls on Wednesday, 62 as of noon Thursday and they were predicting another 181 calls for Thursday.

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“A large amount are for [dead] batteries,” Furse said, noting they have actually seen a 25 per cent increase in battery failure calls over the last five years.

“Even if you have a fully-charged brand new battery, it loses about 30 per cent of its power in these really cold conditions.”

She added that a battery is most likely near the end of its life when its approaching five years old and recommends having a certified mechanic inspect it.

“Batteries are actually reducing in their length of life as it is because of these extreme temperatures, and also because of the entertainment systems that we’re seeing,” Furse said.

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Warning signs that a battery is about to die include vehicles stalling, odd sounds when turning on the vehicle and dimmed headlights when the vehicle is idling.

CAA is also urging drivers to pack a fully-stocked emergency kit when getting on the road during extreme cold, along with extra clothes and heat packs.

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