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BCAA reporting spike in car battery replacement calls because of COVID-19

BCAA reports spike in car battery replacement calls because of Covid-19
According to BCAA, staying home and letting cars sit for long periods of time is causing problems for B.C. drivers, when its time to start up again for essential trips.

It starts with the sound of click-click-click when trying to start your vehicle.

That sound is soon followed by calls for help, usually to the B.C. Automobile Association about a non-starting vehicle and a dead battery.

“Right now, our call for battery replacements have jumped up 50 per cent, which is pretty dramatic,” said Josh Smythe, BCAA customer service manager.

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According to Smythe, the novel coronavirus pandemic is playing a role in non-starting vehicles and dead batteries.

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More specifically, because many people are staying at home because of COVID-19, more vehicles are sitting idle.

As a result, more and more car batteries are dying in driveways.

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“We are using vehicles for essential trips only, which is really limiting the amount we use that car,” Smythe said.

That limiting use has a negative affect on the car’s battery life — a vehicle needs to be operating so the battery can be recharged.

To see how bad the situation really is, Global News visited M and T Northside Services in Kelowna’s north end.

Mechanics were busy changing tires, but they were also busy changing batteries.

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“A lot of batteries are right on the edge of dying,” M and T owner Carlos Capela told Global News.

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“They have lasted seven years, which is the better than the average of five, and now they are sitting bit more and its over.”

That’s leaving a lot of B.C. car owners listening to that dreaded sound of . . .

“Click-click-click-click,” said Capela, mimicking the sound of a dead car battery when trying to try to turn it over.

However, there is an inexpensive defence against repair expense that both BCAA and Capela recommend.

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UBC Okanagan researchers building a better battery

It’s a simple battery maintainer, one that can keep you car charged and save your pocket-book, all at the same time.

“Prolong the life of the battery for sure,” Capela said.

Another positive for longer car battery life a good, old-fashioned long drive.

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“Maybe take the long way to grocery store or maybe not go to the closest one, go to the next one down the line,” Smythe said.

“That little bit of extra time often adds just enough to prevent this from going on.”

It could save you a few hundred dollars as well as a headache.

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