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Towing Companies Keep Busy During Frigid Weather

by on January 08, 2014 10:45 AM

Below zero temperatures can mean big trouble for vehicles.

Thanks to record low temperatures, local towing companies saw a dramatic increase in calls for service Tuesday for dead batteries and stalled diesel vehicles.

Cathy Tennis, owner of Tennis Towing, says on a typical winter day the shop will see roughly 20 calls for towing. But on Tuesday, before 2 p.m., the business had already responded to 30 calls.

"(Monday) night we didn't see much of a difference. Now today has been a whole other story for sure," says Tennis. "Having that many calls in half of a day shows you how much the impact is."

Scott Auman, general manger of Walk's Service Center, says his shop also saw an increase in calls for service Tuesday, mostly for dead batteries.

Typically, the business sees one or two calls a day for a dead battery. On Tuesday, the shop received between 15 and 20 calls by 2 p.m

"This weather really tends to be bad news for batteries," he says. "Batteries weaken overtime and of course cold weather is worse for it."

Towing companies saw an uptick in calls despite schools, and some businesses, closing due to dangerously low temperatures.

"I can't imagine what it would be like if everyone had been out," Tennis says.

Diesel vehicles saw lots of trouble Tuesday, from emergency vehicles to pick-up trucks to larger, tractor-trailers.

With diesel, once the temperature gets below zero there is potential for the fuel to gel, stopping it from running through the motor properly.

"You have to think about temperature while you're driving and the wind chill on the fuel tank," says Tennis.

When that happens, it leaves drivers stranded.

"You have to get them inside where the fuel can warm up and then add an additive and let it run through the fuel system," says Tennis.

Tennis called in extra staff Tuesday to meet the demand. The staff kept warm by dressing properly, with layers and skin covered. The crew also got inside for a warm lunch, she says.

With severe weather, Tennis says it's important for drivers to keep a blanket, water and flashlight in their vehicle, along with anything else they might need.

"That way if they do have a problem they can do the best they can until we get there to respond to them," she says.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government. jenn.miller@statecollege.com
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