Crawford Co. Tow Truck Companies Help Drivers With Dead Batteries In Frigid Cold

“We try as hard as we can to get there as fast as possible.”

The arctic waves of chilly conditions are calling tow trucks out for more than just slide-offs.

Car batteries are dying and people aren’t getting far without them.

Technology and the cold do not mix well.

With temperatures sinking well below zero in many areas across Northern Michigan, car batteries aren’t the first thing to go as the wind continues to freeze.

“It makes you do your job faster so you get back in the warmth,” says Walter Weller, who drives a tow truck for AuSable Towing & Recovery out of Crawford County.

Weller has been towing for 27 years.

He knows this blistering cold causes problems and he’s out in the thick of it.

“You got to be crazy if you love doing towing. I guess I’m pretty crazy,” Weller says. “You get a lot more calls from the cold for dead batteries.”

The start of an engine is music to the ears of drivers who have left their rides outside for too long.

Walter says it’s easily avoidable — if you take precaution.

“A lot of people leave their vehicles sit for a week at a time and then wonder why their vehicle won’t start,” Weller says. “You’ve got all that computerized stuff in these vehicles that’s constantly draining on that battery.”

Tow truck drivers like Walter have been doing this for a long time.

He says you can make all the difference by preparing in advance, including having jumper cables on you.

“You know winter is coming,” Weller says. “You got September, October. [They are] the main two months to get that vehicle ready for winter.”

Phil Hendershott, owner and operator of Phil’s Towing in Grayling, agrees and also sees his fair share of cars that won’t start.

“Roughly, during the day, we probably do 25 jump starts,” Hendershott says. “Batteries last anywhere from four to seven years and they should be replaced and obviously have somebody clean your terminals and take care of the maintenance on the vehicle.”

He says the problems aren’t just under the hood.

“Fluids and antifreeze,” Hendershott says. “Make sure your car is ready to go.”

To Weller, it’s about keeping one warm step ahead of Mother Nature.

“Go to any repair shop. Have them test that battery,” Weller says. “It’s rather be safe than sorry.”