Bitter cold leads to run on car batteries at Milw. area businesses

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The bitter cold this week caused car problems for a lot of people -- and auto repair businesses, and particularly, places that sell car batteries have seen a boom in business this week.

"The battery was seven years old, and it did show up as being a poor battery," Mike Moeller, the president of Remy Battery Company told Les Erdmann on Wednesday, January 8th.

Since it was his wife's car with the troubles, Erdmann says he knew he couldn't wait!

"If she couldn't start the car, I'd be in trouble, so I thought 'well, I better take care of this thing right now!'" Erdmann said.

On Wednesday, January 8th, Erdmann joined a steady stream of southside battery buyers at Milwaukee's Remy Battery Company, where business has been brisk this week!

"We see this about once every 10 years. We even called my father in out of retirement to help answer the phones," Moeller said.

Remy Battery Company is an 83-year-old family business. Moeller says the past few days have involved providing both battery installations and information to drivers.

"It's the cold-cranking amp number that you want to look at," Moeller said.

Moeller says cold-cranking amps describe what a battery puts out at zero degrees Fahrenheit, and is not to be confused with a regular cranking amp rating, which measures the amps generated at 32 degrees.

"It's usually outlined in the owner's manual. You want to match up and meet the original equipment cold-cranking amp rating to your vehicle or greater -- so you don't want to be less than," Moeller said.

On the city's north side, John Kalupa says his Ruby Isle Tire and Service has seen about 99 problems over the past few days.

"Tire problems, battery problems, overheating problems, ditch problems, suspension problems, broken part problems -- all of those types of things, due to the weather," Kalupa said.

Kalupa urges drivers to spend five or 10 minutes warming up vehicles before driving off in them.

"It's less stress on your engine. It's less stress on your transmission -- just to get everything up to operating temperature before you take off in this extreme weather," Kalupa said.