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The dangers of boosting batteries in extreme cold

Last Updated Jan 16, 2020 at 11:48 am MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – Nothing ruins a beautiful minus-30-degree day more than a car that won’t start.

If you can’t wait for a boost, you may try and do it yourself but in these temperatures that’s easier said than done.

“Batteries have been known to explode in rare cases,” said Brandon Klassen with the Alberta Motor Association (AMA). “There is a risk if the battery is frozen solid.”

The AMA has been overwhelmed with calls since Sunday and as of Thursday morning, those requesting a battery boost in Calgary have to wait at least 24 hours.

That’s where the entrepreneurial spirit takes over with some offering a quicker solution in their neighbourhoods either for a small fee–or for free.

Of course, you can always try and do it yourself.

In the winter, however, it’s not as simple as clamping cables on and starting the car.

“The electrical systems nowadays just aren’t the same as they used to be and getting someone to do it that doesn’t know what they’re doing can cause some issues to your vehicle,” said Klassen. “It can also cause issues from a safety perspective because if there’s a battery frozen because of the weather, there could be an issue with the battery exploding.”

If all else fails, cars should start thawing out at the beginning of next week when temperatures will move to the positives.