The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is asking drivers to plug in their vehicles as calls for roadside assistance soar during this deep freeze.

Over the past few days AMA has seen double its average call volume, Manager of Technical Services for the Alberta Motor Association, Randy Loyk says they've responded to five times the normal number of battery-related calls.

"We have completed well over 3,000 calls a day, and a lot of these calls are boosting calls so that's telling us that people aren't plugging in their vehicles," Loyk says. "It's very important the next few days with these colder temperatures that people are plugging in their vehicles."

Loyk says motorists should be plugging vehicles in for a least four hours before driving when temperatures drop below -15C.

That includes newer vehicles, because it's hard on an engine's components to turn over if the block heater hasn't been plugged in.

"Although these vehicles start pretty good in colder temperatures it's still a good idea to plug them in for a number of reasons, your oil starts flowing a lot sooner in the engine, the engine comes up to temperature a lot quicker so you don't need to idle for a long period of time."

Besides plugging a block heater in, there's a few other steps drivers can take to ensure their vehicle runs smoothly during this deep freeze.

"Make sure that when you get your oil changed that you do change it over to a synthetic oil, this allows the engine to turn over a lot easier during these cold temperatures. Get your battery checked, it's very important that it's up to specifications. If it's not you're going to run into problems during these lower temperatures. At the same time they can do a block heater check on your vehicle, we see a lot of damaged block heater cords or block heaters that are not working."

It's also important that motorists make sure fluids and fuel are topped up before heading out, and to keep in touch with others when driving in rural areas.

"If you are heading out on the highway, let somebody know when you're going and when you're expected to arrive at your destination, just so somebody is expecting you and they know where you're at."

AMA also recommends keeping an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle including such items as; a first-aid kit, blanket, warm clothes, phone charger, sand, road salt or non-clumpy kitty litter, ice scraper and snow brush, shovel, flashlight with spare batteries, food, and water.


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