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Cold Takes Toll on Car Batteries

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - There was barely enough time for Julie Coleson to breath between phone calls and customer visits at Interstate All Battery Center on Monday morning. Coleson, the store manager, was fielding phone calls and customers from the second she opened the doors.

Car and truck batteries were flying off the shelves, and she said some of her stock was running low from the higher-than-usual demand.

"A lot of the truck batteries and stuff like that but, most of the time, most of the batteries we have, we're usually getting them in in a day or two if we don't have them in stock today."

Coleson kept her sales staff mostly indoors due to the brutal windchills outside.

"Just leaving them out there for not more than 10 minutes at a time, and making sure that they're safe," said Coleson.

But sales associate Cory Mayhew still had some installations to do; he was guessing about double that of a typical day.

"Depending on if people coming in the way that they are, I'd say ten or more," Mayhew said.

For some batteries that die in the cold, Coleson says age is the primary issue. But for others, she said it's because they don't see use for days at a time.

"We need to make sure that we are running them and starting them every day, making sure that you're keeping it in a heated garage if you can," Coleson explained.

Having jumper cables handy is also crucial, because when it gets this cold, Coleson doesn't send her staff out on house calls. Instead, she focuses on what can be done in-store or just out the door.

"Just making sure we're outrageously dependable, and making sure everyone's on the road when they need to be," Coleson explained.

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