Deep freeze becomes dilemma for drivers

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WJLA) – The deep freeze that has Washingtonians shivering is also becoming a driver’s dilemma.

Inside Cardinal Plaza Shell in Springfield, technicians are bringing back to life vehicles that are breaking down in the bitter blast.

"Cars are coming in and out constantly," said technician Nicolas Garcia. He’s mainly boosting batteries and pumping tires.

“We found out the heater wasn’t working,” said Brian Bursiek of Springfield.

His wife says car troubles in this weather are terrible. “It was an inconvenience and the windows would start fogging up and we didn't have any defrost so then it became a safety issue," she said.

Manager Chris Chagnon says every time the temperature plummets, business booms. Unfortunately, the arctic air is also taking a toll on some of his shop’s equipment. A four-wheeler that moves cars around stopped running on Tuesday.

Chagnon says while the weather can easily frustrate drivers, there are things you can do to cut the chance for problems.

“One thing that people probably don't know about is the ability to fill their tires with nitrogen,” he said. “That will cut down on the amount of air pressure that you lose in your tires when the temperature drops like this."

The cold snap is also causing a spike in roadside assistance calls. AAA Mid-Atlantic is taking about a thousand calls an hour.

“The switchboard was totally swamped," said Spokesman John Townsend on Tuesday. “We’ve had people work for AAA for 20 and 30 years and they're saying they've never seen anything like this."

Car experts have learned from experience a simple way of stopping mother nature from putting the brakes on your ride.

“Park your car in a garage,” said Townsend. “If you don't have a garage, what you should do right before bed time [is] go into your driveway, start the car and let it run for about 10 minutes and if it cranks tonight at 10, it'll crank tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.