June 29, 2017

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Cold snap boosts towing firms

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/12/2009 (2753 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IN the midst of a bitter cold snap, some Winnipeggers are finding they really need a boost.

Actually, their vehicles do.

"As soon as there's a slight change in weather, our call volumes go up," Sheldon Sass, operations manager for Dr. Hook Towing Services, said Monday as the temperature reached a high of just -19 C by mid-afternoon.

Dr. Hook has been swamped with an average of 450 to 600 calls a day from people whose vehicles won't start or who've left their vehicles running and then locked themselves out.

"A lot of people are forgetting to plug their cars in," he said, noting vehicle batteries lose 50 per cent of their power when the temperature dips below -18 C if the block heater is not plugged in.

The frigid weather means non-stop action for many Winnipeg tow-truck drivers.

"We're always doing boosts, lockouts and tire changes," said Frank Roberts, 23, who has been driving for Dr. Hook for a little over 18 months.

Roberts said callers can expect to wait between 30 to 45 minutes for a tow truck when the weather is cold.

For Roberts, and other tow-truck drivers like Boris Friesen, the average winter day can net between 10 to 12 service calls, with the majority of calls being lockouts or boosts.

"Sometimes the boost can turn into a tow because they are frozen, and we can't start them," said Friesen.

Sass, Roberts and Friesen all emphasize the importance of plugging in your vehicle to maintain a healthy battery and engine life, as well as to avoid having it freeze.

"At that point, when the vehicle is frozen solid there is nothing we could do and we would have to tow them to a shop to thaw out," says Roberts.

shelley.cook@freepress.mb.ca

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