Utica, NY (WIBX) - This morning's 20-below zero temperatures left many in central New York with a dead battery.

AAA Central Region General Manager Ed Welsh says their call center was flooded with several hundred calls for vehicles that wouldn't start. The problem is most common with batteries that are 3 or more years old, because over time, they lose power and sub-zero temperatures mean even less amperage, he said.

"If the battery is at 50 or 60% of its original amperage, you should consider getting a new one. We have a lot of winter left and February is supposed to be the coldest month of the winter. I would think that we're going to have a lot more sub-zero days left between now and March," Welsh said.

Welsh says 'jump-starting' an engine in these below-zero temps could be very dangerous because there is a possiblity the engine could explode if it's frozen.

"If you're battery is totally dead, I'd want to pop the caps on it and make sure there's no ice in the battery. If you see any ice in that battery, do not attempt to (jump) start it, because it has a good chance of exploding. If you seen ice inside the battery, just be prepared to go buy a new one," he said.

And, if you are planning to buy a new battery, expect to pay between $60 and $120 depending on brand and quality, Welsh said.

"Most places that sell batteries will test the battery for you for free. When you do buy one, make sure the installation, testing and disposal of the old one is all inclusive in the price."