Thursday, June 14, 2007

More car woes

Taking one's car to the garage for diagnosis and repair is just too much fun. Monday's visit with my car just wasn't enough. I had to have more.

As I was taking Jordan for her post-breakfast walk Tues morning I heard a horn blow so I turned around and saw Joe turning onto our street in the Suburban. After Jordan had 'done her business' and we returned to the house Joe said the battery in his Civic appeared to be dead. He was driving the Suburban around with a battery charger plugged into the cigarette lighter so he could then plug the charged-up battery charger into the Civic's cigarette lighter, in hopes of starting the car. (Do any of those gadgets really work?) Instead, I got the jumper cables out of the Civic's trunk, hooked them up to the Suburban and Civic and jump started his car. He looked at me ask if I'd just cracked some secret code.

I suggested he let it run for a while so the alternator could charge the battery back up. (He thinks, but is not sure, he may have left the dome light on the night before.) About 15 minutes later he decided to drive the car to Wal-Mart, since the car issue had prompted him to take the day off and use some comp time. I finally sat down at my desk and started working.

A few minutes later he called from the Wal-Mart packing lot to say that car wouldn't start again. Of course I rolled my eyes and thought him stupid for turning the engine off so soon, since the battery was surely not recharged yet. But rather than say anything like that, I stopped working, drove the Suburban over to the Wal-Mart parking lot to jump start the Civic again.

Despite doing the exact same thing I had done at home, it wouldn't start again. I even revved the Suburban's engine while he tried to start the Civic. Then I tried to remember if we had ever replaced the battery in this car, and I could not remember ever having done so. That means the battery was almost 10 years old!

We both got into the Suburban and drove up Rt 1 to Midway Tire & Auto, explained the situation with the Civic to the guy behind the counter, and left them a key. We returned home and I sat back down and resumed working.

About 3 hours later they called and said the battery was completely dead (unrevivable) so they had replaced it. It was ready for us to pick up. So AGAIN I stopped working and drove Joe over to pay for and pick up his car. It cost about $80. for the battery and $50. for the labor of getting the car from the Wal-Mart parking lot to the garage and replacing the battery. Not too bad, considering it was all done within about 3 hours.

The next day when I took Jordan out for her morning walk I saw Joe's Civic in the driveway again. When I sat down to work I got an email from him saying that the car kept stalling out on him, so he brought it back home and drove the Suburban to work. I called Midway and explained the symptoms. The guy said that sometimes the car's computer needs to reset itself after a battery has been replaced. I'd never heard of this before and was rather skeptical. He suggested keeping a foot on the gas pedal and revving the engine for awhile. When Joe got home we started it up and it ran like normal - no stalling at all. I drove it around the block and stopped several times, with no issue. This time it was me who felt like I'd just cracked the secret code.

Drag Queen name of the day: Tara Bull

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