Winter defibrillators — 11 Comments

  1. I have a feeling that after a month the ol' VW won't crank.  I'll have to give it a jolt first thing.  Those things are a life saver.  I have a bad habit of leaving the lights on in the beetle.  🙂

    • Leaving the lights on is a curse.  Another modern innovation I like is that the car squeals at me if I open the driver's door with the lights on!

  2. Ah, the joys of owning an old Ford.  I hadn't thought of a defibrillator but I carry an entire tool kit in the back of my Explorer.  For me it's been the passenger side window that is giving me grief.  First it stopped working and I traced it to a bad switch so I replaced the switch and all was well for a few months.  Then it stopped working again and now I've figured out that it is a bad motor in the door.  I refuse to pay the $300 they want for a new one so I'm looking at finding a used one but until then the only working power window is the drivers side.

    • I haven't checked lately but the last time I looked the boot was bone dry.  Fingers crossed that I finally cracked that one.

  3. Methinks you need to do some investigation as to why it won't start without a little help. Is the "fan" belt properly tensioned? Very few people realise how much power a car alternator takes to drive, and it's this time of year when it gets called on to do most work. Mid 80's Vauxhalls used to be a favourite for squealing belts the first day the clocks went back. The other thing to check is whether you have something on that shouldn't be – a courtesy light in the boot is one possibility. If it's modern, and has an alarm \ imobiliser, they will draw a small current all the time. If you use the car daily, and do a reasonable distance, this won't be a problem, but short journeys, and long periods of standing will take just enough out of the battery to prevent it turning the engine over. 

    What you really need to do is measure the current (if any) flowing through one of the main battery cables with everything turned off. This requires a digital multimeter set to a low current range. Ideally there shouldn't be anything readable, but much more than 10 milliamps is likely to cause problems. You can also measure the voltage with the engine running – the majority of alternators are set at between 14.3 & 14.5 volts, and should be able to maintain that with lights and heater fan switched on. Anything below 13.5 volts is not really good enough. 





    • My theory is that I tend to take shorter journeys in Winter which reduces the charging period.  Add to that the fact that a colder engine generates a greater drain and there is the problem – I'm taking more out than I'm putting in.  It's a bugger, but short of taking a tour around the mountain just to charge the battery, there isn't much I can do about it.

  4. I must buy one of them things. It could be time-switched to shake me out of bed on cold mornings with a jump start.

    • Nothing like a good jolt first thing in the morning.  Time the light to come on too.  It's bright enough to take the eye out of you.

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