On being powerless — 14 Comments

  1. Had it been parked-up, locked and unused for a long period? If so, you can probably blame the alarm/immobiliser – whenever you lock it, that’s working away, gobbling power, flattening the battery. If it’s garaged, don’t lock it, that’s my tip. Or just drive it more, sod the Polar Bears.

    • It had only been immobile for a couple of days. I suspect the battery may be on the way out as it gave no previous problems.

      Garaged? Hah! You should see my garage. Apart from the lawn tractor, wheelbarrow, various other bits of gardening stuff and central heating, it’s full to the brim with cardboard boxes. I must clear them out some year…..

      • Well now, your garage is very much like the one I have. Except I have no central heating unit or lawn tractor. The garden tools are hanging on the walls and the wheelbarrow is outside. Apparently, I have more boxes than you do. (Or maybe my boxes are larger?) Also, I have a single car garage which must be taken into account.

  2. Get ready to buy a new battery. Best not done when you are really desparate, cos you will pay tourist rates for something not quite ideal.
    All the lights, heaters, fans, etc. are tough on the battery and in car charger can hardly cope. Especially if battery fluid level is low.
    Then trying to start with battery nearly dead can be the coup de no grace.
    Imagine those lead plates’ silent scream.
    In mean time try and always park facing down a long hill.
    Good luck, And may the road rise up to meet you, etc. But not in a falling down blootered way.

    • I’d advise against the old ‘downhill bump-start’ method in any car less than 20 years old – this can cause unburnt fuel to enter the catalytic converter which, once the engine fires, can cause fatal damage to it, which you’ll only discover at the next annual emissions test, followed by a large bill. Better to stick to jump-leads nowadays.

    • Ironically, for someone living on the side of a mountain, the land around here is quite flat. The nearest decent hill is nearly a mile away and I’m not going to park up down there!

      I have one of those battery pack jump starters which I managed to unearth from my junk. Now all I have to find is the power jead to charge that……

      • I’ve got a similar jump-start pack, it lives permanently on charge in the garage, so it’s always ready – which guarantees I’ll never need it. You can also usually charge those from a power-socket in the car so, if you’ve got a known dodgy battery, it’s smart to leave the jump-pack in the car, charging all the time when you’re driving, so it’s available when you’re not.

        I don’t know the age/mileage of your car but modern batteries should last at least 10 years, 100k miles, often a lot more – if it’s much younger than that, there may be an alternator fault lurking behind the symptoms, fitting an unnecessary new battery merely delays solving that root-cause. A multimeter should give a clue what the alternator’s doing, or not.

      • Seems you only have three choices Grandad. Buy a new battery, move to a property with an existing hill, or put in a pool and use the spoils to build your own hill.

        On the bright side, you got your pipe tobacco.

      • Ah, Richard, the mecahnical wizard in our little corner of Somerset did similarly. He wasn’t even retirement age. He just announced he was leaving and disappeared into the sunset. Brian, the other mechanic, was left to take over the business and to deal with the miracle seekers.

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