On being powerless
I went down to the village yesterday.
It was an extreme emergency trip as I was out of baccy. It’s not often that that happens.
Anyhows I bought my baccy, milk and a couple of other essentials and went to drive home. I turned the ignition key. Clunk! Nothing. The fucking battery was dead.
This was a right pissed off moment. I had two options: I could leave the car there and walk home but I would risk heart failure climbing the damned hill and I would be just as badly off the following day, or I could sit there and sulk. I chose the latter option as it required least effort.
Then it crossed my mind that Daughter was out and about on her travels, so I phoned her. No problems, says she and do I have jump leads. I don’t. No problems says she, she’d buy some as she had been meaning to get them for herself anyway.
So I sat in the car as Daughter sent me progress messages. There were a few of those as every place in Skobieville she tried was out of them. Finally she tried our local garage as a last ditch effort. They had a set! She duly arrived and nosed up to my dead vehicle.
While I was waiting it crossed my mind I had never seen the engine, nor had any idea how to open the bonnet. It shows my age as I would have had the engine striped down several times in my younger days. The big problem was how do I open the bonnet? I searched around and pulled on various levers. I opened the boot, nearly fell out of the car when the seat collapsed and cracked my knee when the steering wheel dropped down, but the bonnet remained unmoved. Then I remembered that this was originally designed as a left hand drive. So I went to the passenger side. There was the lever!
So Daughter jump started the car. She is a fucking star!
This morning I connected up the battery charger.
Shortly after the entire area had a power cut.
Had I overloaded the grid or is someone trying to tell me something?
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.
you’re being made ready for the ‘green’ future, with a bit of early practice
A good lesson on how to survive without electricity [the only power source]?
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.
Is Spanner on holiday this week?
The bugger decided to “retire”. I haven’t seen him in quite a while.
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.
Glad u got it sorted