Battery Blues

I miss the good old days when cars were simple. If your battery was dead then you car didn’t start. That was it. But now… oh man.

Dead Battery

The weather was actually pretty good a couple of days ago. A lot of the snow had melted and the roads, for the most part, were dry and free of debris. I thought I’d take my car for a quick spin so I headed over to work to pick it up.  I recently got the Tron soundtrack and thought it would be fun to listen to it on my car stereo. It probably would have been…

My first clue that there was going to be a problem was when the door didn’t want to open. I waved my key at the car and said a few encouraging things and the door finally unlocked. The interior lights seemed fine so I pushed the ignition switch. The car began to have convulsions. It made several loud clicks (the starter unsuccessfully trying to turn the engine over), the stereo blared to life accented by crackling, the interior lights began to dance, both windows rolled down about an inch and the left headlight started to flicker. I turned the car off. But you know cars these days. When you turn them off they don’t actually go off. The left headlight kept sputtering and the lights on the dash flickered uncontrollably.

I might have been able to do something about, but that that moment a voice said, “Sir, can you please step outside?” I hopped out of my car, and shut the door, hoping that would let the car know we were done. I turned around and was greeted a police officer. “What are you doing?” he asked.  I suppose I looked a little suspicious…standing there with the bay door open… apparently hot wiring a corvette… .at 1:00am.  I managed to soothe the policeman and returned to the task at hand.

The door was giving me trouble again. Back to square one. I went to pull  my key out  to show the car that everything was okay. No keys. I looked around for a bit and then it hit me. I pressed my face against the car’s window. Beneath the dim interior light I cold see the key nestled safely in the cup holder. Deja Vu.

I tried to stay calm. I explained the problem to the car and tried to the door again. To my disbelief it opened. I grabbed the key, popped the hood and got to work. The car clearly needed a charge. After I got things hooked up I wandered around work for a few minutes trying to decide if I’d go home or wait for the car to charge (Tron’s music was still beckoning and, after my ordeal, I would have enjoyed a drive). That’s when I noticed a charger that Jim had brought to work for his car (which, ironically, was also sitting dead in our shop).  “This has a jump start feature!” I noticed excitedly.

I switched the battery chargers out and set Jim’s charger to the jump mode. I gave a the car a few minutes and then climbed back inside to try again. No blinking dashboard lights- good.  I pushed the ignition button again. The car briefly turned over and then reverted back to clicking mode. The lights flickered and then the left headlight went out completely. I turned the car off and the right headlight began to strobe and the left window dropped halfway down. My radar detector turned on and the “low voltage” warning light blinked at me. Nice.

That was enough of that. I put my old charger back on, set it to trickle charge and went home. The next morning I went back to see how things had gone. I unhooked the charger. No problem getting into the car. I fired it up. It turned over perfectly and everything seemed in order. I revved the car a few times. Awesome. All the stereo presets were even intact. I’d brought her back from the edge of life!

And I would have gone for a drive that night except mother nature decided I was clearly in need of a break from my car. It snowed about three inches in the late evening. And that’s my story. I guess you could say I got the battery blues. Yeah I got the “my car won’t start, ’cause the battery is dead” blues.

Posted by Cam Hughes, January 9th, 2010