Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The new car adventures

My car got 36.9 mpg on the way up this trip. I filled up right after I arrived so the mileage wouldn't be diminished by any city driving. I suspect that not running the airconditioning for any of the trip may have made a significant difference.

On the way up, I had another rest area adventure. Some woman approached me and asked if I had jumper cables. I said yes, and then her male companion said they were over in the Pontiac further down in the parking lot.

He said it was a new battery and he didn't know why it had died over night, but it might be loose cables, because he had jiggled one the day or the week before and the car had started right up after it seemed like it wouldn't.

When I got over there I pulled out a couple of box wrenches I have in the trunk to see if they'd fit the battery terminal attachment. These, however were the small bolt posts that go into the battery. I had to get my socket set. After trying about eight sockets (because I could see that it was a small size, but I had no idea what size that really meant for a socket--the first few I tried were too small, the next were too big. Finally I narrowed down to the right one.

I'm sure any real mechanically inclined person with an adequate sense of depth perception would have got it in one or at the most three. I also looked at the water level as long as I was there and found that four of the six battery cells were low on water. I told him that would need to be fixed, too.

Anyway, tightening the battery terminals had no effect on the starting of the car. Next I attached my battery using the cables. We did it the safe way--negative cable on my negative battery pole, positive on my positive and then negative on metal of his car and positive on his positive battery pole. It still didn't start. Sooooooooooo I went ahead and put the other negative on his negative battery pole. The car headlights came on at that point.

"Oh! The lights were on all night," he said, shocked. "That's why the battery died over night!"

As he smiled and continued to watch his headlights, I said, "Turn your lights off."

Then with my car set to revving a little higher than idle, I told him to get in his car and start it. I stood by the jumper cable to take it off his battery as soon as he started (in hopes of not destroying nor damaging either his nor my electrical system).

His car started. I pulled away the cables. I told him: don't let it die--it won't start again. I left him and his companion to do whatever they planned next.

1 comment:

Carrie K said...

I'm jealous. I only got 34 mpg w/o the a/c and driving slowly up the silly mountains.

Nice to help out fellow stranded motorists!