Thursday, February 19, 2009

Miscellany: Adventures in Automotive Repair

There's perhaps no car problem as irksome as a dead battery. It renders the car completely unusable, but it's also a very easy problem to fix - as long as you have the right tools. When my sister's car mysteriously discharged its battery in the dead of night (she claims her lights were turned off, but I'm not so sure...), the quest began.

First, I tried jump-starting her car. The problem here is that jump-starting is an emergency solution, and her battery seemed to be almost completely discharged; her interior cabin lights were almost too dim to see. After about half an hour, I gave up.

After that, I wanted to remove the battery to check it. Unfortunately, unscrewing the nuts holding the battery cables to the terminals proved challenging without the right wrench. I had to pop into my tool chest and hunt around for the right size. Strangely enough, the winner turned out to be a 10mm wrench I bought for working on my bicycle brakes.

Now the battery is charging overnight in a nearby AutoZone (it was at 7V - too low to see if it could still carry a load or not). My suspicion is that I'll have to buy a new one, but I'm still holding out hope.


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