Monday, January 08, 2007

Highriser dumb and very self critical

Going to work. Press remote to unlock car. It fails to open. Manually insert key in broken door lock and door opens but no interior light. Call R to come down to carpark with spare remote/key. Car is certainly failing to proceed.

Suspect dirty battery terminals. Push car out of the way and take R's much posher car to work.

Next morning clean one battery terminal. Start to clean unbolt the other and realise 'highriser, aka, old shaky', must have at least once shorted out the terminal against metal and there hasn't been a spark. Deliberately test for spark. Dead. Passing neighbour warns of hydrogen explosion when shorting out a battery. Do not inform neighbour that I am an almost qualified motor mechanic.

Call RACV. Very nice blond ethnic Eastern Euro RACV man comes and jump starts car with not jumper leads but some sort of portable pack. Most impressed.

Turn off car and radiator cooling fan starts running.

(I now have enough information to diagnose, but I am a little stressed and not thinking clearly.)

RACV man tests battery. His conclusion was vague. Probably best to get a new battery but I now know why he did not press the point. Ok, I say, send the battery van. Appearance is everything and my battery looked bad with a build up of salts or whatever it is called on one terminal.

Three batteries to choose from when battery man arrives. El cheapo at $93, 1 year warranty, better at $104 and 2 year warranty. I went for the posh one at $117, with 3 year warranty. Hey, who wants a cheap battery? Not me. I need a good battery.

New battery in, cooling fan comes on and continues to run. Drive car to South Melbourne Market for a dim sim or two and some fruit and veg, hoping the fan problem will sort itself out.

Disconnect and reconnect battery earth cable as required to stop fan running and flattening battery. Problem has remained.

Take R's car to work again this evening, leaving mine at home with the battery disconnected.

The new battery was a waste of money as the old one was fine. What is wrong is that overnight something with the cooling system fan went wrong and the cooling fan came on because of an electrical problem. It totally flattened the battery to the point where not even a light globe would glow. Both RACV peoples assured me that 3 years is the average life for a battery and mine would be that old I suppose, but I know there was nothing wrong with it.

Although I had the timing belt replaced and the hot water shut off and an air con service to the car a year ago, after looking at receipts, it must be about two years since the car had an oil change and tune up, so off to the garage tomorrow to have the cooling fan fixed and and a service. And I now have a very nice clean no water top up battery.........even if I did not need it.

R says I am stupid for getting a 3 year warranty battery as the car won't last that long. It kinda depends on him buying a new car and me buying his old one. Whack it on the mortgage. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?


  1. Oh, the joy of cars.

    That is why I don't have one.

  2. I have a car and I feel stupid whenever I have to deal with a mechanic. I am ready to make this a gay sissy phobia thing, when a (very) hetero friend says he feels exactly the same way.

    Am I paranoid when I wonder how hetero is the straight friend when he would admit such a thing to an openly gay person, me? Or do I over react?

  3. Maybe when you buy R's old car, you can take the new battery out of yours - that way he won't see it as a waste?

  4. And booms at airports are all the safer for it Rosanna.

    That is a hard thing for a straight male to admit Ken. Take it as an honour.

    Already thought of that Daisy Jo. He was ready to throw out a perfectly ok tyre from his car. I keep it in my boot and I will charge him a storage fee when he needs the tyre.

  5. Good call Andrew - I laughed. Alot.