It’s That Time Of Year Again

You know, the leaves are falling everywhere and making a giant mess, the Geese are flocking all over the country shitting on everything in their glide path, the nights are getting downright cold, you have to be somewhere for an appointment on a chilly fall morning after a slight freeze overnight so you jump in your car at the last possible minute, turn the key and it goes RUHHHHHHHHR, RUHRRRR, Rhurr, Click, Click, Click.

Hasn’t happened to you yet?

It will, someday.

Cold weather kills marginal batteries dead.

I had to change the battery in my youngest daughters rig Saturday because it shit the bed and she couldn’t get to work.
Last night when I got home from work I was regaled with the tale of The Wifely Unit’s day as hers shit the bed in the parking lot of a local Wally World after she had gone grocery shopping and had sit listening to the radio for a few minutes.
Luckily, she had someone close by and they both had a set of these.

jumper-cables

I am amazed at how many people don’t carry jumper cables in their cars anymore.
Several times at work in just the last year I have had people coming to me asking if I could jump start their car because they had asked around and was told I was pretty much the only one there with a set of jumper cables.

WTF people, really?!
Idiots, I am surrounded by them.

Cheap emergency prep people, if you don’t have some in your fucking car then get some and don’t buy the cheapest set you can find either.

So the Wifely Unit gets back home and the minute I walk in here it comes.
Of course she has a bunch of running around to do first thing this morning so I gotta figure out the quickest way to get this situation handled.
Dropping it off and waiting for someone to do the dirty work for me wasn’t an option.

Now if you have half a fucking brain in your head, not only will you have a set of jumper cables in your car, you will have these in your storage just in case this happens in your driveway first thing in the morning,

extension cord

charger

If you don’t, then again, get some and don’t buy the cheap shit.
Get a heavy duty extension cord and a battery charger that has a boost capability to start a car with.
I have a couple, one being heavy duty enough to start a Mack Truck with that I have had for twenty years and they have saved my ass more times than I care to admit.

Because if you are a typical dumb ass car owner, when you open the hood of your car, you are going to see this,

battery terminal

This is bad, okay?

A thick slurry of baking soda and water will clean that shit up pretty quick. If you don’t have that, a small wire brush and some elbow grease will.
There is another option that works and I use it all the time,

coke

I shit you not, that works incredibly well.
After you get the Moon Rocks cleaned off your battery terminals, dig in your tool box and grab one of these and clean the terminals on the battery and the cable ends.

brush

You do have one of these, right?
I have even seen them at the fucking Dollar Store for cryin’ out loud.
When you get done cleaning the terminals and putting them back on, then hit them with some of this shit to keep them from getting nasty again in the future.

terminal spray

One of the biggest reasons these days for keeping your battery terminals clean besides making sure your damn car starts is that over the past twenty odd years, vehicle manufacturers went away from the old style of battery cable and clamp like the ones I still have on my rig.

battery cable

Oh, no, no, no, you silly consumer you, that is way too fucking easy to replace.

Now days, your battery cable isn’t a battery cable.

harness

Now it’s a fucking “Battery Harness” and they are expensive as fuck all and a serious bitch to change.
For you non mechanic types, that translates to “It costs HOW MUCH?!!”.

So take some advice from Ol’ Bustednuckles and stay on top of that shit.

Check your battery terminals, there are places you can find in your area that will check your charging system and battery cheap, if not free and if your battery shows the slightest hint of being weak then shell out the money and get a new one.

You will sleep better knowing that your car isn’t going to crap out on you at the least opportune moment because Winter is coming and you DO NOT want to be out fucking around with this shit when it’s dark, the snow is blowing sideways and there is nothing around open for business to take care of it at the moment.
Then it is going to be expensive.

While we are on the subject, now is the time to get your Anti Freeze checked and replaced if necessary and your wiper blades too.
Don’t forget the washer fluid either.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go put all the tools away that I had to dig out to perform this small bit of marital and vehicle maintenance.

Have a nice day.

18 thoughts on “It’s That Time Of Year Again

  1. I let my truck battery run down while I was in the ME cause turning off the key isn’t enough anymore. The fellow I stored it with decided to do me a favor and jump it into running. Fucked the computer to the tune of $600. so do be careful with modern engines.

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    • Positive to positive first then make sure you have good ground connections and negative to negative.
      It amazes me just how many people do not know how to do this. I had to show the kid recently as he was raised without a Dad to show him.
      The computers in newer cars use the ground side of circuits for their control functions which is yet another reason to keep the battery terminals clean.

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  2. To be clear, the hot weather is what kills batteries. Cold weather just reveals the damage…

    Costco is the best place i have found for batteries… Interstate and if it dies in 3 years, or even starts to get weak, they replace no questions asked w/o even testing. Every other vendor it’s 30 min to an hour on a battery testing machine, etc…

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    • I know at the dealership I worked at, Ford got real bad about wanting to trickle charge them for 24 hours and THEN load test them before they would replace them because of what they call LOT ROT was killing the batteries in brand new cars left and right.
      You either have to put a float charger on the battery of a newer car or start and run them for twenty minutes at least once every couple of weeks to keep the radio memory and the KEEP ALIVE memory function in the computer from killing them dead within two weeks. It’s a half an amp constant draw.

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  3. Jumper cables make an ideal gift for your children. In fact, spend a bit more and toss a few other things in their trunk. A decent lug wrench, a shovel, road flares/reflectors, flashlight, fix-a-flat, a 12V mini-compressor, first aid kit, etc.

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  4. Last year, at the first frost, my Dodge ram Diesel would barely start.

    New batteries. ($300)

    Gonna have to shell out sooner, rather than later, why get stranded?

    Some folks can’t understand. Marginal at 30 degrees means dead at 15. Why deal with it?

    Oh, and CHANGE your antifreeze every 3 years. The anti corrosion shit in modern antifreeze will keep the head gaskets alive a LOT longer.

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  5. Was helping a guy out with his Benz (2004 S-Class W220 chassis): the battery is in the trunk, so it’s easy to get to. The bad part is that if you don’t keep some power to the system while you’re swapping out the battery, you then have to sit there and completely reprogram the car’s settings. The guy’s idea of payment was a six of lukewarm sh*t beer (that he was *helping* me with), so you know that when it was discovered that the entire car’s computers and sensors would need to be set up all over again, I was outta there posthaste.

    I mean, being “the guy” who has the tools and stuff to fix things is nice, but when folks start thinking that I’ll work for free, well, that’s something else again.

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  6. Changed the battery yesterday because it was starting to show symptoms of INGTMITW. (I’m Not Going To Make It Through Winter)
    I used one of the battery powered jumper boxes to maintain all the settings and it worked great.
    Good post.

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  7. Helped my neighbor fix his battery cable a couple weeks ago. It had the kind that is hollow in the center so the top and bottom both have to be aligned all the way on the post. He only had the bottom on and had it tightened all the way with a screw in there to fill the gap and it was still flopping around and shorting out. Admitted that his dad never showed him a thing about cars and would pass that on to his son who would never know either. His tool box consisted of a hammer and a pair of pliers. Worked out for me though. He gets rid of peoples critters for a living and let me have use of live trap for as long as i need it. and with all the Armadillos, Raccoons and Opossum around here that dig in my yard and garden i will be using it for some time. Better trap than the one i bought on E-Bay

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  8. Waaaaaaaay back when, a battery would (if you paid attention to it) give you clues that things were going South. Nowadays they go and go and go and then BOOM they take a shit.
    Good article.

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  9. Just did the Oil Change, Coolant Flush, Transfer Case, and Differentials on the 4×4 yesterday….. maintenance is prevention of a larger problem. IN AZ after 2 years we keep a close eye on a battery they usually don’t make it 3 years.

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  10. Don’t help the fucking millennial assholes with shit their fucking daddy should have taught them

    when you come upon them and they’re broke down by the side of the road charge ’em 300 bucks to get them up and running again showed two how to change a fucking tire …yes a fucking tire ……for a hundred bucks just last week …..

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      • it’s gonna be steady fuckin’ money trust me……these assholes don’t know how to do anything……it’s not just cars ….they don’t know how to change a wall switch in their house….they’re almost completely devoid of any skill that ten year old kids took for granted in our generation ……i’m 68 and we learned all that shit when we were children…these are grown ass men and women ……….i have some who live around my area and they know that i can fix shit now ..so instead of just going and doing it for them ……i bring my tools (none of the fuckers has so much a hammer or screwdriver either) and for 30 or 40 or fifty bucks i fix some really really simple shit …and your right the faster these colleges keep pumpin’ out these phony ass degrees and teach ’em squat but how to whine about shit thats “not fair” …..the more money there will be for us

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