Car Vexations

Picture courtesy of E. Sieglinger Images

The Sunday plan: Go to yoga and then to the beach to visit family and relax.

The Sunday Reality: Car won’t start.

Lucky enough I have my Mr. Fix It right beside me. He opened the hood and realized there was heaps of corrosion around the battery’s negative terminal. Mr. Fix It said it was easy. We just need to clean off the corrosion with some baking soda and water. Then, we need to go to the auto parts store for a new terminal because the one I have is cracked. Finally, we come back home and once everything is fixed up and we boost the car everything should be hunky-dory. Sounds simple enough, right? We could be at the beach in no time. I am still calm at this point and my heart is beating at a regular pace.

If there is one thing I have learned over the years car problems are never simple. When we got back from Advance Auto Parts Wes did a magnificent job at putting the terminal on and cleaning the corrosion off the battery. It was pretty icky. The corrosion had taken up a couple inches of the wire that attaches to the terminal. Wes performed some much needed surgery on the wire and we thought we were good to go. He put the keys in the ignition and the car went vroom vroom! Woot!

So, now we just needed to get prepared for the beach and off we go. We wanted the battery to charge a little so we left the car on while we went inside to get our swimsuits and beach gear. Wes locked the car while we went in the house. The key was in the ignition and Wes kept the remote so we could unlock the car when we came back out to leave.

Like I said before, car problems are never simple. After about 15 minutes we were ready to leave with towels, snacks, and water bottles in hand. As we walked towards the car I pushed the unlock button on the remote. I pushed it a second time and then a third time. Hmmmm it’s not working. Wes tried it and it still wouldn’t work. Now, my heart started to pump faster and I began to freak out. My car is running and the key is locked inside. What an interesting feature my car has that I never knew about. The remote will not work if the ignition is on. Ok. This would have been great to know before we locked the car! Muh.

We used a hanger to try to break into the car which didn’t work. Wes decided to go to the auto parts store to get a Slim Jim. On his way there he spoke to his brother, Ian, who said he could help and not to waste his money. Wes arrived back home to find me sitting on a cooler mutilating my fingers. I was officially stressed. My car had been running for almost 2 hours now. Wes set up two chairs for us outside where we could keep an eye on the car and wait for Ian. While waiting my man fixed us up some stress reducing sangria. Thank you!

MMMMM Sangria, for all your stress relieving needs.

Ian arrived and tried the hanger method again, but in a different way than Wes had tried earlier. Unfortunately, he had no luck. Finally, a light bulb went on in Wes’s head, which was a good thing because all mine were burnt out at the moment. Wes pulled the ignition fuse and my car turned off. It was a good thing we had the hood up the whole time. Problem solved, right? Wrong!

Then, Monday came. I had some errands to run. Obviously, the plan was to use my car. The car started but barely. In fact every place I went to the car barely started. We came to the conclusion that either the alternator was broken or the battery needed to be replaced. Well, here goes another trip to Advanced Auto Parts. I will say the service at Advance Auto Parts is awesome. The guy that helped us on Sunday and Monday was beyond professional and helpful. He tested my alternator and battery and it turns out my battery was pretty much dead. I was beyond confused considering my battery was less than a year old. I had bought it last fall at Auto Zone. Piece of crap! The guy at Advance Auto Parts kept referring to it as a Wal Mart battery. Of course I would purchase the cheapest one. I eventually took my sick little car to Auto Zone where they replaced my cheap battery with another cheap battery that will probably last less than a year. Thank goodness for warranties! My car is officially fixed. Whew! Zoom Zoom……

Lessons Learned: The car remote does not work if the ignition is on. You can easily turn off the car by disabling the ignition fuse (if the hood is up). Buying the cheapest battery is not always the best decision. Quality over quantity!

Car Vexations Theme Song: Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

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One thought on “Car Vexations

  1. We didn’t make it to the beach, but the car’s all fixed up now and we learned some valuable lessons.

    You forgot to mention one though… MAKE A BACKUP KEY! 😛

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