Friday, January 27, 2023

Car Prepping

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

It seems that I occasionally make wise choices that pay off! I don't get to say this very often, but this was one of those times. 

Jump Starting?
Do you remember that nice, compact Lithium Ion car jump starter from my previous post? I gave it a workout the other night when I left the lights on a bit too long after turning the ignition off and ran the battery flat. That's not to say the battery was suddenly bad; when I looked at it to try to jump-start it, the Date of Purchase showed a 2017 year and month code. 

Regardless, after hooking the Vector Battery Pack up to the battery, I didn't get the expected results. Even with having the unit sit for 15 minutes in the hopes of letting the battery recharge some, it still didn't turn the motor over enough to start.  

Enter "Plan B": 
Call Roadside Assistance
I've had the California version of AAA for longer than I can remember; it's been from at least the late 1970s, when I owned and worked on small British cars. I never abused the service, since there is some sort of limit to the number of calls you can make in a year, but I did use the service. Even after owning much more reliable US and Japanese vehicles, I kept my membership current. In fact, this was the second time in a year I called AAA, the first being to fix a flat tire. 

After the service truck arrived, the tech tried to jump the battery with his giant setup, again with no results. After checking everything with his built-in meters, the battery showed a bad cell and that it needed to be replaced. Fortunately, it just so happens the trucks are stocked with batteries that fit most vehicles! After 15 minutes and the exchange of funds, my car started right up and I was on my way.

I have 150,000 miles on my almost 11-year-old car, and it is due for several big services. I've been budgeting for this, and while it will be expensive to me, the cost will be a fraction of the price of a new vehicle... or even a good, used vehicle! 

Other Annoyances 
Due to parking in the open, my headlights are not as clear as they were when new. I need to find a good plastic headlight cleaner and polish kit and see if the lenses will clear up and maybe last several  more years. Another irritation is the pine trees that are close to where I park; in the spring, my car turns pale yellow from the pollen, and the rest of the year they shed one pound pine cone missiles and microscopic droplets of sap. The sap can't really be seen on the painted surfaces, but on the windshield the drops act like tiny prisms, causing mini-rainbows at sunrise and sunset. My next project, even before the headlights, will be to clean the glass of sap drops so that I can see better. I'm also finding that my wiper blades aren't lasting as long as before, so that is an added expense.
Recap and Takeaway
  • Your actual car insurance policy may include some sort of roadside assistance. I find that AAA is a nice back-up plan.
  • Do your own maintenance if you are able; the savings add up quickly. Know your limits, though; buying specialized tools that will be used only once every few years may not be the best investment for you.
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NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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