Posted By RichC on August 19, 2013
I had one of those “knight in shining armor” moments this weekend after a call for help request came in from my wife Brenda. She planned a weekend trip with her mother with a stop to visit our daughter in Columbus then to the farmhouse in New York. The primary goal is to begin taking photos of household items and then for an eventual household and house sale. They took my Honda Pilot and made stops in downtown Columbus (wedding dress repair) and then over to Katelyn’s townhouse after work before heading out to meet Drew for dinner. Katelyn’s grandma enjoys home decorating and this was a chance to see all the wedding gifts in their place (or most probably still in boxes?)
When Brenda attempted to restart my Honda Pilot, the battery was dead. Her first thought, “why did Rich send me off in an unreliable car?” … but shortly after that she calmed down. Thankfully (I thought), we were prepared because there is a jump starter/compressor combo pack in the back of my SUV and I also knew Katelyn has one in her VW TDI as well. They tried, but not enough juice … hmm??? … so I had my “grease monkey” doctor daughter check the fuses. Both her and Brenda looked carefully at them … even with a magnifying glass after I asked, “are you sure they are not blown?” … and declared that they “looked fine, but one has some corrosion?” I was still skeptical and asked if Drew had a meter or anything we could check a circuit with? No he doesn’t … (reminder to self: Christmas present for Drew.)
Drew arrived after realizing that the girls were not going to be to dinner on time and proceeded to use his jumper cables to charge the battery for a longer period … but since “no lights came on” … I was still concerned about the wiring, cables and fuses. They didn’t have a circuit tester or meter to check the fuses or the battery voltage so I decided to take a evening drive to Columbus in the “old reliable 1982 Mercedes 300D Turbodiesel” … I still smile to myself at the irony.
Since I was going to arrive in Columbus late, I decided to stop at a Walmart on the way and pick up a new battery, although recalled that I did replace it in 2009. I justified buying a new one that the 5 year mental rule when talking car batteries isn’t always accurate, especially when using lots of gadgets and an inverter. It was a beautiful weekend evening for a windows down drive … very little humidity and cool for the dog days of August. Just plain nice!
I pulled into the driveway and before the gang even came out I wanted to check the battery voltage (it was 12.65) and then the fuses. I the back of my mind I was still worried about the wiring, ignition switch or even the starter relay. The girls were right, the fuses didn’t really look blown, but sure enough the main 120AMP fuse was not passing current. Hmm, what caused it to blow?
The gang came out and proceeded to watch me … so here’s the part of the subject line having to do with “questionable fixes.” I unscrewed the fuse and snipped the flat piece of metal that was my pen’s pocket clip to fit it under the fuse in order to bridge the connection. After screwing it back down the car started right up as if nothing was ever wrong. Brenda declare, “my MacGyver,” to which my head swelled. A few minutes later, Katelyn brought me back down and asked, “do you really think she should continue on to New York with that fix” … and with that daughterly wisdom, we went to Autozone to pick up a new fuse. (of course they didn’t have the correct one, but one that was 120AMP that I could bend to fit)
Crisis averted and a well deserved cup of coffee and ice cream cone for my drive home!