Learn From My Mistakes…

When people ask me what I’m up to for the weekend, my usual reply is, “Hopefully nothing.” No matter what, things always seem to pop up, be it shopping, chores, family event, someone getting sick, etc. So yes, I do hope not to have anything to do on any given weekend.
Driving from work with the lad, going to pick up the lass, my car stops. It just dies in the middle of the road. I lost power somewhere, but it’s odd. I can’t run the wipers, but the lights and radio are still on. In fact, I cannot even shift it into neutral in order to roll it off the side of the road. Luckily I wasn’t on the highway, but still somewhat scary with my boy in the car.

I’m just a block from a Toyota dealership, so I take the boy out of the car and walk him to the dealership, all while calling my father-in-law, the avid mechanic, to figure out how to at least get it into neutral and off the road. The lad is great the whole time, and I just plopped him in a big, cushy chair and had him stay put.

So as I’m heading back to the car, I see a cop pull up behind it. This is also while I was trying again to call my wife at work to let her know to head home to pick up the lass (who I was so very thankful was still playing at daycare rather than being a part of this situation). Barely realizing that my phone had picked up her voicemail, I’m running down the street trying to wave down the cop hopefully before he could call in a tow truck and a huge fine.

Luckily, I got advice from the FIL about the trick to manually release the shifter. So the cop, very kindly, pushed me down the road to the Toyota dealership. The FIL showed up a half hour later to hobble my car back together in order to get it into his garage.

What the issue was: one of the terminals on my battery had completely corroded the ground wire, disconnecting some but not all of my electronics, most notably the stuff heading to the engine. This would have been avoided ages ago had my car not had a bloody battery cover.

Before this car, I’d driven two pansy, early-nineties Corollas. Both had the same engine (or nearly), and had about 6 parts to them that could be all seen at a quick glance. So when I would regularly check my fluids and whatnot, I could see plain as day that there was a battery still in the car. A battery I’d jump-started many-a-times too (the cars didn’t beep when leaving the lights on upon exit; they were simple).

But now, nope. Big black cover my brain just ignores. So on the negative terminal there was a brilliant blue foam of battery acid built up that ate away the wire. Very, very thankfully it was a quick fix once in the garage and all is as good as new. Still, so much for an uneventful weekend. At least the lad got to spend the night at his cousin’s.

Moral of the story: just look at your battery when you check your oil and tires.

Second moral: When my car died, I had no idea whom to call. It didn’t seem like a 911 issue. Yet I was stuck in the road, not just pulled over and not working, so it was of more immediate importance to . So my next stop will be to pay the annual AAA fee and get that nifty little white card.