Tank’s Battery Madness

I was really looking forward to attending my Yoga class this morning.

The universe had other plans for me.

After breakfast I dressed carefully, checked my gear to make sure I had my slippers and the $3 fee, finally bundled myself up in parka, scarf and gloves, and headed out to Tank. And that is where my journey ended. Tank did not start. Tank’s engine did not even turn over. There was just a staccato clicking when I turned the key.

If I recollect correctly, last time Tank and I were out and about it was to the Yoga class last Wednesday. The temperature fell to -23C (-9.4F) last night, and it has been very cold all week. These factors ganged up on Tank’s battery, causing it to fail.

But I didn’t know at the time that it was the battery. What I knew was that I was going nowhere, and Tank was making horrid noises. What to do?!

First I called the dealership where we bought Tank. I described what was happening to the fellow, and he immediately said it sounded like the battery. I had a starting point!

Then I called CAA. We have a membership. The woman on the line said that I could either get a boost, or order a battery that they would bring to the house and install for me. Since I didn’t know beyond all doubt that it was the battery, I decided not to schedule a visit.

Then I called Lares and left a message on his cell phone. The day passed slowly.

Then I messaged Terra. Terra called Lares and discovered that since I had called him using Skype, the displayed number on his cell looked like a telemarketer, so he didn’t listen to the message. Late in the afternoon Terra and Lares dropped by on their way to Costco, bringing their booster cables. Since tank was facing into the driveway, a single driveway, the cables would not reach from their vehicle to tank. They drove off, promising to check on me in the morning.

Then I called Attila, finally home from work, who also thought the problem was the battery. He works with a lot of vehicles in cold weather, so when he voiced the opinion that the battery needed to be replaced, I made the decision to call CAA and request the Battery Service.

Then I called CAA and requested the battery service. The woman was very pleasant, gave me a price, we discussed methods of payment, and she arranged for the new battery to be brought to the house and installed free of charge within the next hour. I was happy.

The CAA fellow drove up. His cables did reach around to the front of Tank. Tank started, and the fellow advised me to keep it running for at least thirty minutes. I told him I wanted the new battery even though Tank had started. He looked confused, and explained to me that the is no Battery Service in our area. I explained that that was what I had arranged with CAA. He said he was sorry, gave me several names of local places where I might purchase a battery, and off he went.

Then I called CAA. When I explained what happened the woman on the telephone apologized, several times. I thanked her for her concern, and then told her that I wanted more than an apology. I had arranged for a Battery Service call, and I didn’t get it. I wanted the call struck from my limit, a limit of four calls per year. She took my information and is passing it along to another department, and I should hear from them in the next five days.

So, the upshot is that Tank is running, but still needs a new, and thus reliable, battery.

Following the CAA fellow’s advice, I drove around town for more than half an hour, charging up the battery. By this time I was beginning to feel a bit weary.

It was after 8:00 p.m. by the time I backed Tank into the driveway. I hate backing up vehicles, as I find it difficult to twist around to see what I am doing, and difficult to find just the right head position so that my bifocals focus on the mirrors. I did it though, after a few false starts. If Tank does not start tomorrow, Lares booster cables will reach!

Finally I sat down to a late supper, just finishing as Attila called.

A busy day, in an unexpected way.

Worldly Distractions


-14C (-6.8F)
Date: 9:00 PM EST Wednesday 14 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Dewpoint: -14.8C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: NNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -19 (-2.2F)


“Let us, then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807 – 1882

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Ah, dead batteries are such a joy, aren’t they? The only good part of this story is that at least you were stuck in your own driveway.

I had one die on me because I had turned off the car in the drive-through lane at the bank. We were still new to the small town in which we now work and it was then that I learned the true joy of it. The bank teller called the mechanics a couple of doors down, they got me rescued (and unclogged the bank drive-through lane) and I ended up with wonderful mechanics as a result.

I’m sorry your story didn’t develop as well as mine and hope you can get started in the morning to get a replacement battery.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Oh, do I know this headache! For the last few years I’ve gone through problems with my little car’s battery. You see, it started out because the battery died in extreme cold about 2 years before they expected batteries to die, so they hadn’t made a replacement battery for my car yet! Enter several years of buying a new battery, then a battery charger, and finally the charger no longer working. Fortunately, by that time they’d made a replacement battery for my car.

One thing I learned with all this, and I’ll pass it on to you. After putting in the new battery you need to drive your vehicle for at least 60k before turning the car off. This will sync the battery with the electronics in the car. HTH

Hope you get things straightened out real soon and have no more trouble.

Irene Bean

This must be the season for battery failure. Ugh.

I rarely (as in never) drive anymore. It’s not that I can’t drive alone, I just prefer having someone with me.

Before I climbed into the car I lugged my 02 tank into the back seat and quickly tossed the canula to the front and jumped in. (The day has arrived that I now live on Mars.)

I sat there for a moment. I neglected to factor in that I always now travel anywhere with at least one back-up tank. I sat and stewed a bit, and then decided the risk was minimal and that I’d travel with just the one tank.

My car played the same staccato tune that Tank played for you. Ugh.

I have AAA but decided to call a neighbor instead – knew the problem would be solved faster – and it was.

This is the dealio. My life has no wiggle room for risky behavior (not to be confused with risqué). What if I’d done my errands and had ended up stranded in a parking lot without a back-up tank! I have to get smarter about this sort of stuff.

Quite honestly, your day sounded exhausting. Navigating the route to solving the problem took you all day! So sorry, but glad Tank is healthy again.


It’s worth the time and the trouble to start your car every 2 or 3 days in cold weather. Just let it run for a little while maybe 5 minutes.