Thursday, December 30, 2010

Going Under the Hood: Installing a New Auto Battery

With the new year approaching, it's time for "out with the old, in with the new."  And I experienced the perfect object lesson recently.  Subzero weather, relentless city driving, and leaving lights on here and there all conspired to drain the battery in our minivan just before Thanksgiving.  My kindly father took me to purchase a battery charger and we were good to go again!  And then we weren't.   Just a few weeks later, the old battery went "kaput." So said the mechanic who looked at it.

Lessons?  Ah yes, there were several.
  • First, I should have charged the battery more often after it had been drained.  It may have frozen because I didn't keep it well-charged. 
  • Second, we were able to manage without our second vehicle for almost two weeks.  I've always been convinced that owning a car is a luxury.  Owning two vehicles seems positively extravagant.  This incident demonstrated that we can indeed get by with "just" one car.  Also, I recognized the benefits of not filling my calendar with activities during this time of year.  I'm not a homebody by nature and prefer to be out and about.  However, it was nice not to have the pressure of having to be anywhere beyond our own neighborhood most of the time.
  • Third, I learned a lot about auto batteries, including how to take one out and install a new one.  Thank you, real mechanics in eHow videos!  Rather than jump-start the minivan, I decided to take out the old battery and bring the suspect battery to Sam's Club.  There I had it tested and bought a new battery, which I installed at home myself.
While I begrudge the fact that we own two vehicles (resource-gobbling money pits that they are!), I am thankful to have learned more about how to maintain them.  The last time we had a dead battery in the other car, I simply called AAA.  They sent a tow truck, and after a jump start, I drove the car to a garage where they installed a new battery for me.  But it was so much more satisfying to do the job myself this time!  Kind of makes me want to walk around with a mechanic's swagger, though really I'm just a clueless wannabe.

It also seems that these battery episodes can be interpreted as a metaphor.  Numerous attempts to recharge my depleted inner resources have failed.  I need to swap out what's "old and busted" for new power, obtained from the Source of life, strength, and everlasting joy.

Are you mechanically inclined?
Have you ever felt utterly drained? 

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Wow, Julia, go you! I will have to get my hubby to teach me how to install a battery. He taught me how to change a tire when we were dating...I forgot to tighten it when I was done and the tire fell off when we started driving. It was scary!

Maybe the car battery will go better...