Dead Battery

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Last summer both our aged vehicles had to be replaced in an alarming one-month span. I managed to find a good deal on a used Honda downstate (DH stopped with me for five minutes on his way to South America and signed the papers) and another on a 2008 Chevrolet truck. With scraping and pinching, I brought both home.

The truck had been harder to locate than the car, simply because of all the things I did not want. No back seat, no bells and whistles, no leather, no frills. Apparently no one but me wants a truck like this. Still, I located one eventually. The “new” truck doesn’t even have power windows. It barely has a gas gauge and radio. But the price was good and I love it.

There were a few problems in the first month under warranty and by bull-dogging the dealer (and doing internet research to pinpoint the issues the mechanic could not find) I had them taken care of. However, over the past few months I had begun to realize something else was wrong. The clock in the dashboard kept losing time. I didn’t think it could be the battery, as the battery was new.

“Loose wire, maybe, or your alternator,” my friend Damon said briefly.

This is above my paygrade. I wouldn’t know an alternator if it shook my hand.

Life has been so busy that I have had no time to take the truck anywhere for repairs. With the temperatures below zero the engine has been dead almost every day for the past two weeks. This, in addition to the frozen water at the barn, the frozen pipes at the farm apartment, and the teaching job. The only thing to do has been to jump-start the truck every morning and keep working on the rest of my list.

Back in 2007, someone at Chevy apparently thought it would be a smart idea to move the battery and hide it under the hinge of the hood, making it a tricky thing to reach with cables — especially when your fingers are clumsy inside thick winter gloves.

Every morning I think of that person crossly and wonder if he’s still employed by Chevrolet.

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