Wednesday, June 11, 2008

$220 later...

My battery light started coming on while I was driving Friday afternoon. It would just blink on for a minute or so, and then go away - maybe 3-5 times during my commute home. But on Monday, it was on for nearly half the drive to work. Same thing on the way home, though I figured out that turning everything off in the car (radio, fan/AC, headlights) and driving below 50mph kept it to a minimum (I didn't take the interstates home).

So I took my car in this morning, around 9:30. There is a $92 charge just for them to tell me what's wrong with the car. I thought it was going to be the alternator, since there didn't seem to be any problem starting the car. Nearly two hours later, they told me it was the battery. Apparently one of the battery cells died, which left enough voltage to continue starting the car but caused the battery to short out when it tried to recharge off of the alternator. This actually made me happy, since having a new battery put in is about 1/4 of the cost of having a new alternator put in.

And then it took them TWO AND A HALF HOURS to put the battery in. Did I mention it was *freezing* in the customer waiting area? I didn't get out of there until almost 2pm.

I am thankful, however, that this is barely a blip on our budget radar. We put aside money for car-related stuff every month that will cover most of the charge, and have savings for the rest. I know in this economy, some people aren't so lucky.

Congrats to Ashley and Jeremy on their new daughter Aubrey!!


Anonymous said...

Ya know I've noticed that batteries make some of the goofiest symptoms when they need to be changed. When my car needs new spark plugs, the air conditioner won't cool.

I think one of those car skills that is really handy is learning to change a battery. If you can screw a nut on a bolt you can do it.


Matt Silverthorn said...

If I'd known that it was just the battery, I would have done it myself, but the symptoms suggested something more ominous. At the point she found out it was the battery, it was just worth it to get it changed there, rather than risk the car dying someplace inconvenient (which is where all batteries manage to die).

Courtney said...

Yeah, I never would have guessed the battery because the car started fine. I thought it would have been more obvious.

ccnusbaum said...

I think your car gave my car its sickness:-) Now my check engine light is on - so I'm dropping it off tomorrow at the shop. But, thankfully I'm just dropping it off and not waiting. I hate waiting in the customer area. They are SO BORING.