*Car Won't Start*
By: Landwire
12 July 2014

Had a moment where my car wouldn't start. I had a rapid fire clicking noise. The lights on the dashboard were flickering just as fast. I stopped and made sure everything was turned off; Ac, lights and radio. I tried again and got the same rapid fire clicking.

Next step was to check the battery. After pulling the post cap off, I saw massive corrosion build up on the positive terminal. The negative side was fine. I did not have the tools with me to fix it as they were at home. I was able to get a jump start from a coworker. Years ago I purchased 20' jumper cables. Due to the parking lot, they were a necessity. I was able to drive home with no further issues.

Once I got home, I started brushing the terminal off with a brass brush. Safety glasses are a must. Once I got a good amount off, I used a battery terminal puller; works extremely well. Once the terminal was free, I used a battery post cleaner to clean everything up. Once the corrosion was removed, I can see where the battery has cracked around the post. Battery posts are supposed to be rather solid and should not be moving around. I connected everything together. I was able to start the car again with great difficulty.

The battery in question is a three year Eveready battery from Walmart and it has a date stamp of 11/11. The previous battery was another Eveready battery from Walmart that didn't last 3 years either. At this point I decided I needed to go with another battery. My in-laws drive the same model car. In theirs, they used 6 year batteries installed by AAA. The first 3 years comes with free replacement. The remaining 3 years has a prorated replacement cost.

I called up AAA Roadside. 45 Minutes later, a tech was at my car. Unfortunately the current battery terminal had too much damage and they are unable to sell a battery in those condition. 30 minutes later I was able to return from the local auto parts store and had a new terminal installed; called up AAA to have someone sent out again. Ultimately it was too late and there was no one available either currently working or on-call that was trained for a battery check and installation. The next day I was able to wrap things up.

Several key points from this situation:

  1. Buy the longest and highest quality jumper cables you can find. Today I really needed the full length of my 20' cables.
  2. Having the proper tools can make any task easier.
  3. Things are checked out on a regular basis. However, I did not check under the battery post cover.
  4. Battery terminals are cheap. No reason not to have a spare set or two on hand.
  5. I had a car that was useless overnight. Had there been an issue, it would have been ugly real quick. Need to look into the feasibility of having a 2nd battery on hand for these types of emergencies.

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