Dodge-y Electrics

We had quite the drama with the car recently. We just wanted to pop up to Target to pick up some peppers when it wouldn’t start. Not only would it not start, we both had to use the manual spare key to get in as it it usually opened with a fob. It also starts up by detecting that fob in your pocket or purse and starting the car when you hit start. As a result, any form of diagnostic was challenging. There was no ignition to stick the key in to try anything.

This was an even bigger problem than usual because as many of our regular readers know, our apartment complex has been undergoing renovations. One of them involves re-painting pretty much everything, including the awnings above the parking spaces. Ours was due to be painted the very next day. We hadn’t realized this until right then because we hadn’t used the car in about 5 days due to working from home and this happening soon after we got back from the UK. We were basically too tired to use the car for several days and the first day we felt up to going anywhere, this combination of joys happened.2016-08-04 19.29.35

We called our insurance, who in turn called Jack Rabbit Roadside. They claim to have the fastest response time in the industry. I sincerely hope this isn’t true. Our initial quote was for 45 minutes. When that had passed, we got on the phone with their customer service, which just kept disconnecting us before we could find anything out.

Finally, in despair, I went to the pool to see if anyone was around who could help. We know some of our neighbors, but don’t really have many phone numbers or even apartment numbers at this point. A family we actually know fairly well happened to be in the pool at the time. Poor them, they had just got in. They very kindly offered to help us with their own car and jumper cables. Since we only have one car and know next to nothing useful about cars, we had none of these things and didn’t really know how to do it anyway.2016-08-04 17.36.06-1

Our neighbor Brad proved to be very neighborly indeed. When the first attempt didn’t work and fried his first set of cables, he went and found his second set. That didn’t work either. The car has two batteries for some reason though, one in the trunk and one in the front. We had tried the one in the trunk first due to how the car was parked.

Once that had proved unsuccessful, Chris and Brad poured over the manual to figure out how to get a fully electric gear stick moving in a dead car. There was an emergency lever, but it was hidden under a few things. They did manage to get it out. Chris drove and Brad pushed. They were able to turn the car around.2016-08-04 18.04.01

Finally, success! The front battery did work. After all this sitting out in the heat worrying, we had to go on a nice long drive to charge up the battery properly. This was a case of ignorance being a good thing. I think we might have despaired if we had known enough about cars to realize that at the start.

After attempting to pop out for peppers for fajitas, we settled for a digiorno pizza pimped with pineapple as it was quite late by then.

For the record, we did hear from Jack Rabbit eventually. In fact, the man just wouldn’t stop calling us. Once it became clear things were working with Brad, we called them back and said not to come. At some point after this, the Jack Rabbit man called to say he would be there in another 30 minutes or so. Chris told him we were already being helped. He called back another 45 minutes later to say he had arrived and asked where we were. Chris told him we were now on the road charging up the car. Another 15 minutes later, he called a third and final time to tell us had had received a call from us, that first call I assume. Chris told him again we had already been helped.

We suspect the reason the battery died is that a light was accidentally knocked on when Chris was putting his sunglasses away during the use of the car 5 days before this. That little light seems like the most likely source of the drained battery.

Here’s the video:

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