Earlier today I was talking to my wife and she says to me, Rob, she says, maybe you should go outside and drive the cars around a little. The Kia (hybrid) hasn’t been started in about three weeks, and the Mazda (not hybrid) hasn’t been started in like two months.
That’s okay, I was planning on doing some car music tomorrow morning and I was thinking I’d take the Mazda because it’s been so long. She said that was a good plan and that was it.
We got a text from my sister in law saying they were in town and they were wondering if we could do a social-distance-driveway-visit. Yesterday we had a super awesome baking day. Jen made brownies that are awesome, and I made Tewksbury Tweets because that’s my thing. Jen suggested putting a plate full of brownies and tweets onto the car at the end of the driveway (the Kia). Good idea!
She put the food onto a paper plate, wrapped it in tin foil, and put it on the hood of the car. Not long after I was looking out the window and saw one of those sonofabitch squirrels eying the plate. No way, asshole. I went outside and scared him off. I figured I’d just hang out on the steps until the gang arrived. While I was out there I figured why not start the cars?
The Mazda is on the inside, blocked in, closest to the house. I was a little nervous but I hit that starter and boom, she started right up. While I was in there I hit the auto start for the Kia and… nothing. Okay. I shut off the Mazda, walked back to the Kia, hit the power lock… nothing. Uh oh.
We used the physical key to get into the car and it was dead, dead, dead. Stone dead. Okay, now what. A few years ago while we were having trouble with our old Nissan I bought a battery charger and an extra set of jumper cables. Tonight I went down cellar to the area where all the stuff that used to be in the garage now lives and dug around until I found them.
The battery charger intimidates me. I don’t know why. I have jumped a zillion cars in my day, why does this bother me? The jumper cables were a last resort as we would have to move the Mazda onto the grass for them to reach. The charger was definitely the way to go. Jen was kind enough to read the instructions and give me a quick tutorial. I went outside to get things ready. I popped the hood and… There isn’t a battery. At least not one that fits the traditional description.
Now Jen reminded me that she had to have AAA jump the car once before so we know it’s possible to jump start a hybrid. We just didn’t know how. There was a box under the hood with a + sign on it. I opened it up and it was all fuses and wires. Nothing that looked like a car battery terminal. I pulled out the manual (by default, an admission of failure) and quickly got frustrated trying to find literally anything. Off to youtube I went!
I found a video that showed what I needed. Apparently the positive terminal is in the + box, it just doesn’t look anything like any car battery terminal ever seen by human eyes. The ground terminal… well that sucker just doesn’t exist. The video suggested using a bolt that sticks out of the side of the engine block. I shit you not.
I set everything up, confidently press the start button even though no lights were on inside the car and… nothing. Shit. We reset the battery charging thing to charge the battery rather than start the engine and… nothing.
Jen was sitting in the drivers seat and noticed a button called Battery Reset, or something like that. I looked it up in the manual. It said, before jump starting your car try pushing this button. Jen pushed it. Everything lit up like the forth of July, and when Jen pressed the starter, Boom. It started right up.
We didn’t need a jump start at all. Good thing we never called AAA! Boy would I have been embarrassed.
We let the car run for a few minutes, then broke everything down and brought it inside. I closed the hood, picked up a homemade COVID-19 Bandanna Mask (patent pending) that my beloved, genius, battery resetting wife made, and drove around town for 15 minutes or so.
Talk about stressful!
When I got home I parked on the street. If the battery turns itself off again the Mazda won’t be blocked in. Good idea.