So I had a wonderful 5 days in Pittsburgh at my best friend’s wedding (more in some other post).
I got home around 6:30 and had about four hours with Mark during which he was mostly packing.
As we were running through what had gone on while I was gone he mentioned that the battery and brake warning lights had come on in the minivan. I asked if I should take it in to Sam’s Club to have them check the battery. “I guess so.”
Mark left early this morning on another trip. That should have been my first sign that this day was NOT going to go as planned.
The mechanic at Sam’s said the battery was definitely bad – had less than half power and was only 9 months old. Since it was from Walmart he said they would replace it for free.
The car started fine as I headed for home thinking I would find the battery receipt and then head to Walmart. I briefly debated going straight there.
Half way home the ABS light came on, then the air bag light. Then about a mile from home the radio died.
I should have gone with my gut and driven straight to Walmart. Or at the very least left the car running at the house.
As soon as I turned the car off I realized what I had done.
Sure enough, dead – just faint clicking noises.
Of course the jumper cables were in the other car. I tried to get the battery unhooked so that Stace could take me and the battery to Walmart and trade it out. But try as I might, one nut was NOT coming loose.
So plan B (or is it C by now) was good old USAA Roadside Assistance (worth its weight in gold). The guy was at the house in less than 45 minutes and had the van going in no time.
I drove straight to Walmart where the woman told me that yes, the battery would be replaced for free but it was a 2 hour wait.
Bleck! So I drove home (the van started), grabbed my laptop. After leaving the keys with Walmart I hoofed it across the shopping center to Peter Piper Pizza where I ate lunch and had free wifi while I waited.
It was indeed the full 2 hours before it was done. Drove home, had a half hour there before it was time to get the kids.
Half way to school the battery and brake lights were on again.
What in the world?
At this point I realized (with all my feminine mechanical knowledge) that there was something else going on. Electrical perhaps?
I was going with my gut this time. I picked up the kids and drove straight to the mechanic which is like 40 minutes away. (Yes, we love our mechanic THAT much!)
I explained the details and as he suspected, the alternator tested bad. He said I would have killed the new battery in another 20 minutes (which means dead car for morning school run). Score 1 for mom.
So now what? Well our other car was at the airport parking lot – luckily I had gotten the location from Mark during an earlier layover. His dad came and picked us up, drove us to the airport to get the car and then took us out to dinner.
…at Peter Piper 🙂