It’s November, hurricane season is all but over, the weather is cooling and the wind is blowing cool sea breezes into open doors. The incessant hum of air conditioners is disappearing and our northern neighbors are slowing returning. This story is meant for those who are returning.
Hopefully you followed all the rules and ideas that I send out before you left. If you didn’t, this is to help you get your vehicle up and running with a minimum of effort and less chance of a break down.
First thing first, you must make sure that you have enough volts and amps stored in your battery. The quickest and least invasive test is to open the door, check for interior lights and to give the horn a quick blast. Now if you had a battery buddy on the battery this is moot, but if you didn’t, and most people don’t, this is one of the most important sequences that you must follow. The horn should be loud and vibrant and the interior lamps should not dim when you engage it.
If you had the battery disconnected while you were gone, you should have had both cables off. Install the positive cable first and then the negative cable. Now is the most important step, you should have at least a small battery charger in the house, install it on the battery and set it to the lowest amp rating. That rating normally reads 2 amps or trickle charge.
Turn on the charger and watch the charge rate or the needle and see how high it goes up the scale, then just walk away. Stop by in a half an hour or so and check the charge rate. If it is still more than half way just walk away.
THINGS TO AVOID
Do not amp up the charge rate and try to start the vehicle because you are doing the following things to your vehicle. First you are stressing the battery and these are not cheap anymore. Secondly by attempting to start a vehicle with an under charged battery you cause the starter to overheat and create pit marks on the armature. Starters are not cheap anymore running as high as $300.00 just for the parts. Last, by starting the vehicle with an undercharged battery causes the alternator to ramp up and try to maintain the vehicle loads and try to charge the battery to specs.
Contrary to popular belief alternators were never intended to charge the battery, otherwise it would have been called a battery charger. Making the alternator to work at top output and under what we call a full field makes the alternator overheat internally and melt critical solder joints and diodes.
The best thing to do while waiting for the battery to charge is to check the air pressure in the tires. Once again if you follow the rules set on how to put your car to bed they should be overfull. Check the tire pressure placard on the door pillar and set the pressures to the indicated pressure. That being done it’s now time to check all your fluid levels, the oil, power steering, the brake fluid and coolant.
If everything is up to snuff its almost time to start her up. Once again the tank should be full of a tier one fuel.
Now open the garage door and sit behind the wheel and prepare to start the car. First turn the key into the run position and listen for the fuel pump to start. After about 2 seconds it should stop running. Turn the key off and count to 10 then repeat the process. This is waking up the fuel pump and priming the injectors and fuel rail.
Now comes the moment of truth, turn the key to start and listen to her crank up.
Now put on your seat belt, check the dash for any lights that shouldn’t be on and then check your mirrors and back her out into the driveway.
Welcome home to sunny southwest Florida, drive safe and observe all the changes that occurred while you were gone and remember this.
236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services