Tuesday, March 24, 2009

molly the mechanic

Today proved to be quite the lovely day. And I'm not being sarcastic.

While jumping our cars yesterday, we noticed that one of terminals on the Passat had badly corroded. Seriously--it was like we had grown our own salt crystal garden.

In order to save ourselves a trip to our VW mechanic in San Mateo, we decided to attack the corrosion and see if that helped. Which means I got to take a lovely walk to the auto parts store to get a wire brush. If you're in the Bay Area and haven't gone outside yet today, I highly recommend it. The sun was warm and it was the perfect weather for a walk.

When I got home with my nifty wire brush tool, Christian realized he already had one somewhere. So I guess my walk to the parts store wasn't exactly productive, but it sure was nice.

I played mechanic outside (did I mention I got to spend a lot of time outside today???) and figured out how to get the battery out of our car (I was the brains, Christian was the brute strength when I could get his help between his incessant tech calls). Then we scrubbed and brushed and baking-soda'd up a storm. Do you think it's good to breathe in corrosion dust? I'm pretty sure it isn't.

We put the car back together and thus far the Passat is working just fine. Knock on wood.

As for the Acura, I called a mechanic, called a tow truck, and had the car towed to the mechanic, who called us within 15 minutes of receiving the car. "Do you have the alarm key?" Hmmm. Let's backtrack.

Last time the Acura died and we jumped it, it set off the "disarmed" alarm. We do not have a key to turn off the alarm and the sound was quite annoying. So what did Christian do? He ripped out the alarm horn. Peace and quiet. Problem solved.

Or not.

It turns out every time you jump start the car, it resets all the electrical settings, which resets the alarm, which you have to turn off with a key that we don't have. And whenever the alarm tries to run, it drains the battery, which is on its last legs and was practically in its coffin already. Do you see the downward spiral?

So there we were jumping a low-quality dead battery that was trying to start an alarm instead of the car. At least we now know why all the lights in the car would flash for a few minutes after trying to jump start the car. All that was missing was the alarm's voice box.

Final remedy? Rip out the entire alarm system. Add a new battery. And we're be good to go. Thanks, mechanic.

I made it to work fantastically late (try 3pm), but all in all it was a pretty fun day.


Julia said...

I am so glad they are up and running ... !! FINGERS CROSSED.

Awesome mechanic work.

Ashley said...

I'm impressed that you did all that battery stuff yourself. I would be freaked out that I would get electrocuted somehow.

Molly said...

Ashley--The best part is that after I took the battery off, Christian goes "You took the negative side off first, right?" Nope. I had no idea there was a method to the madness, so maybe I'm lucky I didn't get shocked.

Dana said...

You are one smart sexy mama!

Amy Carter said...

seems like your passat mechanic can't be that great after all if he didn't notice the corroded battery. hope that was the only problem.

Kerri said...

Way to go Molly! I'm so glad that your cars are back and running! Steve and I are just waiting to have a day like yours happen...the day is close, we can tell.