July 3rd I wrote the post “Sometimes recharging just isn’t enough“. When I first had car problems, friends and family suggested maybe the alternator on my car was failing and that I should have it looked at. Ignoring their advice, I chose to replace the battery because it is cheaper
With the new battery I made it about 20 days without significant problems, that is, until Thursday of last week. On my way home from work a car cut me off, so I used my horn. That set a chain reaction of electrical weirdness in motion that left me without dashboard indicators, radio, power windows, or air conditioning. I managed to get my car home, but once I turned it off, I couldn’t get it to start again without charging the battery first..
Brought the car for service on Friday and they found the alternator wasn’t working. They fixed it while I waited. Driving home, everything worked perfectly.
So what is the moral of the story, you ask?
It’s a lesson I have to re-learn from time to time. Sometimes I want so badly for the common sense approach to be wrong, for whatever reason, that I eliminate it as a possible solution. In this case it looks like I didn’t damage the new battery I purchased, but I did create more problems for myself by not addressing the problem in the most appropriate way from the start — I didn’t leverage the experts available to me to help analyze a problem I did not have the expertise to address.
In my delusional world, replacing the car battery was all that was needed to keep everything running smooth. I could have seen replacing the battery as one step in the troubleshooting process, but instead I replaced the battery hoping that would be the end of it.
Live and learn.