It is a good policy to disconnect the battery in your vehicle if it has to sit idle for a long time. I disconnect the battery cable on my van after every trip. Such policy prevents the battery from running down.
In preparation recently for a long trip, making my van road worthy, I checked the tires and reconnected the battery cable. But this time, I was confronted with an enormous problem.
I learned a lesson, simple as it was, but nevertheless a serious one. Having to replace a tire would have been easy because I had a spare. But having to replace a nearly new battery, especially not having a spare, would have been quite another matter.
All late model cars have batteries with the cable terminal posts mounted on the side. These batteries have posts with soft, internal threads which are easily stripped when the bolt is inserted to fasten the battery cables. Therefore, the number of times a cable can be connected and disconnected are very limited – therein being the problem.
Stripped threads will not hold a bolt in place to hold the cable tight to the battery to make a good connection. By contrast, the earlier model cars have batteries where the cables are held in place by clamps on top of the battery, making a good connection. The cables can be connected and disconnected many, many times without any effect.
Unfortunately, I was not aware of the difference between these two types of batteries.
During the course of preparing my late-model van for another trip, I attempted to reconnect the battery cable. As I turned the bolt to tighten it, there was no resistance to indicate a tight battery connection. Instead, the bolt kept turning that indicated stripped threads due to many earlier disconnecting procedures.
I was panic-stricken, and time was running out. I had to quickly do something. I called all the auto stores in town to find a kit for repairing my battery – but no dice. There are no such kits available for this purpose. Would I have to replace my nearly new battery that cost close to a hundred bucks?
But being mechanically inclined, I was able to solve this problem. For those who are not so inclined, things can be quite different. In examination of the threads, I noticed not all of them were stripped. Had all the threads been stripped, the battery, nearly a new one, would have been destroyed simply because of a mere battery connection. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?
But maybe – just maybe, I thought – there was some good fortune in store for me. Maybe I had a chance to salvage my new battery.
I went to the auto store and looked over what they had in stock. There were all sorts of battery brackets. I saw one that had some possibilities. I bought the bracket, refashioned it and bolted it onto the battery.
I was sweating every turn of the bolt, hoping there would be some resistance, indicating a tight joint.
It happened. The bolt held the refashioned bracket fast and tight to the battery post. I simply connected the battery cable to the bracket.
Having a sigh of relief, I wanted to stand on a high mountain and shout, “I’m back in business.”
Bond lives in Richmond Hill. He can be reached at email@example.com.