Trina Machacek: A battery of questions

I’ve had to jump a battery to get a car going. Or a tractor, four-wheeler, lawn mower... It was drilled into my pea brain that, “black on black off” is the correct hook ’em up and unhook ’em sequence. It’s a right of car ownership passage to have jumped a battery at least once. Like the first time you run out of gas because you didn’t listen to the subtle DING-DING-DING of the fuel gauge reminding you to stop for push water.

With “hook up” lessons you also get schooled on battery chargers, trickle chargers, battery load testing, and my favorite the battery cables. Cables are defined by this: red and black. Black as in “black on black off” (see above). And sparks, don’t forget cables throw such delightfully surprising sparks. Oh what fun? You’ll learn about 6 and 12 volt batteries. Easiest way to tell 6v from 12v? Get this. A 6v has three of those little caps on the top where the acid would be added and the 12v has 6 caps. Really? Why wouldn’t the 6v have 6 caps and the 12v have 12 caps? If I were queen that’s how it would be. But! Yes a spark shooting “but.” But batteries will not change just because I think they should. Just remember, three means six and six means twelve. Good luck with that.

Why am I speaking battery? Well here’s the electrifying story.

I’m assuming you know when a car doesn’t cough to life when you turn the key that your battery needs resuscitation. AKA a jump start, a charge or just be replaced. I know one should never assume – I’m sticking my neck out here. HAHA Nobody likes when the key is turned on the ignition of their car, boat, or airplane and all you hear is deafening quiet. It happens. If after a jump or charge the battery will not hold that charge then replacement of the battery is the next option. Well that’s where things nowadays may just get a little strange and complicated. It did for a couple I know. Good friends that hopefully will not mind if I tell this story. It was friends. Really! Not EVERYTHING happens to me you know. HAHA

So this friend and her other half took all of the car owner steps of dead battery fixes and after all avenues of resuscitation were exhausted it was decided that replacement of the dead black box was the avenue to take to get the car back on the road. Luckily the car was in their yard so this should be a snap to accomplish. Luck has two sides you know. Earlier the wife knew enough to open the hood and hook up the charger to the points under the hood that were very visibly marked to necessitate a charge. Put positive here and put negative here were the signs she saw. All very up front. But she noticed the cables were not attached to the battery like usual – maybe has something to do with the electronics she thought…

After discussion and a call to the local parts store to see if a battery was in stock – it was – the purchase was made and a promise was made to bring down the dead one for the core charge after the switch. Oh? The core charge? Such another battery designated tale to tell at some point. For now let’s zip-zap along.

So the new battery is home, sitting next to the sad faced juiceless car. Then the fun really began. Hood is open, wrenches in hand to disconnect the battery. Then things got weird. They couldn’t find the battery. Not on the left or right side of the engine. Not in the front or toward the back. Poking, bending, looking and even getting down and looked up underneath – hoping it was not down up underneath. Nope, no battery was to be seen. After some calm, yes calm discussion a call was hesitantly placed to a dealer. It took like three mechanics and several “just a minute” clicks and pauses when finally the answer was arrived at. The battery? Nope not under the hood. It’s in the floor under the carpet behind the passenger seat! Seriously? Who would’ve looked there?

Now I know late Model T cars had batteries in a box behind the seat and Mercedes have batteries in the trunk. But come on after years of the battery being under the hood? Who took it upon themselves to change this? I was going to be facetious and make mention of who I thought came up with this. But I better just let it go and learn from my friends who now laugh as they play, “Battery, battery, where’s the battery.”

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or e-mail Really!


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment