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Booster cables (12V, 50A, 3mm², 3.5m)

Booster cables (12V, 50A, 3mm², 3.5m) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I know next to nothing about cars.  I can start it, go, stop, and fill the gas tank.  And I’ve been whizzing around my neck of the woods in a minivan for years without any safety or maintenance equipment in the trunk.  I had a sizable first aid kit, reusable grocery bags, enough kleenex to choke a horse, and a Costco-sized bottle of Advil in the car, but no jumper cables.  And no clue how to use them, even if I did have them.

Last summer, I experienced the utter frustration of a dead battery.  This is the one thing I demanded my husband deal with.  If the car battery dies, you damn well come rescue me (he had jumper cables in his car).  I paid no attention to how he got the car to start.  Then at Christmas, when he asked what I wanted, my list included jumper cables.  I still had no clue how to use them.

When kid #1 started learning to drive and my parents bought him a car, they included a set of jumper cables in the trunk of said car.  I still had no clue.  Kid #1’s car experienced intermittent battery problems (which are so irritating with no warning noises to ignore) and finally just wouldn’t start.

We now had two sets of jumper cables and no clues.  I went online and watched a couple of YouTube videos, then printed instructions on how to jump start a battery.  Kid #1 and I proceeded to use the minivan to jump his car.  Didn’t work.

Called my dad, who came over a couple of days later with a test-tube contraption to check the battery’s cells.  They were deader than dead.  And then he showed me how to pull the dead battery and replace it.  The heavens opened up and angels sang!

Ya’ll, it’s unscrewing two nuts and lifting the thing right out.  Go to Costco, buy a new battery, drop it in the open slot and tighten the nuts.  You don’t need a tow truck or a mechanic or a husband!  I feel amazingly empowered.

So, go here or here and print the instructions on jump starting a car (and buy some jumper cables, if you don’t already have them).  Put the instructions in your glove compartment (and the glove compartment of your kid’s car).  If you have a smartphone, bookmark a YouTube (or other) video on how to jump start a car.  Do it now before you need it in the middle of a hail storm.

Next up, I’m going to learn how to change a tire!