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  • Stew

Accidentally Tested Out the Van's Battery Life

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

It was destined to happen eventually.

I expertly parallel parked the van on the fourth attempt between Prius and a mini school bus on a chilly rainy afternoon near my apartment in Gowanus. The frozen rain was coming down as if it were actual frozen cats and dogs. My morning had been spent miserably working outside in the frigid New York winter visiting two New York City Transit bus depots in south Brooklyn. As I sat

in the parked van formulating how to best take my heavy equipment back to the apartment while staying as dry and warm as possible I decided leaving through the sliding door instead of the driver side door was my best option. This proved to be an almost fatal mistake for the van as it threw off my normal van exiting routine.

Some background information will help explain how it went down. The van makes an extremely annoying binging warning sound when the headlights are left on and the key is removed from the ignition. This is a great feature (one of few) but as I was near a construction site the binging warning sound was drowned out by a jackhammer. I hopped out of the driver seat, grabbed my bags, threw open and then closed the sliding door and headed for home.

Approximately one day later I returned to the van with a group of friends to show them my hobby project and was greeted by that noise. That annoying binging. A noise that normally reminds me but now a noise that made my heart sink. I knew what had happened immediately. I had killed the battery along with any hope of starting up that sweet engine for my friends. I turned the key and nothing. So I did what any normal person would do and headed to the bar with my friends. I would deal with the problem later.

The next day I had my friend Hunter pull up next to the van, I popped the hood and hooked up jumper cables. Turned the ignition andddddd nothing.... I was pretty sad as I couldn't even figure out why the jump start wasn't working. Maybe the battery was just too dead.

I called AAA.

The AAA voice answering service was a huge pain and I eventually got an actual human on the phone. Andre, he was very helpful and had a battery service person on the way in under an hour.

Gino arrived. A super friendly and knowledgeable guy. I told him I had already tried to jump the battery and showed him under the hood. He was surprised when I pointed to the battery and informed me that's not the battery. Excuse me? It is a car battery (see pics above) but apparently that is not the battery that starts the van, who knew? Probably a lot of people including Gino. Gino opened up a hatch on the drivers side floor just in front of the pedals to reveal a second battery. He jumped it using a booster pack and jump cables attached to his van battery. IT'S ALIVE! I went to hug Gino and he was weirded out.

Gino informed me I probably needed a new battery so I agreed as he appeared to be a van guru. However we ran into a problem as the bolts that hold the battery in place were stripped and Gino could not get the recently resurrected battery out of the van. Gino said he would come back if the battery died again and gave me his direct number as he only lives a few blocks away, what a guy!

The alive battery has been working fine for the last few days. The van starts without any issues but when it eventually goes again I will need a mechanic to drill out the bolts to remove the battery. The bolts are really hard to access and extended tools will be required.

I learned a valuable lesson that I already knew. Turn off your lights. Also the lights will drain the battery in less than a day.

10/10 would recommend Gino the AAA man

Gino's boot can be seen on the left side of the picture

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