60. Where Is That Darn Battery?


The Buick wouldn't start. Considering it was 15 years old, this shouldn't have been a surprise. But, the battery wasn't that old. It was a Die Hard, sold by Sears. Gerard had bought it six years ago, but it was a 100-month battery. It was fully guaranteed for the first 12 months, and then pro-rated after that.

Gerard called Sears. The service rep told him he would probably get "$10 to $40" credit toward a new battery. Gerard wondered how there could be such a $30 range, but he didn't bother to ask. If the problem was electrical, he asked the service rep, what would Sears fix? The rep said Sears only replaced alternators and starters; if the electrical problem involved something else, Gerard would have to take it to the dealer.

Gerard went out to pull the battery out of his car so he could recharge it overnight. Then he could hook the battery up the next day and use a meter to see if the electrical system was working properly. He opened the hood. He looked. He looked some more. Where was the battery?! Had someone stolen it?

He opened the manual. The manual said nothing about the location of the battery. He called up his friend Bryan. Bryan told him that he was looking in the wrong place; the battery was under the rear seat. Gerard scoffed. "Nobody puts a battery under the rear seat except Volkswagen," he told Bryan.

"Well, it's got to be somewhere if it's not under the hood," Bryan replied. Gerard went back out to the Buick and lifted up the rear seat. He found a few coins, some real old chewing gum, a paperback novel, and a watch battery, but no car battery.

Enough was enough. Gerard called AAA's emergency road service. Before the tow truck driver towed the Buick to Sears, Gerard asked him if he knew where the battery was. "Oh, sure," he said. "It's under the hood, but you'd never know it because it's completely hidden by the big, white plastic windshield washer reservoir."

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