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Tag Archives: tow truck bcaa

Battery or Alternator

13 Aug

This evening, while driving on Highway 91N my car died. My dashboard all of a sudden gave me zero info, all the orange arrows were down at the bottom left as if the car was off. While going around 80km or so my dash showed I was at a stop. Even though I’d just filled up my gas tank the dash said I was on empty. You get the idea.

I wasn’t sure what to do but figured if I could just match everyone elses speed and get home I’d figure it out there.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. As I rounded a bend my suv decelerated, and that is when I realized I had been keeping up speed only because of momentum (ah science!), the engine wasn’t running.

Crap.

So I pulled over on to the shoulder, turned on the hazards, and realized that I was stranded on the side of a busy highway with no clear plan of how to get out of the situation.

Double crap.

Lucky for me my parents drilled in to me when I started driving to always always always have a current BCAA Membership, if I use it even once in the year it has paid for itself, well, I was definitely going to use it today! I called, got a very nice lady who was patient with me while I tried to figure out how to explain exactly where on the highway I was, and eventually a tow truck was dispatched to me.

While waiting I texted a friend to let her know I’d be missing our Zumba class and she, being the amazing person that she is offered to help. The plan became she would meet me at my mechanic’s shop and drive me to a car rental place, all we needed was for the tow truck to show up.

A tow truck did arrive, with a very attractive driver (yum!), but he was not my tow truck, sigh. A municipal city employee saw me on the side of the road and called it in and the tow truck was dispatched to see what was going on. He offered to tow me up the road to a truck pull off but I was worried if I was moved anywhere the tow truck I was actually waiting for would never find me, so I said I’d stay where I was. We had a lovely little chat, he took a look at the engine, had me try to turn it on so he could hear what it sounded like, then suggested he try boosting the battery.

Turns out vehicle batteries have an approximate 3 to 4 year life span and mine is coming up to 10 years old. Oops? Although, gotta say, props to the battery for lasting so long!

Anyways, back to the story, he boosted the battery, and the suv started! Yay! He said to drive it to my mechanic, do not for any reason turn the engine off, and I should be able to get to my destination. He leaves and I call BCAA to cancel my request for a tow truck. Only, I’m still navigating the stupid automated system when the suv died. Again.

My inexperienced self is guessing it died because instead of driving once it got started again I sat there idling so as to avoid the ticket I would surely get if I phoned BCAA while driving.

Safety killed my shot at getting home unaided by a tow truck. Stupid safety.

I say stupid safety because my BCAA plan only covered the cost of 5km worth of towing, after that it is stupidly expensive. How stupidly expensive you ask?

$77.09 worth of stupid.

Ugh.

The tow truck driver dropped the suv and I off at my mechanics shop, it was of course closed, and I did the classic write a note and attach it to my car keys and toss them in the mail slot thing.

All this time my friend had been googling trying to find a rental car for me because my phone was nearly dead and I couldn’t search myself. The only places open to rent a vehicle were airport locations so she drove to the airport while I called Budget to confirm they really did have cars at the airport because the website kept changing car availability when we checked.

The guy I spoke to was so hard to understand, and not clear on what he was telling me, but luckily I had the basic info I needed from the website, so I pre-paid for a vehicle and we went to the Budget Rental desk at the airport.

The guy at the actual location was so nice! I told him I needed some clarification on things because the guy I spoke to on the phone was very confusing and hard to understand and he immediately agreed he most likely had been since my order had my first name spelled wrong, and it isn’t a hard to spell name! I got my questions answered, once again swiped my poor Visa card, and became in possession of a car so small I’m not convinced it isn’t a toy. I drove home in a Honda Fit.

honda fit

So. Small.

And yes I know I am being spoiled and all woe is me when I should be grateful to be able to get a rental at all. And I am grateful! I am. I’m just also tired, and drove home is something that made me feel like I could be squished on to the road. And I’m freaking out about how much all this is going to cost because the rental cost $180 and gets me the car until Thursday 8:30pm and by then I’ll either be able to return it and will be dealing with a bill from the mechanic or I’ll need to extend the rental because repairs are going to take even longer, and probably cost even more, and well yeah, stress. Money stress sucks.

The first tow truck driver thought it was the battery, which if it is, would be the cheaper fix. The second tow truck driver thought it was the alternator, which is apparently a very expensive thing to fix and if that gets worked on I should also get the battery replaced, so double whammy.

Guess which one I hope is right? 😉

Please be the battery. Please be the battery. Pleeeeeeease be the battery!

please

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