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The Trickle - price versus value
January 17, 2011 - Brian Ferry
Gonna need a bigger boat I didn't need a bigger boat. In fact, the vehicles I was dealing with at the time were too big. The family vehicle (the one in which the whole family might ride at the same time) was out of commission. The battery died in the driveway. No problem. I'm enough of a mechanic to take care of this problem. I have … JUMPER CABLES! This is about the limit of my car repair expertise. I have changed a couple tires and I watched someone change brake pads once and thought I might be able to do it myself. Jump-starting (what an odd term) a car is an area in which I've gathered some practice. I'll bet I've done it successfully at least half-a-dozen times. So, I drive the single unit transport vehicle (the one with the maximum occupancy of three, and that under ideal circumstances)(we'll call this “car”) to the driveway. The family vehicle is facing away from me. A tree, a house, and a foot of snow have conspired against me getting around to the front of the vehicle. Pah. That's what the “cables” part of jumper cables is for. The slope of the driveway and the snow make inching the vehicle up to the back of the vehicle a challenge. Still, I got within about six inches. I got the cables out and checked, just to make sure there were no length issues. My 12-foot cables (I got a good price on them) weren't even close. The vehicle is almost half-again as long as that. *grumble* Next plan. Pull the car through the yard (with the snow) so that its front bumper is as close as possible to the vehicle's driver-side door. Good plan. With the snow, the porch steps and some shrubbery (maybe a knight who says 'Ni' for good measure) I struggled to get the car close to the vehicle without T-boning it. I got up pretty close. Surely close enough. Nope. I still needed to be closer. One last charge (it's nerve-wracking hitting the gas while driving ever closer to the broadside of your other vehicle). I got about as close as I could. I'd say six inches from the corner of the car bumper to the vehicle's driver-side rear door. I hooked the cables on in the order indicated on the bag. (I'm not so experienced at this job that I'll risk doing things in the wrong order.) I really had to stretch the suckers to the limit, but they reached. No juice. *grumble* I had to break down and call my favorite car expert. (This was difficult, because, like many men, I would rather be lost for 15 minutes than stop and ask for directions.) He said I might not have a solid connection. I maneuvered the cables between the hood and the prop instead of around the prop, saving about ¾ inch. It was enough. The copper jaws now grabbed solidly on the posts. A few minutes later, I turned the car key. The vehicle slowly started up. The primary problem was solved. The next problem, however, is to replace the cut-rate 12-foot jumper cables. It seems 20-foot is a common length. And the price really isn't that bad. Time to upgrade.
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