My Chevy Thinks it's a VW
Well, that was fun.
Our 2010 Chevy Traverse decided it didn’t want to play. 100 miles from home. At 9PM. In the dark. Worse, my wife was driving - and she was alone. You know, 100 miles from home. At 9PM. In the dark. Her description made it sound like the battery was at fault. Thankfully, we had extended family nearby and a quick jumpstart helped to get her on her way home safely.
When checking it out today, the starter didn’t have enough oompf to turn the engine over. That’s a highly technical automobile mechanic term, by the way. I measured just over 10 volts. Once I got it running, I saw around 14 volts, so I knew the alternator was doing its job. The battery did indeed seem to be the culprit. Off to the parts store for a quick fix.
The lady behind the counter was happy to test the battery for me. I popped the hood, located the clearly marked positive and negative terminals, and hooked the tester up. Yep, 10 volts - and about 100 cold-cranking amps. Pretty darned wimpy. Time to replace the battery. So I took off the cover which was right between the terminals, to get to the battery. What the what? Why was I looking at a fuse box? I’d never seen a fuse box mounted atop a battery before. A bit more poking and neck-craning later, and I realized I had no idea where the battery was.
So I snatched the maintenance manual from the glove box. Looked up battery. And right there it was: a big fat LACK of information. Nowhere in that book was information that told me the secret location of the stupid battery. Unable to believe that, I handed the book to the lady, who verified my (lack of) findings. So off I went to ask the oracle. The first several pages of hits were filled by folks asking where the heck was the battery in their Traverse. Clearly I wasn’t alone.
I eventually learned that the battery was stored behind the passenger seat. You know, exactly where you would have expected it to be. If your car was a Volkswagen Beetle built half a century ago. After finding Chevy’s own area 51, I took a picture of the battery to determine my next steps. This was apparently the OEM battery and had lasted a good 7 years - so needing to replace it wasn’t a surprise.
The lady behind the counter looked up the car and battery on the computer, and surprise: they were not allowed to replace it for me, because the computer said “professional installation required” … I supposed that was because only an official Chevrolet mechanic would have a clue where the thing was to begin with. Okay - I’m a professional. Kind of. From a different profession, but whatever. I bought the new battery. The lady allowed me to borrow her tools, and 15 minutes later I had a new battery installed and the car was cranking easily. I have to assume that I saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000 by doing this myself. You know, versus going to the dealership. Because they charge that kind of cash for stuff. Plus they would have found that my blinker fluid was low and a bunch of other things that needed to be fixed to keep my wife safe on the road.
Anyway … next on the list: get the air conditioner fixed. Driving this thing in the recent 80+ (and sometimes 90+) degree weather is a real drag. 4⁄60 can only get you so far … this may indeed prove to be something I’m incapable of doing, in which case I’ll be forced to find someone to help who won’t be overly concerned with the blinker fluid …
I can’t wait.