Sunday, July 20, 2014

Old guy installs new battery

I'll volunteer this right at the top:  I am not very mechanically inclined.  But, I'm fun at parties.

I'm not incapable of learning.  If I see someone do a task (either in person or on a YouTube video, which is one of the greatest helps thanks to today's technology), I have a pretty decent degree of success in duplicating it myself.  That's how I've managed to do a few simple mechanically related fixes in my life or know when something breaks if I've experienced it before, what it might be.

In my previous blog post, I shared that I had to go purchase a new battery for the Ken Carr car (my 2004 Mazda RX-8).  Based on the ten times or so I've had batteries fail in various cars during my lifetime, I had a strong degree of confidence that replacing the battery when out of the blue the engine was cranking really slowly was the needed fix.  I've had three batteries fail previously during the eight year period that I've owned the car, so I have an idea what happens when the battery is at it's end.

I got the battery last night, but one other thing I have learned in my life is that attempting car repair tasks in the dark, even with a flashlight or two, takes longer and is a bit more difficult.  Sometimes it can't be helped.  In this case, since it happened on a weekend, I could wait until this morning to do the change out.

Earlier this week, I had purchased a couple of quarts of oil for the car (rotary engines burn oil naturally -- which is what the RX-8 has -- and I have to put oil in the engine regularly) and an air filter.  I couldn't remember the last time the air filter was changed when I purchased a new one on a whim.  I was sure it was full of dirt (oh air filter, you are sooooo dirrrrrty and naughty) and that causes certain issues including carbon build up in the motor, more wear and tear, and decreased gas mileage.  The RX-8 already gets craptastic gas mileage (rotary engines have that problem if you can call it that) so if a new air filter could get me another mile to the gallon that would be a 3-5% improvement.  I vote yes.

I was waiting to change the air filter until this weekend because I didn't want to get my work clothes dirty doing it on a weekday morning, and it gets dark shortly after I get home from work.  It was not an emergency, so I thought it could wait.  I ended up being able to get dirty once -- battery change and air filter in the same operation.

The task was successful.  Car started after new battery installed.  Removing and installing the new air filter tore up my fingers a bit but no blood.  Now that I'm a tough mechanic-type guy (for fifteen minutes, anyway) maybe I'll go crush a beer can on my head and watch sports on TV.  When does ESPN show swimming?

The rachet tool set I received as a
Christmas gift from my parents 30 plus
years ago.
It still comes in handy.

Dirty air filter from the Ken Carr car -
my Mazda RX-8.

Air filter, you're sooooo dirty.

The old dead battery.
Buh bye.

New battery installed.
We're at full power, Captain.
Ahead warp factor one.