A few weeks ago, I managed to get three of my kids in the van without any yelling. On this morning, I wouldn't have to speed to get them to school on time, but I was cutting it close.
I slammed my door shut, hit the button to open the garage door and turned the ignition key.
My van was dead. I got the kids moved over to our 2000 Nissan with too many miles to mention. Its two best features are the perpetual glowing engine light and broken A/C. The kids loved nothing more than listening to NPR on the drive to school. I tell them it makes them smart!
So that afternoon, I began searching for a replacement battery by calling a few local auto parts stores.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The questions came fast and furiously.
"What's your group size?" (I think 24F…or?)
"I've got one here with a CCA of 720…is that enough?" (No idea)
"Do you have a preference in cold cranking amps?" (Huh?)
"What kind of warranty are you looking for?" (A long one?)
For those of you who work on your cars on the weekends, you must be laughing at my lack of automotive knowledge. I'd rather watch football or go for a bike ride on the weekends, but to each his or her own.
When I'm in predicament with my car, I call my Prius-driving father-in-law. If there's anyone who should know about batteries, shouldn't it be the guy driving the Prius?
Without hesitating, my father-in-law said, "Go see Jerry" in a manner that told me I should know who Jerry is. I don't, so I prodded further.
Jerry is the owner of a small, local battery shop called Dixie Battery that's been in business for 31 years. He doesn't change oil. He doesn't sell windshield wipers or tires. He sells one item: car batteries. And his garage is full of them.
When I pulled up, Jerry had rigged a swamp cooler to push cool air into the garage.
I told Jerry I needed a new battery for my Honda Odyssey. He came outside and tested my old battery that I'd been able to jump-start to make the trip. He confirmed my battery was on its last legs. "Not good, not good", he said while shaking his head.
"Do you have a battery that would work?", I asked.
"I've got three: good, better, and best."
The price difference between the good and the best battery was $30, but best model had a longer warranty. That made my decision an easy one. And that's what I was looking for. Jerry removed my old battery, installed the new one, and tested it. I was in and out in under 15 minutes.
I don't want to spend my afternoon researching batteries. Having a choice or 20 or 30 batteries is actually more hassle than having three.
My father-in-law has been buying batteries from Jerry for over 30 years, and now I see why. I wanted to get back on the road with the least amount of drama as possible. Jerry's "good, better, best" approach is perfect in this regard. Plus, he's a good guy with a no-nonsense approach to selling automotive batteries.
I still have no idea how many cold cranking amps I need. But I trust that Jerry does.