Dear Click and Clack
The driveway and bridge that I share with several neighbors was washed away by hurricane Irene. It took several months and tons of money to rectify this problem. Meanwhile my 3 cars were marooned at my house and I was still needing to getting around out in civilization. I bought a clunker. A 1995 Chevy Lumina from Louie who inherited it from his Granny with 93K miles.
I don’t think Louie drove it long because it really looks and runs like a well-kept senior’s car. I have had it now a couple of months and would like to keep it as my airport car. I travel a lot and learned (thru experience) not to leave anything remotely nice or expensive at the airport.
The first time I came back from a trip the battery was dead. Stupid me, I just assumed that I probably left a light or device on. The parking lot attendant Derrick gave me a jump and I was on my way home.
The second time before I left the car, I double checked that everything was off. Guest what, when I came back the battery was dead again. My mechanic couldn’t find anything which is no surprise since it works perfectly in Flanders which my home base. I have left it for weeks alone and it will start right up at home.
Now most people would have had enough, but believing in the scientific method decided to experiment. The only other similar experience I have had is a cell phone battery vortex. Essentially a cell phone strategically placed between specific tower configurations can drive the cell software nuts pinging way and draining the battery. I have a client in Mocksville NC, and a fully charged cell battery will lasts only 20 minutes there!
This past week I had a really short one day trip and resolved to test if this could be happening with my remote key. 1995 may be the first year of the remote key system and I theorized early software bugs. It has the original CHEVY logo on the clicker. It does not beep the horn or flash the lights and seams to not work as well in certain directions.
Now P3 at Newark airport has no appreciable temperature or humidity difference from Flanders. But it has lots of stray EMR’s (electro-magnetic radiation) and spinning things. I pulled into the parking lot, parked backwards, so it can be more easily jumped. I turned everything off and locked the car while I sat in it. A couple of people gave me that TSA stare because only a criminal would sit in an airport parking lot doing nothing. There are lots of signs there warning people about suspicious people. I expected the locks to open and close but absolutely nothing. There were no UFO’s hovering above. After a half hour I decided that this is all in my imagination. When I returned a day later, guess what my battery was drained enough so that it couldn’t start. There was just enough juice left to keep the clock going.
I asked Derrick my battery jumper attendant if he has ever seen anyone else with a similar problem. The only thing that came to his mind is some really noisy jets sometimes set off car alarms. The only problem is my car has no alarm.
Now I am a scientist engineer type and do not believe in the X-files, Aliens, Granny’s ghost or any of that mumbo jumbo. These are very inconvenient experiments, after a grueling business trip. Should I just sell this car or donate it to the ghost chasers? Do you know of anybody who would exercise this particular ghost?
Dear Click and Clack
I would set up the battery so you can easily disconnect one of the cables…They make switches for that purpose…Stop beating your head against the wall…
My weirdometer is pegging. I think the needle just bent.
“cell phone battery vortex”?
“lots of stray EMR’s and spinning things”?
“no appreciable temperature or humidity difference [from Neward to Flanders as it relates to a dead battery]”?
And you say you don’t believe in “mumbo jumbo”?
Derrick your “battery jumper attendant” came up with the first rational statement in the post.
Seriously, have you ever heard of a weak battery? Have you had yours tested?
Or a parasitic drain? Have you checked your amperage when the motor is off?
If the car can sit for extended periods in other places and not drain then that rules out a weak battery.
RFI/EMI (I’m not familiar with the term EMR) could cause some electronics to stay “on”.
I would do a parasitic drain test there in the airport lot.
Intermittent parasitic drain problem (e.g. sticky trunk latch or other things) + coincidence that it was a couple of times at the airport.
Add a less than great battery & that doesn’t help.
Have battery tested; if okay do what caddy said; a battery disconnect switch. Cheap, easy & simplest solution.
Start parking at one if off airport lots like avistar. They are cheaper and they will have your car running and waiting for you when they pick you up. It will be clean of snow and warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. I used them all the time when I lived in nj.
Cigroller hit on something there with the trunk latch idea.
What one piece of the puzzle is different at the airport than at home.
quite probably the trunk ?
Most people don’t use the trunk on a daily basis if even weekly.
A sticky trunk light switch might just be staying on too long at the airport when the trunk is the last thing you operate.