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posted: 9/16/2012 4:58 AM

Many factors contribute to a dead battery

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We all have these scenarios that play out in our minds which we hope will never happen! I have one that I have thought about many times.

I have this fear we will have one of our company vehicles, which are fully wrapped with our company information, involved in some event like a parade, and it will have a mechanical failure of some sort. That would be one of those nightmare scenarios where you would just want the ground to swallow you up.

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On Saturday last week, I came about as close as I want to come to one of those times. Our company was one of many advertisers and attendees of the Kalaway Landowners Cup polo event in Barrington. Which, by the way, is a very cool event.

I am not much of a horse person but I certainly appreciate them and the pageantry of this event. It is open to the public, so when it comes around next year, I highly recommend it -- but back to my original story.

We had a great time watching the polo and enjoying good food with family, friends and clients all afternoon. When it was time to leave, we loaded up all our gear into the Douglas 2007 Avalanche. I got my elderly mom all situated in the passenger seat and I went to start the truck to leave.

When I turned the key, I got nothing but a click. I said out loud: "You have got to be kidding me." After fiddling around for a minute, I determined the battery failed and I was going to need a jump. Since my vehicle was the only one from our group on the field, I was going to need some help.

Fortunately, a fellow in the tent next to ours saw my problem and offered to give me a jump. The vehicle started and I was on my way with no further issues. So what happened? Why did the battery fail like that?

I can't say for sure because when we tested it back at the shop it was just barely marginal. Here are the facts: as I mentioned, the vehicle is a 2007, which makes the battery between 5 and 6 years old and reason enough to just change it. The other thing is we just came through a really hot summer, which is very hard on the car battery. Lastly, we were in and out of the truck all day getting this and that and leaving the doors open and so forth.

I think this all combined to leave a marginal battery exposed to having a failure.

So this is a reminder for all of us that if the battery is in the 5-to-6-year range, even if it seems to be OK, it might not be a bad idea to change it.

Although it may not be as embarrassing as it was for me, a dead battery might come at a much more inconvenient time for you!

• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to underthehood@dailyherald.com.

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