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Thursday, March 22, 2018

What We Learned From Good Old Betsy

I never really named our mini van, but when I did refer to it, it was in the feminine, as Betsy, and in later years, as Good Old Betsy. 
We bought Betsy as a used car in March 1999, nineteen years ago, from Thrifty Car Rentals. It was the district manager's wife's personal car and had just been delivered to the used car sales lot that day.  We were looking to replace our worn out mini van with a newer model, and this one had all of the bells and whistles. We bought it and then waited until it was detailed to drive it home. 

As I described in my last post, Betsy has served us in a variety of ways, including as a cargo truck. It has been a good car, but starting last fall we began having battery issues. Tom had the battery replaced, but it didn't seen to hold a charge. We don't drive Betsy that much anymore, not since I retired. I used to drive her to work every day. Lately, every time we would try to start it, the battery was dead. 

Tom bought a trickle charger to keep the battery going, but then noticed that charger was working most of the time. I went on line to do a bit of research and decided it must be the alternator. That would be a pricey fix, and there was a caution to have a thorough diagnostic work up before buying a new alternator. It could be something simpler. 

We found a well established auto electrical shop and took it in Monday. Turns out there was a phone charger left plugged into the charging port way back by the back seat, most likely left there when we transported the family to the cider bee in October. The thorough diagnostic tests gave the battery and the alternator and the electrical system a clean bill of health. But that charger was drawing a constant electrical current, which didn't allow the battery to "sleep" and drained it over and over. 

So what we learned from Betsy is to not leave phone chargers plugged into charging ports, at least not in older cars. 

And by the way, as soon as we got Betsy back from the repair shop, we began loading her up with yard debris. After three trips to the yard waste transfer station over two days, all of those piles are gone.

Good Old Betsy!

14 comments:

  1. Great story. I’m driving a 2003 mini-van that has proven to be a true and faithful friend. I wouldn’t think of trading it in for something newer. Doing diagnostic testing has saved us money over the years.

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  2. How nice it was such a simple fix! That car has certainly earned its keep.

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  3. Oops! We keep a phone charger plugged in our car (usually not plugged into a phone). It's there for when we need it and I never thought it could drain the battery if not left plugged into a phone. Guess we should not do that!

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  4. So glad Betsy was an easy fix. She should give you many more years. My vehicle is 15 and hasn't given me a minutes trouble.

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  5. This car has served you well. And what a wonderful stroke of good fortune to learn that it was an easy fix. I hope you have her for many more years. :-)

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  6. Nice that it was easy to fix and now Betsy can serve you for many years to come.

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  7. Now that's a problem I've never heard of. Fortunately for you it was not a major problem.

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  8. sounds like our good old subaru that is still our family car, bought in 2006 so only 12 years old and run well. Haven't named it yet...lol!

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  9. Betsy is the bomb. We have a 20 yr old truck that does all of our dirty work. We call him the Blue Goose. I am glad Betsy had an easy fix. These older vehicles are not cut out for all the high tech operations of the day. Sort of like me. ;)

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  10. Good to know that Betsy's battery and alternator are still doing well. Our old truck has a similar battery issue so now we take the battery cables off after we're through driving yard waste to the recycling place and the battery stays charged.

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  11. Oh, good old Betsy. It sure pays to check, doesn't it?

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  12. That is interesting that the phone charger is still drawing power when the engine is off. My one that is plugged in the front of my car has a blue light to show its on and when I turn off the engine the light goes off so I assumed the charger did too. However I know I have to be careful in some of the plugs in my older RV or the charger will continue to draw current.

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  13. Thanks for the heads up! Hopefully ours gets shut off when the vehicle is turned off:)

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  14. Good info to know! My Dad use to call all his cars Old Betsy! Thanks for the smile!

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