Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and...dead batteries

As I was watching various sports this weekend, and talking to my wife about how things have changed in football, I was reminded of how baseball has changed so little in the last 40 years or more.
Sure, the steroid scandals may have put an asterisk next to some home run records and the Texas Rangers look to be on the verge of winning their first World Series title, but the game itself is as familiar as it ever has been.

Any given day during the summer, a number of games will be played. If you happen to listen to, watch or attend one or more games – be it youth, high-school, college or pro - you will find yourself in a familiar role. Keep your eye on the ball, because here's the pitch...the swing...the crack of the bat. The pitcher's throwing some heat out there today...wow! What a curve!

By now, you're surely wondering why an automotive columnist is waxing poetic about the “boys of summer”, but that familiar feeling you get knowing you can count on “America's favorite pastime” makes it reliable. You'll hear “Take me out to the ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch every time and you can count on it.

Here's where I throw my own curve.

Will you be able to count on your car after the Fall Classic has wrapped up?

As the days get cooler and the leaves pile up on your lawn, can you be sure your car's battery will be reliable to you?

Colder weather can sap the last bit of reserve out of your battery if it's had it's best years behind it. It may be ready to hang up the spikes for good – you just don't want it to “retire” when you're in the parking lot late at night with groceries or after a long day of tailgating and football! Increased electrical demand during winter months (lights, wipers, heater, etc.) may bring a marginal battery or even charging system to light.
A battery needs to have enough reserve cranking amps to handle turning over your engine when it's cold and the charging system (alternator, drive belt, regulator control) needs to be able to handle all of the electrical load that is demanded of it. A loose or worn belt can let the alternator turn slower than it should and if the charging system is not putting out enough power, the battery will be called upon to take up the slack.

If this goes on for too long, the battery will eventually discharge and could leave you stranded like a runner on second with two outs and the umpire yelling “strike three...yer out!”

Do yourself a favor and take some steps to insure that your vehicle will be ready for fall and winter and get your charging system tested to give yourself some peace of mind and know that your car or truck will be there for you when you need it most.

With a properly maintained vehicle, you can limit your off-season surprises and when the days start to get a little longer and warmer and the leaves start growing again, you will have made it through another winter and can look forward to sitting in the bleachers again or driving home from work and hearing “Play ball!”
Thank you for reading, and as always, I welcome questions to be considered for future columns!
Drive safe!

Todd Ainsworth is co-owner of West Seattle Autoworks.

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