11/25/2012 – Our car battery kept running dead on our way down from Oregon

posted in: California | 0



// CRV car battery dies while being towed four down | Rolling Shoe Box //

On the way down from Oregon, we had to stop every 10 hours to start the car, but he car battery was dead. The 2010 Honda CRV requires that the car be started every 10 hours, then you put your foot on the brake, place it in reverse for a few seconds, then place it in” L1″ for a few seconds then “L2″, then “D”, then neutral, but when in neutral it has to idle for 3 minutes.  We perform this routine every time we hook up the car for a trip and every 10 hours until we arrive.  This trip took us about 48 hours with stops.

We drove from Seaside, Oregon to a rest area in Red Bluff, California. we slept in the rest area for seven hours then did our pre trip inspection of the rig and car. When we went to start the car it was completely dead, the dash would not even light up. I was dumbfounded. We have never experienced this before. Luckily, I keep a car battery charger in the rig, and have outside 110V GFCI protected electrical plugs. The rain was coming down so hard that we could hardly see, but we got the car battery charger plugged in, and RV generator running, there was plenty of power to supply the inside needs of the coffee pot, (After working out in the rain, we needed our hot coffee) and heat pump while charging the car battery. After about 5 minutes, the car started right up, but we did not put a full charge on it, it was only left running long enough to do run through the gears.

We drove another 10 hours and arrived in Bakersfield, stayed at Bear Mountain RV park. Fortunately there was no rain, but the battery was again completely dead. Twice in a row, it was driving me crazy, I charged the battery, started the car, and left it running for about an hour, which seemed to put a solid charge on the car battery.

We talked to Honda, and they said the stock car battery is rather small, and if you run any accessories on the battery, it will drain rapidly when the car is not running. They would sell us another larger car battery for $125, and recommended we pull out a fuse each time we tow, to prevent accidental battery discharge. I am against monkeying with the fuses, each time we hookup.

When we pulled into the park here in Palm Springs we made a new friend Leonard Joy. He is a real sharp guy and was fun to visit with. He got to telling me about his trips to Mexico to fish, and when he goes, he takes a cooler that runs on propane and electric. He told me about how his cooler would drain a car battery in just a couple of hours. That’s when it hit me, I had that proverbial ah ha moment. My cooler! I have a cooler I keep plugged in all the time, it runs on a peltier crystal, and when I am towing the car, it is running.

The CRV has to be left in neutral with the ignition on when we tow. The whole time it is being towed, the cooler is happily draining every last electron from the car battery.  When we park the car at night, it does not drain the battery, as when we take the key out of the ignition, the battery is disconnected from all the accessories. That, was a slightly embarrassing and extremely valuable learning experience.

Once in a while, we all do silly things that run our perfectly good starting batteries dead. We can not always have the car right next to a 110V socket, and sometimes we are miles away from road side assistance. If you are like our family, you venture off the beaten path rather frequently.  We have found one more product that should be in our emergency kit. (We are assuming you have an emergency kit) Porta – Jump you charge it once, and you can keep it in your purse, glove compartment, or anywhere that is convenient for that matter. Porta – Jump will hold its charge for about 5 years, just waiting for you to need it’s service. This device, will not start a car with a junk battery, it is not for large vehicles, and is no good if your alternator is not charging. This device is strictly for those times when you left something on, like headlights, the radio, or the cooler plugged in. When you need it, pull it out of the glove box, plug it in the cigarette lighter, wait a few minutes, then start the car. Most cars don’t even require you to lift the hood or know how the fiddle with the car battery.

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Even after verifying the cooler was unplugged, we arrived at our next destination with a dead car battery. Looks like the cooler was only part of the problem.

The ultimate solution was an interstate battery from Firestone that we got for $89.00 with a coupon we found on their web site. We just told them the problem, and that we wanted the strongest battery they had. The CRV seems happy, at least for now. Turned out,Camping World wired the cars break lights to run off the car battery instead of our recreational vehicles power cable. Go figure!

Have a Good Evening and Good Night…..