These were the thoughts running through my mind as I stood watching my car's engine gasp and shake.... in my Sunday best.... in the church parking lot.... on the hottest day of summer. (Those of you who know me are probably asking yourselves: "David, what were YOU doing with your car hood up?!" Don't worry, I didn't do it. Several beneficent Brothers were kind enough to help me out - I was just watching).
As it turns out, Yikealo had turned the lights from "auto" to "on". This is not something you notice on a bright shiney day. You would think that the frantic "dinging" that announced our exit from the car would have alerted either Larisa or me to the situation. You would think...turns out my ignorance of all things automobile is not always bliss.
This is what I now know about cars:
- When the lights are on for 4 hours in 90 degree weather, the battery dies.
- When the battery is dead, the computer forgets everything.
- When the computer has amnesia, the car won't start immediately when you connect jumper cables. You must let the computer charge up just a little.
- When barely charged, the computer "remembers" how to start the car, but, apparently, still "forgets" how to manage the engine and the throttle.
- While the computer has engine management amnesia, the whole car shakes.
- While the computer has throttle amnesia you cannot go above 5 mph on a straight-away and cannot climb hills at all.
- Letting the car run for awhile, turning it off for 15 seconds, and then restarting helps the computer "remember" more.
- Your "service engine soon" light doesn't come on when the battery is dead.
- Your "service engine soon" light does come on before the computer remembers much else.
- Your "service engine soon" light goes back off if you ignore it long enough and the problem was that your battery was dead but is now charged again
All this newfound knowledge still doesn't help me with the panicked question: "how does a dead battery make my entire car shake when I restart?!" However, it does go a long way towards answering "what could it hurt to let Yikealo play in the car while I sit on the porch and have my devotions?"