Weak Battery or bad Kick Starter?
For a few months, the two battery terminals in my car have been giving issues, so much so that I had to call a technician on this particular day when the car will not start.
The technician came, made some adjustments, and the car started. He recommended that the two terminals be changed. I gave him money to buy new terminals for me and promised to come for fixing them whenever I get a little free time.
I never went. Simply because no major issue arose with the terminals again afterward. Whenever there seems to be a little issue, each time I adjust the terminals, the car starts. Until a few days ago.
The car refused to start. Instead, it was giving a 'knocking' sound. People around asked if I needed any help but I told them it has to do with the battery terminals and this is fixable without any help. Unfortunately, all my efforts to fix the terminals proved abortive.
I was forced to call on the technician again, this time, I told him to come with the new terminals I asked him to buy some months back. He came and replaced the old terminal with the new ones. The engine refused to start, still.
He did some diagnoses and announced that the kick starter has gone kaput. That came as a surprise. The kick starter was decoupled from the engine and preliminary checks revealed that the solenoid is bad.
For educational purposes, a typical kick-starter consists of 2 main parts - the solenoid and the electric motor. The solenoid connects directly with the car battery and the starter relay. Whenever the ignition is turned on, the solenoid starts the engine through its connection to the crankshaft through the drive gear end, but not without the help of the motor.
According to the technician, the solenoid has to be replaced. I paid him the quoted amount and he went away with the kick starter to go and replaced the solenoid. This is the first time I am experiencing a bad solenoid. Most of my experiences are with wear-out brushes on the electric motor.
About half an hour later, the technician called to give a piece of rather bad news. A new solenoid still did not get the Kickstarter working and when he opened up the electric motor, he discovered that the mature has gone bad.
Can the mature be replaced? Yes. However, the cost of replacing it is almost the same as the cost of replacing the entire kick-stater set. Thus, I decided to pay the price for a new Kickstarter.
Everything went well but it seemed the power of the battery has been drained while repeatedly trying to ignite the engine with a bad Kickstarter. Another battery was brought to start the engine and the original battery was placed back with the hope that the alternator will charge the battery back and normal function will resume.
I drove back home, switched off the engine, and tried to ignite it back. I wanted to be sure the battery is now working as it should. After a little drag, the engine started. The following morning, the engine started, also after a little drag. I felt it was because the battery is yet to be fully charged.
I drove a bit of distance to visit a family friend who was just forced to move to his uncompleted house by a bottle landlady. As usual, the engine started after a little drag when it was time to leave. Will this little drag now become a new normal? Is it still due to a weak battery?
Later that day, I went into town to use the ATM. This is when the worst happened. The engine refused to start. A bad battery, I thought. I called a friend of mine to come and assist with his car battery. The same result, the car refused to start.
I was forced to call the technician. He came after like half an hour, connected the two batteries and the car started. One interesting thing, however, is that my 'weak' battery was able to start my friend's car but could not start mine.
The technician explained that my engine is more powerful than that of my friend. Thus, a battery that is weak for my own engine may start another engine that is not as powerful. I reluctantly agreed to his hypothesis - or should I say theory.
I drove to see my sister downtown. Again, the car refused to start when it was time to leave. I was left with no option but to look for money for a new battery. I rushed to get the battery, but to my chagrin, the engine still refused to start. What!
I called the technician, explained to him, and he came down some minutes after. At this point, he had no option but to agree that the replacement Kickstarter is simply bad. In short, the car had to sleep on the road until the following day.
A new kickstart was brought. It was fixed and the engine started without any form of dragging. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I replaced the new battery with the old one and the car started seamlessly. I just spent a fortune to get a new battery when the old one is still working.
Since it was still barely 24 hours since I bought the new battery, I decided to try my luck with a return. I called the vendor and explained things to him. To cut the long story short, he accepted the battery back. However, only about 90% of the original cost was returned. I was more than happy to collect it because times are hard.