Intrepid AutoMama Returns

"It's a flock of Monarchs! Come look!" It is so cool to work with people with similar interests and inclinations. We went to look at the flock of Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico past our patio.

Monarchs are usually kind of ditzy, lazy flyers, a bit like the kite that you can't quite get up and going. They can take their time since birds know that they taste even worse than okra. They don't migrate in a tight V goose formation, but they weren't flying down low where I expected them. Hundreds of Monarchs were indeed flying over our school Thursday morning, up so high it was hard to see them. [That might be partly because my sinus congestion was a day away from me seeing lots of spots.] They weren't close together, but they were surprisingly businesslike.

My point, perhaps, is that we expect to find things where they usually are, doing what they usually do. When they don't behave as expected, they can be mighty hard to see.

This brings me to my son's 1998 Dodge Intrepid. Wanna buy it???

The Intrepid has been parked in my carport while he's putting on the Ritz in Italy and the surrounding continent. At first I moved the Intrepid every week or so, from one parking space to another, but the battery died about a month ago. I actually dusted the exterior once, and had planned to Swiffer it soon. Instead, I got word that I had to move it out of the carport before tomorrow because the painting of my building will begin in the morning.

Clicked my ruby slippers together, and went out to try to start the darn Dodge. No luck. Just then Invisible Guy arrived home. I moved in next door to Invisible Guy in July 2000, and we have spoken exactly ten times. If we happen to drive in at the same time, he jumps out of his car and runs into his condo.

It must have been the frustration and pseudoephedrine talking, but I jumped out of the Intrepid as he jumped out of his car, and babeled, "Hey, ____, they are going to start painting tomorrow, and we have to move our cars. My son is in Italy and his car won't start because the battery is dead." Then I did a really impressive rib-rattling round of coughing.

Invisible Guy said it might be possible to push the Intrepid across the parking lot, then he started to make a break for his front door. I coughed some more. He got out some jumper cables, but they wouldn't reach from either his car or my Buick parked outside the carport. He rigged up two sets of jumper cables, and got a Dr. Frankenstein look in his eyes. Alas, I looked more like Marty Feldman than either Madeline Kahn or Teri Garr. I popped the hood on the Intrepid.

"What the...? Where's the.....?," we both muttered. The car had no battery! Okay, it seemed, appeared, to have no battery. It had no battery in a place one might expect to find a battery, like under the hood. This was not going to be as easy as the Buick headlight. Invisible Guy was still ready to shock the monster to life. "We don't need to find the battery," he said. "This is where to hook the positive and negative jumper cables." Indeed, there were flaps so marked. I could hear Frau Blucher laughing in the background. We zapped the monster, and got the car moved across the parking lot without pushing it, thank heaven.

I'm not going to attempt to replace the Intrepid battery, even though I did find where it was hiding. This is what I learned about Intrepid batteries from Mopar and epinions.com:

I had a 1998 Dodge Intrepid, but after hearing all of the problems that happen when those hit 60,000 miles, I decided to trade it in since I was starting to have problems of my own with mine. After all, in a Dodge Intrepid it takes at least an hour to change the battery because you have to take the front wheel off, remove the wheelwell and then pull the battery out. Saturn's are pretty easy for the everyday person to work on, unlike the Intrepid where in order to replace the main belt you have to take the whole front end of the car apart.

It is very difficult to change the battery in this car. You have to hope that when the battery goes, you are at home as you have to remove the tire and the wheelwell to get the battery out. You don't want to be doing this in a parking lot.

The only problem I see with the engine is that if you need to change the battery for any reason you had better know what you are doing. The battery is not in its ?normal? place. It is located in a compartment in front of the tire in the right front fender and is accessible through the engine compartment. I will just bring it in to the shop to get the battery changed if I need that.

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