A “simple” Jump Start

We had planned to do a bit of hiking in Bannerghatta National Park on Sunday. Bannerghatta is a park just outside of Bangalore that is best known for its zoo and safari park. It has a large rehabilitation center for wild animals and the safari park is something of a retirement home for circus lions and tigers. It also has dozens of square miles of uninhabited and virtually unused land; complete with trekking trails.

We had planned to set out at 9AM, but only managed to get started shortly after ten. Then it happened… dead battery! We had gone to a shopping mall on Saturday. I had turned the lights on while pulling out and then forgotten them in the daylight. The trick of pusing the car into a good roll and then popping the clutch to start it would not work. It was stone cold dead. Now in Germany or the US, we’d just dig out a set of jumper cables and be set to go in five minutes. Nobody in India (mechanics included) seems to have jumper cables and it is certainly not on any expat “things to ship to India” lists. That was the end of the hiking trip right then and there. “Sunday Hiking” turned into “Let’s see how they get dead car batteries running in India”.

So Siva called her driver as he lived just a few minutes away. He then set off to find heavy enough wire to use to jump the car. He came back with a low gauge wire that was about half as thick as the wires on jumper cables. He then removed the battery from her car and wired it up to our Innova.

Not enough oomph! For the record, the Toyota Innova has a much bigger battery than the Honda City.

Then he put the battery back in the Honda and we tried a traditional car-car jump start approach. This time, the gauge of the wires was too small and they were too hot to hold in place while cranking the Toyota over. We almost got it though. Luckily, there was a family at the corner with the same kind of car as us. They kindly let us borrow the battery so we could take ours to a mechanic and have it put on a charger.

The repair shop on Whitefield road did not have jumper cables, so the mechanic did something breathtaking; something that would give any OSHA inspector palpitations. He had me start the car on the good battery. Then, while it was running and feeding off of the alternator, he removed it and put the dead battery in.

WHILE THE CAR WAS RUNNING!!!

There were pulleys pulling belts and fan blades all over the place and this guy is changing batteries. He then had us drive it ten miles to recharge the battery and all was well.

WHILE THE CAR WAS RUNNING!!!

The moral of this story: Ship the jumper cables

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