My wife and daughter tell me that our Toyota Camry will not start up. I ask them to turn on the head lights and they look dim. I get my volt ohm meter and read just over 9 volts across the battery terminals. I tell them to use another family car and I will go get another battery. I have changed out car batteries in the past and it is very easy, should take a couple of hours to shop for a replacement and swap it out. I look at the date code sticker on the battery and it shows being over 6 years old. But, all of a sudden I remember seeing AAA battery service vehicles from time to time. Our family has AAA Roadside Service (California) and I call their number (800-AAA-HELP). They can get a person out within 30 minutes, I was told. The battery cost is just over $100 and the service call is included in us paying for AAA roadside service. The local company who contracts with AAA, Brea (California) Towing, service technician shows up in about 10 minutes. He checks my AAA card and pulls out two test equipment boxes, analyzer and I think a battery. He uses the large analyzer to scan the car VIN identification tag in the drive door frame and knows the year of the car immediately and thus the battery needed for my car.
He hooks up the analyzer and quickly determines that the battery has a bad cell. He then checks our charging system and finds that it is working fine. The tester prints out two paper reports, one he keeps and the second he hands to me.
Below is partial copy of the print out form the tester that I was given showing that our battery has a bad cell.
He removes the analyzer and inserts a backup battery across the car power terminals while he replaces the old battery with a new one. The reason he does this is so we do not loose the saved radio stations stored in the car radio. The technician has our battery in his truck and installs it. Their batteries all say AAA but I am told they are made by Interstate Batteries. The battery we received had a CCA (cold crank amps) of 700! The whole process is completed within the time they told me the service technician would arrive, 30 minutes. I was shocked at how fast this whole repair process took.
- The whole process was incredibly, shockingly, fast.
- I was guessing that the battery was bad (good guess). For this company to come out with a very sophisticated tester and pinpoint the problem to be the battery and not the charging system is very important.
- The battery cost was very reasonable ($119.88 total). I checked and my research shows that I actually saved money by using this service, about $30.
- I got a CCA rating that is impressive, 700.
- The battery has a 3 year free replacement and a 6 year limited warranty.
- The car radio saved stations do not get erased.
- I did not have to drive to a store and pick up the battery. I did not have to drive back to the store to return the bad battery. I did not have to do the installation.