Thursday, March 5, 2015

Adventures in a Toyota Yaris

“This is not working.”

As previously discussed, I am batching it as my wife, Ellie, is living with a friend of ours who is battling cancer and needs help at home. Since late January our friend’s Toyota Yaris is in our two-car garage and Ellie’s Honda is in our friend’s single-car garage.

The Yaris had been sitting a long time, and needed a jump to start when we moved it. An experienced stick shift driver, I had some trouble with the clutch, nearly killing the engine at least once driving home. Ellie was following with jumper cables, but the possibility of a dead Yaris on the road, in January, was unsettling.

I planned to take it out periodically; it wouldn’t start the first time I tried this. I jumped it again, let it charge in the garage. Only a few days later I tried it again. Nope. The dome light would not even come on. Our friend wanted to take it to her dealer. I wanted to wait for warmer weather. This came to a head when our friend got a notice that Toyota had recalled her Yaris. Fortunately, slightly warmer weather also arrived.

Our plan was simple enough.
  • I’d call Ellie mid morning letting her know I was getting the car prepped for jumping and she’d come.
  • Using my car, in the garage, we’d jump the Yaris.
  • I’d drive to the dealer and Ellie would follow in her car, with the jumper cables.
This simple plan was not so simply executed.

They arrived, I jumped the Yaris, Ellie started it, and backed into the alley. A car came behind her, and she drove  around the block, back into the alley.

Our friend, who’d come wanting to drive the Yaris, decided I should drive. I killed the engine.

Ellie, behind us in her Honda, drove around the block to come hood-to-hood with us; we jumped the Yaris. Our friend decided she would drive. In the driver’s seat, waiting for Ellie and me to clear stuff out of the way, she instinctively shut off the engine.

Ellie pulled the Honda hood-to-hood again, we jumped the Yaris, … . Again we’re all set. Our friend killed the engine.

She became the most vocally frustrated of us, “This is not working. I think we should call a tow truck. I don’t know why … .” I had Ellie pull up, got the cables, and said, “This car is drivable. Ellie drove it around the block.” I felt another surge of admiration for my wife. “Perhaps she should drive.”

We reached consensus. I jumped the Yaris. Ellie drove out of the neighborhood. I followed.


Ellie took an extraordinarily long time to turn onto the freeway entrance ramp; yup, she killed the engine. I pulled around the stalled Yaris and jumped it once more.

At the dealer, the battery was still uncharged; the tech had to connect a portable battery to have enough power to get the mileage reading.

Upon reflection, over the Bloody Marys we had at lunch, which we believed we had earned, I realized we didn’t jump that Yaris as often as it seemed. It was only 5 times. In less than an hour.
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