Sparky in Trouble!

Sparky is the name of our car, it’s a 2013 Chevy Spark and I like it quite a bit.  It’s small (just under 12 foot long) so it can fit in basically any parking space.  It seats 3 passengers, so if I do need to drive anyone other than EC Aunt, it can.  It gets fantastic gas mileage (I’ve been averaging over 38 miles per gallon consistently).  It tells me when it needs an oil change, which has been about 3 times per year, and in general it doesn’t require as much maintenance as other cars I’ve owned.  However, recently, I ran into a problem with its battery…

The Spark uses an H6-DLG battery which apparently is pretty rare.  I was having some battery problems (I needed a jump after leaving the lights on for less than 5 minutes), so I knew the battery was bad.  I also needed an oil change so into the shop I went.  Surprisingly, the Firestone (there’s one that I can walk to from my place and I had a $20 off coupon which made it worth it) I took the car to couldn’t source a battery to fit it and they told me the only place I could get one was the dealer!  So, I started to do my own research and while I was able to potentially find a suitable battery.  I did find a potential solution at the Autozone, costing about $160, but unfortunately, Sparky didn’t make it!

I went to garage to set off to buy a new battery, but Sparky wouldn’t start.  Unfortunately, I didn’t notice any neighbors around to give me a jump, and I was worried that even if I did get it started that it would die again once I stopped the car, if they didn’t have a battery that would work for me.  So, I figured I might as well just do what any good mechanical engineer would do and find a suitable replacement regardless of what the official battery was supposed to be.  I mean, a battery is just a battery, there’s nothing that special about the form it comes in.  It just needs to have the right amount of voltage and cranking amperage, right?

I pulled the battery from the Spark, an easy operation, just needing a 10mm wrench, put the old battery into a bag and walked to the light-rail station.  I jumped on the first train and jumped off at the next stop, right next to an O’Reilly Auto Parts store.  I started to look for a battery and asked the extremely helpful cashier if he had anything that fit.  I eventually found a battery that was about the right size, except slightly taller.  I was confident it would fit though since I had already measured the space above the battery, and the polarity was correct, so I traded in my old battery and bought the new one.  The cost was around $130 after tax, not cheap, but not as expensive as the battery I found online that was supposed to replace the one I have.  I jumped back onto the train and made it home with the new battery.

The battery fit pretty well!  The clamp that bolts over-top was specifically designed for the old battery, but I made it work!  That battery’s not going anywhere.  Sparky seems happy about it, so all-in-all, I consider it a victory.  So, next time if I need a battery for the Spark, I think I’ll buy the same one I got, or maybe I’ll just try a different one when the time comes!


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