The Alternator Solution

May 30, 2015

RAY: This was sent to us by Judy Belland, who writes: "My sister's wedding had been the day before in Hagerstown, Maryland. I was getting a ride back to my home in Michigan with two of my sister's friends, Robin and John.

"We were only about an hour into the drive when John's alternator light came on. After a few more hours of driving, his car began having trouble. It was bogging down and some of the electrical stuff wasn't working.

"We got off the highway and found a mechanic’s that was open. We charged the battery, which took about an hour and a half.

"Things looked grim. It was normally a 12-hour trip. But if we stopped for an hour and a half every two hours—assuming we were lucky enough to find a battery charger every time we needed it—it was going to take us something like 15 days to get home.

"Well, within seconds of merging back onto the highway, who went whizzing by us but my aunt and uncle. They too were heading back to Michigan from the wedding. We pulled up alongside, rolled down the window, and said, 'We're having trouble! Pull over!'

We found a place to stop, and John explained the situation to my uncle. My uncle, sounding regretful, said, 'I could help, but I don't have any tools.'

"John said, 'I have some tools. I have a pair of pliers, an adjustable wrench, and a vise grip.'

"The uncle said, 'We don't even have a new alternator to put in! How could I possibly help?'

"But they were able to devise a plan! And, we made it back to Michigan with no difficulty-- and virtually no delay."

How did they do it?

RAY: What they did was simply keep swapping batteries. So, when John's battery would run low because of his bad alternator, and was in danger of conking out and not being able to run the car, he'd take it out and put it in Uncle's car.
Uncle's good alternator would charge up the battery, and John would use the other battery.

They kept doing this, and they made it all the way back.

So who's our winner?

TOM: The winner is David Crump from Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. Congratulations!

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