Detonation: Dead Battery Woes
I’m sure most of you have experienced that moment when you turn the ignition key of your truck to start the engine and absolutely nothing happens. There is a nearly infinite number of reasons why it is not working, especially on newer vehicles that are heavily equipped with electronic accessories, but there is also a good likelihood that a low or dead battery could be the culprit.
There are a multitude of things that can cause a battery’s voltage to diminish. Some of the more common reasons are related to driver error, like leaving the lights on or listening to the stereo for too long with the engine off. Even if batteries are well taken care of (never drained completely or overheated), they do eventually go bad. While they typically last years without even a hiccup, a new cell can go bad in a matter of weeks for no particular reason.
A battery always seems to die at the most inopportune time, like when you are rushing to pick up the kids from school or running late for work. If your luck is like mine, then it happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help with a jump start. Dead batteries never happen on a lazy Saturday when you’re just going to the store and there is nothing really going on.
When you do get your vehicle started (probably with a jump start from another vehicle), there is always a fear that maybe the battery won’t take a charge and if the engine shuts off for any reason, “I could get stuck with not a soul around to help.”
You can take precautions to make sure an engine starts, but there are no guarantees it will fire every time. When the automotive gremlins catch up with you, your battery will not have any juice. So, the best thing you can do is be prepared to deal with the worst-case scenario.
The best way to prepare for a dead battery (unless you like to carry a spare battery and tools) is to have a set of jumper cables or a jump starter. Jumper cables have been the go-to standby since the dawn of the automotive battery. They are a common sight in the bed of a truck or stuffed behind a seat. A good heavy-duty set of cables works great for a seriously dead battery (from leaving the lights on overnight) and diesel-powered trucks (especially those with multiple batteries). But the drawback to using jumpers is they require another power source (typically from a second vehicle) for them to work.
That’s where a jump starter comes in. A jump starter is a compact battery pack that uses alligator-style clamps that attach to a battery just like regular jumper cables but don’t require the secondary power source. They just need to be fully charged.
I got the chance to try out the Weego Jump Starter 66 when the battery in my commuter car decided to go south. It was dead to the point that there wasn’t even a buzz or a ding in the cabin when the key was turned. So I grabbed the unit out of the trunk, removed it from the storage container, plugged in the cables, and hooked up the clamps to the battery (the Smarty Clamps made sure I had it right). It had enough juice to get the V-6 spinning again right away.
The boosting device is small and compact, but it packs a lot of power. It has 2,500 peak amps and 600 true cranking amps at your disposal. That is enough juice to kick over a 10.0L gas and—more importantly—a 5.0L diesel engine. Hooking the clamps onto the terminals is a no-brainer with the Smarty Clamps. They feature built-in automatic protection that uses lights and sounds to prevent you from hooking up incorrectly.
The 66 is also really handy to have around for power needs other than jump starting. It has USB, 12-volt, and 19-volt charge ports, along with a 600-lumen tactical flashlight for those excursions after dark. The jumper is ready for Mother Nature’s wrath with an IP65 certification for water, dust, and dirt resistance.
The convenience and compact size of the Weego is great, making it a perfect addition to anyone’s stash of tools in their truck. It includes everything needed to protect it (water-resistant carry case) and ensure it is properly charged (wall and car plugs).
Although the Weego Jump Starter 66 can be used in place of jumper cables, I believe it is always good to have a set of cables on hand as a backup. Pack your gear wisely.