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By Jordan W. Charness


We all know that feeling. You go outside to start your car just like you’ve done a thousand times before, and the darned battery has gone dead. Just yesterday it was working fine and today it won’t even turn over. There’s not much difference between yesterday and today, except, of course, that today it is about 15 degrees cooler.

That’s when your car decides to tell you that you need a new battery for the winter. You really have no time for this, since you have to get to work. You are faced with spending the money to jump into a cab or calling in late and declaring an emergency. Either way it will cost you time and money that you can ill afford.

You decide to take a cab and deal with it when you get home. By the time you get home it’s already pretty dark because the days are getting shorter and you still have to deal with your dead battery. You manage to scrounge up a lift to take you to the local car parts store because you know how to change a battery yourself and can save a few bucks on a tow and a mechanic. You are lucky and they do have your battery in stock, fully charged and ready to go.

You take it home and change it in the dark with the help of a friend, a flashlight and a little bit of frostbite. You are feeling pretty proud of yourself since you solved the problem but now have created a new one. What are you going to do with the old battery?

It’s against the law to toss it in your trash bin and hope that it gets taken away by the city. It’s dangerous to leave it lying around since it’s filled with acid and could easily get knocked over and spill its poisonous, dangerous contents all over the place. Now you must make another trip to the store and turn in the dead battery. Most garages and service stations will also take a dead battery off your hands or else you can call the city and ask when they will have a hazardous-waste day, or if they have a hazardous waste depot.

Do-it-yourselfers should also know that it is totally illegal, dangerous, and stupid to pour used motor oil into the sewers as it will contaminate just about everything it touches. Used motor oil must also be turned in to a garage or a hazardous-waste depot.

Now that you finally know where everything is going to go, you feel that your car is pulling to the left. You get out and take a look and find out your front left tire is virtually flat and that the rest of them don’t look too good, either. Once again you been struck by that nasty cold weather, which will knock a few pounds of pressure out of your tires even if there is no leak.

If your tires have a slow leak around the rim, cold weather will cause the metal to contract, exacerbating the problem and giving you that, “Great, now I’ve got a flat!” feeling. You roll into a gas station and find out that pumping air now cost 50 cents to fill approximately one half a tire and of course you need exact change in quarters.

While you’re busy pumping your tires full you remember that you’ll have to change to your winter tires if you are in one of those provinces that requires it. You further note that at least two of your tires are pretty well bald and will not be serviceable for next year.

Once again, it’s against the law to just dump your tires any old place; used tires must also be turned into to a hazardous-waste depot or to a garage that will accept them.

Isn’t cold weather fun? I just can’t wait for winter!

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