We finally hit the road! Does That Mean Major Truck Repairs or Just a New Battery?

Those of you who’ve followed our Instagram might’ve seen that we’ve officially left Arizona (for now) and are on the road. We have a schedule to keep to get to our Florida destination on time (more about that in a future post!), but not such a tight schedule that we can’t stay 2-3 nights in each spot, and we’ve limited our travel to 200 miles per day. So here is what happened when we landed in El Paso:

A pickup truck with its hood open

The truck wouldn’t start!

At least it waited until we were settled into an RV park, rather than the middle of nowhere. And in Texas, there’s a LOT of “nowhere.”

We bought our 2016 Ram 2500 a year ago and it’s in great shape. It even came with brand new tires, but we suspected the battery was original from the factory. Anyone who has spent any time in the Arizona heat knows that batteries do not last long. We could have swapped this one out before we headed out, but the car was still turning over without any hesitation, so we didn’t make it a high priority.

When the truck failed to turn over the other day, there was a moment of panic that something major was wrong and we were going to be stuck waiting for big repair bills.

What do we do now?

Thankfully, we were prepared. If the battery was the source of the problem, we should be able to jump it and go straight to a store to replace it. We have a couple different options for getting the truck started on our own:

    1. First and less ideally, we have the RV itself. Our RV house batteries are deep cell 12 volt units. We could attach jumper cables to a house battery to start the truck. Deep cell house batteries are not designed to supply the large current dump needed to start a vehicle but they will work in a pinch.
    2. Second and luckily, we also have a Winplus 12-volt car jump starter portable power pack, which was our best choice.

We hooked up the portable power pack to the truck battery and it cranked right up. Once we removed the power pack the truck continued to run so we both let out a sigh of relief, the problem was more than likely the battery not holding a charge. We drove straight to the nearest Autozone and picked up this Duralast Platinum H7-AGM battery. They were nice enough to install the new battery right in the parking lot, even though it was 100 degrees outside and peak sun. We drove around awhile to give the new battery time to fully charge, which was a nice excuse to see the sights.

Fun fact: It turned out that manufacture date on the old battery was 2013! We have no idea how it lasted 6 years in the Arizona heat, but it sure did.

We always have a plan B.

If we had been unable to get the truck started, we have two different road side assistance plans: Escapees RV Club roadside assistance and our insurance company.

Of course, we could’ve always asked a neighbor for a jump, but our park was pretty quiet with very little activity until later in the evenings, when people returned to their rigs from whatever they were doing during the day.

Whew!

Luckily our first breakdown was super easy and quick to fix. And now we’re on the road again.

Published on August 7, 2019.

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