I had to replace my car battery last week. Like many people, I have been staying home for long stretches and I don’t go out as often. I don’t tend to drive that much in non-pandemic situations, so you can imagine how little I drive in these times.

About two weeks ago, I actually did need to go somewhere with my car and when I went to go start it, my car did not respond. I immediately knew it was my battery. I’ve been having trouble with it before in the last few months and I only had me to blame for this. I used a multimeter to measure the voltage of my car battery and it barely registered above half a volt.

I could have tried to get a jump but I knew the better solution was to get a new battery. Normally, this would have been just a minor inconvenience. There would have been numerous ways to get a new battery home: get a friend to drive me to the store, Uber/Lyft, or even public transit. We are, however, in the midst of a global pandemic so my options were limited somewhat.

I settled on patronizing one of my coworker’s husband’s auto repair service. It was cheaper than any of the other battery replacement services that I found online. I was charged the cost of the battery and it was just another $40 for him to come directly to my apartment and into my parkade to replace my battery and take the old one away.

My car now starts but this whole lesson taught me a valuable lesson. In an emergency situation or during a pandemic, you need a reliable vehicle. In my case, I was lucky I didn’t need my car for a critical reason. If, however, if an alien invasion was occurring or if zombies were overrunning the city and I needed to get myself or my parents out of town, I would have been screwed. That day that I went to start my car, if I had really needed it to go somewhere, that would have been the end of the movie for me.

Now, for better or worse, it seems like I wasn’t alone in neglecting my vehicle. BCAA reported this week that calls for roadside assistance specifically for car batteries were up 50% this month. Many others had cars that were not exactly in tip top battery shape and the pandemic exposed our lack of preparation.

I’ll know better for the next pandemic.

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