On a recent visit to France, we unfortunately broke down due to an electrical fault on our Peugeot van. Just by a coincidence another English vehicle in a few car spaces near to us was also broke down, this vehicle was a Citroen C4 Picasso people carrier, and was occupied by a family of six , four children and their parents.
I went over to the guy, who was looking under the bonnet (hood) of his car, and asked him what had gone wrong. He told that the orange alternator light had come on, but he carried on and did not suspect that the light would cause a problem. He went on to tell me that he had suspected that the car may have had a dodgy battery for a few weeks, but he just kept on charging it up because he did not use the people carrier very often, in fact he only used the car for family outings and visits to the sea side.
I told him that I was in the Car battery business and suspected that a Car Battery Check would do the trick I am amazed at the number of drivers that I come across who are hell bent on trying to keep a dead battery alive, by constantly trying to charge up their old, and probably dead battery up, trying to keep the thing alive. Most drivers fail and eventually give up their dead battery and go out to have a professional Car Battery Check before buying buy a new one.
We were both members of the AA, a British breakdown organisation, that covers the whole of Europe, and sure enough a breakdown truck arrived to attend to the guy with the people carrier. The system in France only allows the AA Recovery to attend a breakdown on the road side or hard shoulder of a motorway. Any breakdowns that occur in the services have to be attended by a French garage, who then charges the AA.
This is French law and I think it has something to do with protecting the livelihood of the French garage trade, something that the French are good at, protectionism. The English guy did have a Car Battery Check and needed a new 12 Volt Battery, but by this time his family were all pulling their hair out, they had been sat about for three hours. The battery on the vehicle was a common size, known to us as a 096. These batteries cost about £60 here in the UK, but the driver got a shock when the new battery cost him 140 Euros.
His breakdown cover may not have covered him for what we call renewable s, so the lesson there is do not mess about trying to resurrect your old car battery,
just go and buy a new one. The whole experience of breaking down would have put a lot of pressure on his family, not knowing if they would not reach their holiday destination or not, just for the sake of a Car Battery Check before starting off on a journey.
My wife and I have had eight children together over the past 35 years and have traveled extensively all over Europe. We have broken down a couple of times in our people carriers and so we know about the pressure that breaking down can put on the whole family. It is not worth the hassle and stress, just because you did not prepare your car and had a not knowing if they would not reach their holiday destination or not, just for the sake of a Car Battery Check before starting off on a journey.
About Eric Roberts
Hi I would like to introduce myself. I have worked in the Garage and tyre and Battery business now for 40 years. I worked for a couple of national tyre companies before starting my first business. I now own a company here in the UK called Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre, and I am a keen blogger about anything to do with cars and their related products that will help my business.