MakeShift Challenge: Dead Car Battery: “Most Plausible” Winning Entry

MakeShift 01: Joe O’Brien’s “Most Plausible” Winning Entry
May 13, 2005

No doubt the simplest and most plausible solution is using the aspirin to stimulate the electrolyte for most situations. If it doesn’t work, you have the time to move on to more creative approaches. And Joe O’Brien took the other necessary measures to maximize his chances for success. Congratulations Joe!

Here’s Joe’s winning entry in the Makeshift Master – Plausible category:

After turning off the lights and all accessories in the car, disconnect the battery. Pour the cola on the battery terminals and connectors and wipe any corrosion off using bandages from the first aid kit. Cola is good at removing corrosion and cleaning the contacts and will help get more current out of the battery. Reconnect the battery.

Next, crush several aspirin from the first aid kit, put the powder in the battery, and add bottled water to the battery to fill it to the proper level. The acetylsalicylic acid from the aspirin will combine with the battery acid and increase the charge in the battery, and the water will help restore the electrolyte in the battery.

Since it’s cold out, the last thing we want to do is get the battery and engine warm (and certainly not let it get any cooler). Using the sterno stove, heat water in the empty cola cans and pour warmed water over the battery and engine.

It’s time to crank the engine. The battery should be up to enough power to get the car started. If it doesn’t start, we’ll set up camp, chow down on chips, apples, banana, and limes with remaining cola and water to wash it down. The sleeping bags and tent will keep us warm over night and we can build a fire that may be seen. Road flares will be a good signal device if we get the chance to flag down help. We can then start working on using the jumper cables to wire the cell phone to the car battery–the battery should still have enough juice to power up the phone to call for help

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