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Battery dead in your classic car? Checklist and resources in Denver!

1956 Cadillac with hood up for generator repair
1956 Cadillac with hood up for generator repair

Cars in general can throw a curve ball at the most inconvienient of times. Case in point, I went out to start the 1956 Cadillac Series 6219 and, you guessed it, it wouldn't start. Power does tend to help when you need to turn over the starter. This wasn't exactly what I had planned, so I hopped in a different car and off I went (note: it can be handy to have a couple spare cars). Later that week, I got out the tools and set to work diagnosing what I believed was a dead battery.

First things first, I decided to jump the car to see if there was something more expensive than a battery looming under the symptoms. A few minutes later the vehicle roared to life, but not for long. I was begining to wonder about the aged generator that had been on the car since we bought it back in 2006. A simple test for this on the older cars is to see if it will run with the battery disconnected. In this case, I took the terminal off the battery and the engine sputtered to a halt (note: if you aren't comfortable with vehicle electrics, we suggest you leave these shade tree mechanic techniques to professionals at a shop).

Well, I had found the "bigger" problem. The next step was to get a professional opinion on the state of the generator. That meant off with the generator and up to a resource that I have come to really like up on north Havana in Aurora. Yes, with the generator off the car I took it up to Havana Auto Electric, specialists in starters, alternator, generators and other auto electric problems. Leaving the generator with them they called an hour later to let me know it was indeed bad. The good news was they could repair or rebuild it. The work was fantastic and they had it done within a couple hours the same day! For just a touch over $100 I was headed back to put the generator on the Cadillac.

By the end of the evening, the generator was on the car and the '56 Cadillac was ready to rumble. Did I mention the since I had the generator rebuilt it now has a year warranty? The fun doesn't stop there though...we still needed to make sure the battery was ok. This is where your friendly auto parts store comes in. Most will test batteries for free and recharge them within an hour or two. This is worth the time as it can keep you from burning out your new generator and save you being stranded.

Until next time happy motoring!


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