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We were having a rather good time today, driving around Queens. All our plans were shot, but we did other stuff instead since we were already out.

Last little trip of the day, I'm driving on a road that is one lane and suddenly becomes two, with just an intersection to separate the two. Just as I'm entering the left lane on the other side of the intersection, staying within the lines, a kid had decided to pass me by driving over the crisscrossing paint that indicates 'don't drive here' and he takes out my side mirror.

This is, amazingly, my first ever traffic accident. Even though I live and drive in Queens, somehow I've managed to never even have a shopping cart hit my car. I'm an avid cyclist, so maybe the fact that I'm used to riding on the road with no more protection than a lycra outfit and a bicycle helmet has made me rather skillful at avoiding all potential hits from other road users.

Anyway, we manage to only have our mirrors hit, and moreover only my mirror was really damaged.

The police came and told me not to file a report or even a claim, saying it would only raise my insurance premiums. Still, the idea that I would have to pay at least a few hundred dollars to get my mirror replaced wasn't making me happy.

So later I looked up what it would cost to have Honda replace it versus a body shop and came up with a third option from seeing someone's 'how to' page. It looked so easy I figured I could at least try removing the mirror myself, and in fact it was. Anyone could do it with a socket wrench or driver. It's that easy. I went back inside and ordered an aftermarket OE replacement mirror--for less than $40 plus overnight shipping, so less than $60 altogether.

Well, I did this in the dark and used the interior light to see by, then forgot to turn it off when I was done removing the mirror. A couple of hours later I went back out there and realized the light was on, but figured it wouldn't be a problem since the battery is only a year and a half old. But I couldn't get the car started.

It had some power, but not enough to start the engine, and it just got worse with each attempt. So tomorrow, in addition to replacing the mirror myself, I'm going to have my first try at charging my battery, using a Celestron Power Tank--which I have to power my telescope, but which can also charge a car battery in about 20 minutes.

Should my battery have gone dead enough to not start the car in just a couple of hours with the overhead light on? I would think you could leave that light on all night and it wouldn't drain the battery to that point.
 

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2007 Element EX TRP
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2,527 Posts
There are more than a couple threads about our weak OEM battery. Your situation is not unusual, but not necessarily devastating. I had a similar situation (minus the mirror) when I was working on my E, in a garage, with only the radio (and maybe an interior light periodically) on. It did not take very long to drain the battery enough to prevent starting. And she was less than three years old at the time. :shock: :-(
A change to LED interior lights might lessen the drain, but, keep in mind it's not a very strong battery to begin with. I keep jumper cables in mine AT ALL TIMES (more for others, but......) :roll: :razz:

Glad you found a mirror at a good price and were able to change it out yourself. Always makes one feel good at a job well done (and cheaply). :shock: :)
 

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As far as charging your battery, if you're just looking to charge it enough to get the car started and then plan to drive enough that your alternator will do the rest then you should either just jump the car with some jumper cables and another car, or you can use your quick-charge charger to charge it enough to get it running again...but then make sure you drive it enough that the alternator can give it a thorough charge. Stop and go/city type driving will just leave you dead again in some parking lot. Otherwise, the best bet is to charge it with a charger that has a slow-charge mode, as this is what's best for your battery.

As for the mirror, did this kid who hit you not stop or not have insurance himself?
 
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