This is a bad time of year for dead car batteries.
So, what if we told you there was a product that promises to help you get your car started without having to call a mechanic or digging out those bulky jumper cables?
It is called the Charge and Start.
Here is how it is supposed to work.
You plug one end into your cigarette lighter and the other end into the cigarette lighter of a car with a good battery.
Assisting us in our test are the good folks at Rick's Auten Road 66 in Clay Township.
So this is the worst case scenario here.
The engine will not turn over at all, not even a clicking sound.
The headlamps do not work.
So, the Charge and Start is supposed to be plugged in 20 to 25 minutes.
We plug one end into the car whose battery is dead, and we run the fresh end or the charging end to our news vehicle.
Ok, we got it plugged in and turn on the engine.
And we are supposed to let this go for about 20 to 25 minutes.
NewsCenter 16’s Terry McFadden asks, “Have you known anybody who has ever used one of these before?”
“I've shown up with my service vehicles before at homes where people have had them plugged in,” says Rick Ferrara of Rick’s Auten Road 66, “and I've actually yet to see one work.”
So we are going to unplug the unit here in this car with the dead battery and now we're going to see if it will start.
“Your thoughts on it?” Terry asks.
“I'm a little skeptical on how a little device with such small wiring, going through a 15 amp, a 20 amp fuse and a cigarette lighter would put enough current back into a battery to make a starter that generally takes about 200 amps of current, start,” Rick says. “How would the charge and start work, say, with a car that's got a battery that's not completely dead where you turn the key and it's clicking? Here you only have to charge it ten minutes.”
“Would you recommend jumper cables as opposed to the charge and start?” Terry wants to know.
“Oh, absolutely,” Rick responds. “Jumper cable or a portable battery box that's sold by many automotive retailers today.”
We unplug it from the vehicle after it has been charging for ten minutes to see what happens.
Still, just clicking noises.
So, we tried it in a completely dead battery and charged it for 25 minutes and no luck.
We tried it in a vehicle with a battery that was clicking, so it was not completely dead.
There was absolutely no change in either battery, so the charge and start is going to be getting the thumbs down.
The Charge and Start costs about $30, or about half the price of a decent set of jumper cables.
“So jumper cables would be a better option?” asks NewsCenter 16’s Maureen McFadden.
“Yes,” Terry answers. “The last car we tested fired right up when we hooked-up the jumper cables.”
“Also, I understand some of our viewers took issue with one of your tests,” Maureen says.
“Yes, about a dozen of you contacted me about the One Touch Can opener,” Terry replies. “I gave it the thumbs down because the lids kept getting stuck. They claim they never have trouble and I must have done something wrong. So, to be fair, I decided to retest it, and we will have the results Friday night at 11.