Pbur's Adventures

The life and times of Patrick Burleson

Reason #41235 the American car industry is dying

Posted on by Patrick

Craptactular (that’s a technical term) internal design! Case in point: Replacing the car battery on our 2006 Saturn VUE.

The battery in our VUE has recently been put under some stress ( think 2 year old and leaving headlights on ). It finally gave up yesterday, so I went to Sears and bought the replacement. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Just trying to give the VUE a jump is an exercise requiring tools other than a set of jumper cables. That’s right, you need a phillips screwdriver. Why you ask? To remove the battery cover that’s held down by 3 screws. Even after you remove the screws it’s a pain to remove the thing because you have to angle it out from underneath the radiator cover. Grrrrr.

With the battery cover off, I went to work on removing the cables from the battery. Instead of using a battery with terminals on the top, the VUE uses a battery with terminals that screw into the battery on the side. Here I could have used a ratchet, which I expected, but my ratchet setup was too long, so I went with a wrench. With the terminals being on the side of the battery, if one’s hand were to slip and drop the wrench it was holding, it falls deep into the recesses of the engine compartment ( or so I’ve heard ).

Once I got the terminals off, I grabbed the battery to remove it. It wouldn’t budge. I grabbed again, and still the battery would not come. I looked down behind the battery and I’m pretty sure I cursed out loud. The battery is held in by a clip at the bottom of the battery. And instead of a phillips head screw, it’s held there by a bolt, which of course is a different size than the ones of the battery terminals. Not having a 6 in ratchet extension handy, I had to improvise with a crescent wrench and some reaching.

To recap, to replace a battery in the VUE you need the following tools:

  1. Philips Screw Driver
  2. 2 different socket sizes
  3. At least a 6 in socket extension ( and ratchet )

I generally carry a screw driver and a crescent wrench in the car. Needing a fairly decent ratchet set in the car just to replace the battery is ridiculous. It’s as if they designed the thing to make it where you must take it to a mechanic to get anything done to the engine compartment.

Contrast to our 2006 Honda Accord ( which has been providing the jumps ):

  1. Battery terminals are on top and the only cover is a flip cap on the positive terminal.
  2. After terminal removal: battery lifts out.

Tools needed:

  1. Crescent wrench

Final note: It’s impossible to change the oil filter in a VUE without getting oil on the engine block. I haven’t done this, but watching the guys at the oil change place, I saw that the filter sits above the engine and screws on there. When they take it off, oil spills out. What an amazing design.

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