Our normally reliable car failed to start this morning. We’d already been out in it to do some errands so I was very surprised when we got back in 20 mins later to go out again and it wouldn’t start. Just a few loud clicks when turning the key.

By the time I had opened the bonnet (that’s English for hood by the way) a guy who lives in the neighbourhood and was working at our next door neighbour’s had come over. Francisco had heard our failed attempts to start the car and came to offer assistance. I’m not much of a mechanic, so was grateful for the help. He took a look and decided the battery terminals were dirty and corroded. They didn’t look that bad, but it seemed sensible to rule that our first. Francisco asked if we had any coca cola. We assumed he was thirsty, but no, it turned out it was for cleaning the battery leads. Dunking the ends in a plastic cup of diet coke and wiping them off with some steel wool was all that was needed to have them gleaming. Lo-and-behold when everything was put back together the car started first time! 🙂

We were very glad that Francisco had dropped what he was doing and come over to help, without being asked. We’ve experienced this many times here, like the time a complete stranger stopped as he was driving past our house and helped us unload some heavy furniture from the car. That’s the way it is here, people look out for each other and one of the reasons we love it so much. Muchas gracias Francisco!

Once the car was running we headed down to our mechanic and had him check the alternator, which fortunately was fine. He agreed that Coca Cola is good for cleaning off corrosion, but told us quite seriously that 7-Up is better. It’s more acidic appararently. So every good mechanic should have a can in their toolbox! 🙂