Could a "battery buddy" protect my battery from my absent-mindedness?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a bad habit of parking the car with the lights on once or twice a year, and draining the battery. Our Toyota Corolla does not have a system for turning off the lights in cases like that. Recently, I saw an ad for a device called the Battery Buddy that claims to rescue people like me from their absent-mindedness. The device measures the output of the battery, and if the voltage drops below a certain number of volts, it automatically switches off all battery discharge to save the remaining power to start the car. When you get back to the car, you have to open the hood and press the reset button, but at least you'll be able to start the car. What do you think of this thing?

RAY: We've never tried one, but doesn't sound like a bad idea, Roger. If you know you're a bonehead--like my brother --then it makes perfect sense to take steps to protect yourself.

TOM: Don't be ashamed, Roger. Some people, like you and me, just have more important things to think about than turning off our lights. We're busy solving the world's problems, trying to make peace between the Serbs and Croats, trying to invent clean burning, pollution-free fuel cells, trying to predict tonight's winning lottery number.

RAY: Most people don't leave their lights on often enough to justify a $50 expenditure on a box like this. But if it's worth it to you, then go for it. And let us know how well it works. Just make sure you know how to disconnect it. If it were ever to malfunction or fail to reset, the device itself could keep you from starting the car.

TOM: And in that case, you'll want to be able to remove it promptly....and stomp on it until it breaks into little tiny pieces.

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