So this morning, the girlfriend and I were leaving for work when her car wouldn't start. The battery was around 4 years old, so we had been planning on a new battery before winter really hit given the sluggish starts lately, but this expedited the process. Took the battery out and drove her to work with me (we work at the same place actually, so worked out OK!). We drive separate because of slightly different hours, otherwise we would just carpool...
Anyway... Was able to get a 30% coupon code for advanced auto parts and picked up the Autocraft Gold for something like $102 after core credit, out the door. Seemed like a decent deal.
Got home, installed the battery and... Nothing. Well, it tried. It sounded so close to starting, but it just wouldn't turn over. Decided to jumper to my car, seeing if perhaps the battery wasn't full charged or something, but that didn't do anything. Given it sounded so close, I didn't think it was the starter... And the smell of fuel afterward led me to believe it wasn't a fuel pump or anything.
By the way, this is a 2010 Mazda 3 with 74,000 miles on it.
Decided to take the battery back to the store to get it checked and they confirmed it got the rated CCA and it was just fine (just trying to troubleshoot here! Couldn't find my multi-meter...). So it wasn't the battery, as expected.
Talking with the two kind ladies behind the counter, we discussed the issue back and forth on what it may be. Very knowledgeable and friendly! While I am good with mechanical stuff, electrical stuff and me don't get along... So they had even called another store to dig further for me... At one point, one of the ladies had mentioned "given what you told me, perhaps it's flooded?..." - And said it's worth pulling the plugs and checking... Hmmm, it sounds plausible... But honestly I wouldn't think a modern car would/could flood itself in fuel...
Got home, pulled the plugs and low and behold, clearly fuel where it shouldn't be... Used compressed air to vent the fuel and dry out the spark plug ports, lot-o-fumes! Cleaned the plugs, ensured they were dried and put everything back where it should be. Turned right over without a problem. Took it on a nice highway drive to get everything cleared out, a job well done.
On Friday (the last time the car was started) we had cleaned out the garage... Just had the car on long enough to back it out of the garage into the driveway and back. Well, given a look-see on google I found a few people confirm the engine flooded on their Mazda's, too... Weird! I know that is not a good thing to do in general, but never thought it could actually flood the engine! Probably a mix of a weak battery, which was confirmed when we did exchange it, and the poor technique of not letting the car run a bit longer when we moved it.
I'm just glad it turned out to be a relatively easy fix and I didn't have to get the car towed and repaired somewhere... It's been a fun Monday!