Other than a broken trans mount, covered under warranty, my trusty Mazda has been absolutely bulletproof in the 52,000 miles I’ve driven. Tonight I thought things might have changed for the worse. Driving along in stop-and-go traffic I could see the headlights blanking out for a split second, a relay clicking under the dash, and the radio restarting. As I approached my destination it got worse, with ABS, traction control and steering warning lights coming on and the loss of power assist (this car has a cool but complex steering system - hydraulic, but powered by a separate electric motor - and it feels quite nice). The lights were flickering and I was expecting a shower of sparks or some other nightmare, kind of like I used to experience regularly with my old GTI.
I took a look at the battery terminals and there was a tad bit of corrosion and they were a little loose. I wiggled them around to get a better connection and tightened everything up. I guess it was just a bad ground because the entire trip home was completely uneventful - whew. New battery should be arriving either this week or next, and I’ll be sure to apply some anti-corrosion spray on the terminals as I’ve done on just about every car I’ve owned in the past. In this one the battery is covered, and I rarely have to spend any time under the hood, so I guess I just forgot that it needed to be done.