Bikes make car thirsty

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

BIKE DRAG

SPEEDO CHECK

BRIGHT SPARK Our 2010 Holden Calais V Se­ries 2 Sportswagon uses about 9.3L/100km on the high­way and 11.0L/100km with bikes on the roof. We do have per­ma­nent roof racks and bike car­ri­ers fit­ted. It’s done 6900km, should I be get­ting bet­ter fuel econ­omy?

Trevor, email

It’s a lit­tle higher than I would ex­pect but roof racks and bikes car­ri­ers would have an ad­verse ef­fect on fuel con­sump­tion, as would car­ry­ing the bikes them­selves. I amafter a com­pany that can test the speed of my Lexus IS250 against what is shown on the speedome­ter. When I am driv­ing along it seems as though cars are go­ing past or are tail­gat­ing me, while ac­cord­ing to what I see in front of me, I am­sit­ting on the speed limit. This gives me the im­pres­sion that some­thing is wrong with the speedome­ter. What would be the likely cost of a test?

Ray­Williams, email

Nor­mally I would ex­pect your speedo to be read­ing 5 per cent higher than the ac­tual speed you’re do­ing. By law, it could be as much as 10 per cent faster, but on av­er­age most cars ap­pear to be closer to 5 per cent. You could have the speedo checked by an in­stru­ment­maker— but I would sug­gest you first check it against an over­head speed in­di­ca­tor on a nearby high­way. While they are not nec­es­sar­ily 100 per cent cor­rect, they are a good guide. You could also check it against a GPS unit, which would give you a good in­di­ca­tion of a prob­lem. How long should a car bat­tery last? The one that came as orig­i­nal equip­ment in my low-kilo­me­tre, short­trip 1999 Jeep Wran­gler Rene­gade has just given up the ghost af­ter 11 years. My hus­band, who is a car nut, showed me how to prise the cell caps off the top of the bat­tery to check the elec­trolyte. Even though it was sup­posed to be main­te­nance-free it still needed top­ping up ev­ery now and then. Also, the car came with an in­su­la­tion blan­ket around the bat­tery; is this to keep it warm, or cool? And would any of this ac­tu­ally ex­tend the life of a bat­tery, or is it just good luck on our part?

My hus­band has now re­placed the bat­tery with a new Optima Spi­ral Cell,

Calais: Car­ry­ing bikes

af­fects fuel use

Hum­mer: No LPG kit avail­able

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