Get more out of your car bat­tery

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

Q: Our 2010 Holden Calais V Se­ries 2 Sportswagon uses around 9.3 litres/100km on the high­way, and around 11 litres/ 100km with bikes on the roof.

We do have per­ma­nent roof racks and bike car­ri­ers fit­ted.

It has done 6900km. Should I be get­ting bet­ter fuel econ­omy or is the mo­tor still stiff and run­ning in?

Trevor, email.

A: It’s a lit­tle higher than I would ex­pect, but roof racks and bikes car­ri­ers would have an ad­verse ef­fect on the fuel con­sump­tion, and it would be even more af­fected by car­ry­ing bikes.

Q: I amafter a com­pany that can test the speed of my Lexus 250 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 am sitting on the speed limit.

This gives me the im­pres­sion that some­thing is wrong with the speedome­ter.

What could I ex­pect the cost of such a test to be?

Ray Wil­liams, email.

A: Nor­mally I would ex­pect your speedo to be around 5 per cent fast – in other words, it’s read­ing 5 per cent higher than the ac­tual speed you’re do­ing.

Un­der the law, it could be as much as 10 per cent fast, but on av­er­age most cars ap­pear to be closer to 5 per cent.

You could have the speedo checked by an in­stru­ment maker, 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.

Q: How long should a car bat­tery last? The one that came as orig­i­nal equip­ment in my low-kilo­me­tre, short-trip 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?

Would any of this ex­tend the life of a bat­tery, or is it just good luck?

My hus­band re­placed the bat­tery with a new Optima Spi­ral Cell, which he said will most prob­a­bly out­last the car.

Carol McKen­zie, email.

A: You’ve done well in get­ting 11 years from a bat­tery. They of­ten give up much ear­lier than that.

No doubt check­ing the elec­trolyte and keep­ing it topped up would have helped to keep the bat­tery go­ing for longer.

The in­su­la­tion blan­ket would also help to keep it at a more con­sis­tent tem­per­a­ture and make it more ef­fec­tive, par­tic­u­larly at low tem­per­a­tures. It’s also im­por­tant to un­der­stand when re­plac­ing a bat­tery that you buy one that has the power your car needs.

Sim­ply buy­ing a cheap bat­tery might mean an­other visit to the bat­tery store in quick or­der when it proves un­suit­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.