This summer travelers will be hitting the road with some of the top new gadgets available for cars making that drive to your favorite vacation spot more enjoyable and efficient. Human navigators sharing the front seat with giant paper maps, short tempers and reams of mapquest directions are being supplemented with gadgets. Car bingo and the license plate spotting game are being replaced with a plastic container filled with DVD movies. Thanks to new technology like navigation systems and DVD players, you can keep the kids entertained while an animated computer voice gives you step by step hassle free directions. “Bing! Take exit 223C in 1.4 miles,” says the GPS voice.
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But could these new conveniences be costing you more than you realize? Does it seem like your car battery is dying sooner than it used to? You’re probably right!
According to AAA, the sale of replacement batteries has grown 100 times, up from 4,000 a year to a soaring 400,000 in 2007. Most of this is credited for an increase in the amount of power required by the average “modern” car and driver.
Since the 1960’s the world has relied on the 12-volt battery in their cars and sadly not much has been updated or changed since. The car battery that used to last three to five years now has a life span of barely two years and much of that is due to the new gadgets you just can’t live without.
It’s not just what you have on in the car while you’re in it. Items such as security systems and engine management tools draw from your car battery even while it’s parked in your driveway.
When choosing a new car battery, Consumer Reports has several recommendations. First, “fresh is best.” Make sure you that you choose the battery with the shortest shelf life. Next, know your battery size, batteries come in all kinds of sizes so make sure that the ones your looking at best fits your car. Remember to consider your climate and driving, warmer climates tend to be very tough on batteries. Lastly, dispose of your old battery safely.
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Battery Recycling Tips
WARNING: 97 PERCENT OF LEAD CAN BE RECYCLED FROM LEAD ACID BATTERIES, SO MAKE SURE YOU PROPERLY DISPOSE OF THEM.
- Wear protective gloves and glasses. Your battery contains sulfuric acid. Wash your hands with soap and warm water, even if you wore gloves to handle your battery.
- Do not smoke near a battery or expose it to an open flame.
- If you are transporting your old battery, place it in a plastic container or a sturdy box. Your local auto supply or building supply store is likely to stock the plastic box.
Consumer Reports Battery
According to Consumer Reports, the top three choices for the group 65 batteries are NAPA Performance Select 8465, AutoCraf Titanium 65-2 and the Duralast 65-DL. For group 34/78 and 78 the winners are DieHard SUV, Turck and Van 39990 (South), NAPA Select 8434/78, AutoCraft Titanium 34/78-4.
Before heading out to the beach or to see relatives, check that the tires have enough air and your battery has enough power to get you there and back. Drive safely.