automotive business

Motormouth: How long can fob batteries last?

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Q: I have a 2014 Honda and I am curious as to the key fob. The batteries must be at least 10 years old, and it doesn’t look like they can be replaced. I’m curious as to how long the batteries are gonna last. I hope it does not die sometime when I’m out somewhere else and trying to get started.

D.B., Cheshire, Connecticut

A: There is always a way to replace the battery, but it’s often not obvious. In your case, simply remove the emergency key by pressing the button on the bottom. Next, insert something between the top half of the fob and the metal part of the emergency key storage. Most fobs require a CR2032 button battery, but before popping the old one out, note the polarity. Replace the battery before you need it.

Q: The owner’s manual of my 2018 Subaru Legacy says not to use fuel that is more than 10% ethanol. Since E10 fuel is not available at nearby stations, can I mix half a tank of E15, which is readily available, with half a tank of pure gasoline to get, essentially, fuel that is 7.5% ethanol and therefore usable in my car?

E.H., Minnetonka, Minnesota

A: That’s not a bad idea. Yet, E15 shouldn’t be a problem for cars built after the 2001 model year.

Q: I recently purchased a preowned 2019 Lexus RC 350 RWD Coupe with 23,000 miles. All four tires are new, front 235/40 R19 and rear 265/35 R19. I had the front aligned and tires balanced when I purchased it at a dealer, not Lexus. Just recently, I took it to the Lexus dealer to have the oil changed at 25,000 miles and a general checkup. The dealer wanted to balance and rotate tires and do a four-wheel alignment, which I declined since I just had most of it already done. My real question is about alignments and balancing, four wheel or just front, and tire rotations and frequency of each. My owner’s manual states that vehicles with front and rear tires of different sizes cannot be rotated.

J.M., Virginia Beach, Virginia

A: Different sized tires on the front and rear axles should not be rotated. This is especially true for unidirectional tires, which have arrows on the sidewall. The industry standard is four-wheel alignments. The car is aligned to its thrust angle—the direction it points going down the road. Due to vehicle damage or wear, the thrust angle may differ from the straight-down-center of the car. In severe cases, you may spot a car that is dog-tracking — the rear end is not directly behind the front end. Unless set to the thrust line, premature tire wear is certain.

Q: I would say that the driving habits that D.D. commented on (where some drivers start slowing down for a red light hundreds of feet before an intersection) were the normal habits of a stick-shift driver back in the 1970s, except for the brake lights coming on. But today if you drive an EV or hybrid, most of them engage the brake lights when regenerative braking kicks in. No mechanical braking is involved at all as I slow my Tesla down from highway speeds to a full stop. Energy isn’t created or destroyed, but instead of throwing it away, we put it back into our battery so we can extend the range of the car. Our old Prius got to 95,000 before needing brake work, and our Tesla is expected to get 200,000-250,000 miles out of its brakes.

B.K., Dundee, Illinois

A: Thanks for breaking it down for your fellow readers.

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Bob Weber , 2024-05-22 01:37:16

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