I’m on my third battery replacement in my 2015 Honda Civic Coupe. If my car sits for two or three days in the driveway during cold weather in winter, the battery drains, and the car won’t start. Honda installed a remote start and dashcam when new. Could all the tech gadgets be draining my battery? My Honda service rep says I need to drive my car every day to keep battery charged, but I am retired and don’t drive every day. Should I sell the car or buy a battery tender and live with that?
Kelly C., Woodbridge Ont.
While both gadgets should use little-to-no battery energy when sitting dormant, it has been my experience that that is not always the case. The easiest way to eliminate them as potential trouble sources is to unplug the dashcam and pull the fuses from the remote starter for a couple of weeks this winter to see if your starting issues disappear. If the problem persists, I think you need to have your dealer dig a bit deeper, as three batteries over approximately four years is highly irregular. Your vehicle’s charging system incorporates an alternator, electric-load detector and battery sensor. All of these items need to be checked thoroughly, given the frequency of battery failure. Additional diagnosis should also include a parasitic draw test, which measures current draw when the vehicle is asleep. Yes, a battery-minder/tender will offer short-term relief, but I usually only encounter them being used for vehicles that sit for weeks at a time.
The other day I had four new tires put on my car, but the low-pressure light came on right after they were installed. I checked the tire pressure, and they are where they are supposed to be. So, is the tire shop responsible for that?
If the shop damaged a tire pressure monitor system sensor (TPMS) during the tire installation process, then I would say, yes, they are responsible. However, you haven’t told me what kind of car you are driving, so I can’t check to see whether your car actually has TPMS sensors. There are two kinds of systems; a direct TPMS system which employs a sensor in each wheel and an indirect system which uses information gathered from the anti-lock brake wheel-speed sensors.
Open your owner’s manual and look up tire pressure in the table of contents. If there is a reset procedure that you can do, then do that first. Generally speaking, a direct TPMS system requires the use of an external electronic tool to calibrate and program the sensors and an indirect system requires the driver to reset the system. You will need to reset an indirect system from time to time, so learning how to do it will save you future headaches. If you can’t find a reset button or procedure, then you likely have the latter system. Chances are a sensor is damaged and you will need to return to your tire vendor for them to check it out.
Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.
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