to the core
Car battery maintenance tips
THEFOLLOWING TIPSapply to allcar batte
r-ies, including maintenance-free batteries.
• Make sure to wear safety glasses when
working near or with car batteries.
• To ensure good connectivity, clean the
terminals periodically with a wire brush. •When removing a connector from a term i-nal, twist it from side to side and pull
gently upward. Refrain from excessive
tugging or prying.
•When reconnecting a connector to a termi -
nal, seat it down firmly on the post. A few
gentle whacks from a rubber mallet will
do it. Don’t overtighten and strip the nut.
• After securing the connector, coat the whole
post with high-temperature grease. This
will reduce corrosion and rust.
• If you keep having electrical problems
(battery dies, car won’t start, power is
intermittent or weak), it’s not necessarily the
battery. It could be in the charging system.
A mechanic can test the system to isolate
M aintenance-free batteries
A maintenance-free battery is really just
a heavier-duty version of a conventional battery. Many of the components have thicker
construction and feature different, more
durable materials. For example, the plate
grids often contain calcium, cadmium or
strontium, to reduce gassing (which causes
water loss) and self-discharge. This design,
called a lead-calcium battery, ensures that
fluid loss is kept to a minimum and that
components have a much longer life. This
eliminates the need to check the battery’s
water level every couple of months. C
AN AUTOMOTIVE battery contains about 21 pounds of lead, 3
pounds of plastic and 1 gallon of
As part of the company’s
ongoing efforts to encourage battery recycling, Costco charges a $9
core charge on the purchase of a
new battery, a charge that is fully
refunded when you bring your
worn battery back.
“The disposal charge is
implemented to encourage our
members to return their old
batteries so they can be recycled
and the batteries do not end up
in the environment,” says Costco
buyer Carmen Westbrook.
When the battery you purchased at Costco needs to be
replaced, simply bring it to
Costco, along with the sales
receipt, for disposal. In return,
Costco will give you a refund for
the $9 core charge and the applicable tax.—T. Foster Jones
Make sure your
RV is road-ready
IT’S SPRINGTIME, and you’re itching to get into
the RV and out on the road. Maybe you’re heading
back north after wintering in warmer climes.
Perhaps you’ve got spring and summer travel plans.
Not so fast. If your RV has been idle or in storage,
say the experts, there are a number of items to check,
potential problems that are easily preventable if
taken care of before you head out.
According to Coach-Net (
a travel assistance service, RV travelers need to
review maintenance procedures, service their RVs
early and check system operation to avoid problems on their next trip. In researching more than
85,000 service calls, Coach-Net found the majority
of operational RV issues are preventable. Here are
the top five.
Engine concerns top the list at 31. 7 percent of
the calls. “Most inoperable engines are not due to
catastrophic engine failure,” says Patrick Cipres, an
RVIA-RVDA (Recreational Vehicle Industry
Association–Recreational Vehicle Dealer Association)
master certified technician. “Minor problems such
as those caused by incompatible coolant, a filter
needing to be changed or improper fuel are the root
of most calls related to the chassis.” If left unattended, minor issues often lead to major ones.
DID YOU KNOW that the
tires use up to 20 percent of
the energy needed to operate your car? This effect is
due to rolling resistance, the
force that must be overcome
to move the tires on a vehicle
forward. The good news:
Tires that offer lower rolling
resistance levels can actually
Michelin offers some of
the most fuel-efficient tires
available. Tires with the
Michelin Green X® label
guarantee a level of energy
efficiency that is among
the highest in the market,
reduced CO emissions and
the legendary Michelin advantages of long wear, safety
and high performance.
To find Michelin tires that
can help you use less fuel and
reduce your impact on the
environment, stop by a Costco
Tire Center or visit www.
Brake and suspension systems
Modern air brake and suspension systems result
in the second most common call for aid. “Many