Motormouth: So where’s my hybrid battery? |

Q: My wife had a 2010 Prius and we got stuck twice and needed a new starter battery. She now has a 2018 Kia Niro Hybrid and I want to replace the starter battery but cannot get a response from Kia customer service or multiple dealers as to whether the Niro Hybrid even has a starter battery. If it doesn’t, what starts the gasoline engine?

JC, Key Largo, Florida

A: All hybrid vehicles have a 12 volt battery. It not only starts the internal combustion engine but also powers the accessories. From 2017, Kia installed a lithium-ion battery instead of a traditional lead-acid battery under the rear seat.

Q: I recently had the oil in my 2017 Avalon changed. My receipt showed five liters of synthetic oil. The owner’s manual calls for six pints. The dipstick was full, but I added half a liter of oil just to be sure. Can you explain this?

DM, Evanston, Illinois

A: Did they change the filter? The old filter may contain residual oil. Or, maybe, they installed six pints and only charged five. Was it your birthday?

Q: I have a 2020 Mazda CX-9 with a G 2.5 Turbo engine. At 12,000 miles, I swerved with the engine stopped. The dealership performed the warranty repair, which included “Clean EGR and reprogram PCM” (citing my invoice here), and the car has been running well ever since. But the upgrade to 93-octane gas was recommended, a pretty nasty surprise, especially with the gas price rising. I now pay an extra $ 1 a gallon for gasoline.

RP, Clarendon Hills, Illinois

A: We have looked at your car owner’s manual and it says 87 octane gas is the juice to use. Don’t waste your money on high priced gasoline that keeps rising in price. You got the wrong information from whoever suggested using premium gas.

Q: My son is frustrated with the problem he is having with his Honda CRV 2000. It won’t start and when we start it and put it through various mechanics no one seems to be able to fix the problem. We have had the battery replaced and checked several times, to no avail. The Honda dealership we took the car to suggested he get rid of this car and buy a replacement, after charging $ 82 for a so-called scan.

HG, Northfield, Illinois

A: First of all, I suggest you take the car to one of the major auto parts stores where they will do a battery and charging system scan for free. (Yes, they hope you need a battery, but won’t lie to you.) If all goes well, have a professional mechanic look for weak connections, especially a weak battery ground connection. Also check if the battery terminal connections are dirty. Currently, the prices of cars – especially used cars – are out of sight.

Q: I only use premium grade gasoline for my lawn tractor, leaf blower, and two of our cars. I add Sta-Bil to my summer car and lawn tractor; the other gas equipment I run dry. I used about half of the Sta-Bil bottle for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 winterization. Sta-Bil going to deteriorate by fall 2022?

I, Chicago

A: It doesn’t last forever. In fact, there is space on the back label for you to write down the date you opened the bottle. Gold Eagle (the maker of Sta-Bil) states on its website: “An open but tightly sealed bottle of Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer is effective for about two years. “


(Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician in 1976. He maintains that status by seeking certification every five years. Weber’s work appears in trade magazines and other mainstream publications. His writings also appear in auto trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumer Compendium.

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