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Make Your Battery Last

Posted June 30, 2010 10:00 AM



Today's report from L and M Motors Inc is on vehicle batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn't. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Anchorage vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

Now that's an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around in AK. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

For more information on your battery, please visit us:
L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994

Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they're hot than when they're cold.

A vehicle battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates — for the lack of a better word — 'die.' Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Anchorage area is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the vehicle. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you're driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity-hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it's no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may have heard these chargers referred to as 'trickle chargers.' They're attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

Now, there's some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you'll have to tend it. Frankly there is a learning curve on how to do it right and it requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it's fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery, something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That'll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc to clean it for you. We can even test your battery and tell you if it's time to replace it.

Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at L and M Motors Inc about appropriate upgrades.

If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



ICE - In Case Of Emergency In Anchorage AK

Posted June 9, 2010 11:00 AM

When accidents occur in Anchorage, AK, the victims' emergency contacts are extremely important. Too often, those involved aren't able to provide rescuers with phone numbers and medical information.

When AK police and rescue workers must sift through pockets, glove compartments, wallets, purses and cell phone directories, they waste precious time.

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, you have people in the Anchorage, AK, area who you'll want to be contacted to arrange help, give consent to treatment and inform Anchorage paramedics of medical conditions, allergies or medications.

A brilliantly simple solution is now spreading through Anchorage and around the globe: ICE. ICE – standing for In Case of Emergency – is a way to identify emergency contacts in your cell phone directory.

Simply put 'ICE' before a contact name in your cell phone, like 'ICE – Dad,' 'ICE – Nancy.' or 'ICE – Doctor Roberts.' Rescuers will be able to quickly identify your emergency contacts, saving valuable time.

Bob Brotchie, a Cambridge, England, paramedic came up with the idea and a promotional campaign in England in 2005. This idea is gaining attention in Anchorage, AK, and in other countries. Anchorage rescue workers all know of how many times they are unable to find a wallet or purse on an accident victim, yet most Anchorage area folks over 14 years of age are seldom without their cell phone.

There are national and worldwide disaster databases, but participation can cost up to $200 a year. 'ICE' is free to the 276 million cell phone users in the U.S.

It is easy for you and your families to designate some ICE contacts in your cell phone. Remember to keep the listings current.

Please join L and M Motors Inc in getting the word out. Help us put Anchorage, AK, on ICE!

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



Are There Blind Spots in Anchorage?

Posted June 8, 2010 12:00 PM

All Anchorage drivers have blind spots – and no, I'm not talking about the fact that you really don't sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can't see when you're driving around Anchorage.

First let's talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others...

To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your vehicle before you start to drive.

First, Anchorage drivers should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their vehicle. Anchorage folks don't need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It's pretty obvious, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver's side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

When Anchorage drivers adjust their mirrors this way, they'll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on AK roads and busy highways. So it's wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another vehicle hasn't moved into an area you couldn't see in your mirrors.

As you drive around the Anchorage area, avoid staying in others' blind spots. You can't count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle on AK roads:

Avoid the blind spots. If you can't see the drivers face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!

Don't follow too close. If you can't see one of the truck's mirrors, you're too close.

Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you're on one of our local two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.

Don't linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can't pass quickly, drop back.

Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks' blind spot is much larger on the right.

The team of automotive professionals at L and M Motors Inc want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

L and M Motors Inc
400 W 53rd Ave
Anchorage, AK 99518
907-563-4994



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