Q: We’ve been trying to impress on our son the importance of being much less sloppy when he’s jumpstarting his friends’ cars. He’s not especially detail oriented, and we’ve told him it’s possible to injure himself or someone else badly if he doesn’t slow down and make sure the jumper cables are connected right. He seems to pooh-pooh that. Are such catastrophes recorded?
A: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated several years ago that batteries that explode due to improper attachments injure more than 700 people a year. As batteries contain acid that can surge up if a spark occurs near the battery and the battery explodes, most of the damage is, therefore, chemical burns, and most of it tends to happen to the eyes. So it’s not a trifling matter, as you point out.
He should never smoke when jumpstarting a friend’s vehicle, he should always wear eye protection and he should triple check the connections each and every time.
Q: Our son drives a flex fuel vehicle and will be visiting us this spring from about 500 miles away. We don’t have a flex fuel car, so how can I figure out where ethanol-fueling sites are located in our city?
A: Fueleconomy.gov is the best, most comprehensive listing. Go to that site, find the “advanced vehicles and fuels” tab, click on flex fuel vehicles and scroll down to “stations that sell E85.” You can enter your zip code and a complete listing of nearby stations will pop up.
The list is regularly updated. The last time I checked there were nearly 13,000 stations listed.
Q: I’m interested in the new Chevrolet Impala. I’m reading good things about it, but this I do not understand: Consumer Reports apparently rated it the top new sedan, with a score of 95. But the Impala does not appear on the magazine’s “recommended” list of cars to buy. I can’t understand the discrepancy.
A: The Impala is completely re-engineered and getting rave notices, as you point out. Because it is so new, Consumer Reports has no owner data upon which to determine a reliability rating. Without that, the car can’t, at this moment, be a “recommended” vehicle.
© CTW Features
What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com.