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The Yankee Express


John Paul

Road Test The Technology As Much As The Car

Q. You answered a question about my new 2022 Corolla LE over a year ago, and now I have another question about the car.  The MPG rating for this car is 32 city and 41 highway.  Under good highway conditions, I usually beat the number, getting 45 MPG or more.  City driving, on the other hand, is a different story.  Compared to what I see on the road, I drive better than a lot of people, meaning I drive around the speed limit, and I do smooth braking and accelerating.  Yet, I consistently get around 20 mpg in city driving, and maybe around 25 mpg under very good conditions (not many red lights or stop signs).Do you know what could be going on here?  

A. The EPA rates the urban/city cycle test using a dynamometer (treadmill for a car) and test for about 24 minutes of stop and go style driving. The average speeds are about 25-30 miles per hour with several stops and well as a slight burst to higher speeds.  Since your highway driving meets or exceeds the EPA highway number this verifies the car is okay. It could just be that your style of city driving is not similar to the EPA loop. Also, if you average your very good highway MPG with your car’s lower city 20 MPG the average is still about 32 MPG on average, close to the 35 MPG EPA average.  EPA uses a 55/45 city highway split to determine the average miles per gallon. Based on this I would say your car and your driving habits and car are fine. Still, I would check the tire pressure each month with a gauge and continue your habits of easy on the gas and brake.
Q. I am buying what likely could be my last car and I’m not sure what I want or for that matter need. Also, over the years physically I have changed and I want a car that is easy to get in and out of. With so many makes and models as well as the technology, I feel somewhat overwhelmed. Any suggestions?  

A. If you have a large used car lot, Carmax, Carvana or something similar that sells just about every make and model, although you may not be looking at used cars it is a good way to find a good fit without going to multiple dealerships. Spend some time getting in and out of the vehicles, look for blind spots and easy of using the controls. As a friend of mine says, it is as important to road test the technology as much as the car. And you never know, in the process you may find a slightly used car that fits your needs and budget. 

Q. When we pull face first into the driveway the next day the battery is dead, when we back up into the driveway the battery is fine the next day. Could there be something outside and draining the battery when the hood is facing in the driveway?

A. There wouldn’t be any electronics outside that can drain the car’s battery. Now some things such as LED light bulbs can interfere with radio signals but won’t drain the battery. One possibility is if your car uses a proximity key-fob, and driving into your driveway puts the antenna closer to where you store your fob, might keep the car’s electronics from fully shutting down. 

Q. I am leaving a 2018 Maserati in my garage for two months, should I have the car started during my absence?

A. Ideally it would be best to have the battery on a maintainer, such as a Battery Tender or CTEK Smart Charger. These charger/maintainers will keep the battery fully charged, without overcharging.  The other option is to have someone drive the car every few weeks to keep the battery charged. Just starting the car and letting it idle just contaminates the oil and may actually take more electricity out of the battery than you are putting back in. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over forty years’ experience and is an ASE-certified master technician. He will answer readers’ questions each week. Email your questions to [email protected]. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook at mrjohnfpaul.