Auto Care Ideas: Battery Extender and Vehicle Identification

Squeeze more life out of an old battery, or secretly mark a vehicle as yours at no cost, with these auto care tips.

| May/June 1983

Even the most ecologically-minded of us often find cars to be a necessary evil. With that comes a whole raft of auto care complications related to keeping them running and keeping them safe. Our readers seem to have a never-ending supply of ideas for that. Here are a couple.

Battery Extender

W.W. Donovan has a way to avoid (temporarily, at least) being inconvenienced by a dead battery cell. Mr. Donovan, a Floridian who resides in Titusville, says the following "fix" works about 90% of the time. Using a hydrometer, he first finds which cell is dead, and adds one teaspoon of Epsom salts to that "empty pocket". Next, W.W. tops off all the cells with water and places the battery on a charger. If no charge can be measured, he adds another teaspoon of Epsom salts. If after three such applications no charge is noticed, the battery falls in the 10% failure category. However, the Sunshine Stater says this cure should carry most batteries through a few more months (perhaps until you can afford to buy a new one).

Improvised Vehicle Identification

A MOTHER EARTH NEWS-reader from Hernando, Florida recommends that automobile owners drop an expired driver's license down inside one of the window wells of their vehicles. According to Thelma Mahoney, this practice could help prove you own the car in the event that it's stolen.

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