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Ask AAA: Can Draining My Car’s Battery Effect My Gas Mileage?

Question: I’ve got a newer Toyota minivan and I completely killed the battery a few weeks ago. While I got a new battery, my Sienna has been acting strangely ever since I killed the battery. My fuel mileage is off, and it doesn’t “feel” the same when I drive it. Did I damage my van when I drained the battery?

Answer: Damage? Probably not. But you may have deleted all your Sienna’s engine presets, which can impact both shift patterns and fuel economy. This could make your van feel differently while driving and also reduce fuel economy.

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My Brakes Are Making Noise – What Does It Mean?

Are your brakes squeaking, squealing, or grinding? Don’t let the problem continue! You can often make an educated guess about brake problems with your ears, as different brake problems have different noises. Here’s what you need to know.

Caliper, Pads, and Rotor

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How Automakers Are Using Arbitration Clauses to Sidestep Lemon Laws

Most everyone’s heard of a ‘lemon law’. Designed to protect consumers from defective products, lemon laws often require automakers to buy back a bad vehicle (a lemon). If, for example, a vehicle under warranty has a problem that can’t be repaired after a few attempts (often 3 or 4), and/or spends more than a certain amount of time awaiting repairs (typically 30), it can be designated a lemon. The vehicle manufacturer must then offer to buy back the lemon (you can learn more about how lemon laws work here).

Lemon Car

These lemon laws are on the books in every state in the USA, and they’ve been used by thousands of people to effectively “undue” the purchase of a poorly manufactured vehicle. However, automakers are trying to bypass these lemon laws by piggybacking on to mandatory arbitration clauses hidden in most dealership vehicle purchase agreements. Not only is this practice common (almost all dealers have mandatory arbitration clauses in their contracts), but it’s also being used to limit consumer’s rights to participate in class action lawsuits.

Basically, automakers are offering consumers a false choice: If you want a new car, you have to agree not to sue us. If you don’t want to forgo your legal right to sue, than you can’t buy a new car.

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Pregnant? You’re More Likely to be in a Car Crash

A new Canadian study reveals that a woman is more at risk of being in a serious car accident during her 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Researchers discovered that compared with pre-pregnancy, a woman’s risk of being in a traffic accident in her second trimester of pregnancy jumped 42 percent. During the third trimester, it dropped again, so this is a strange and startling pattern.

Pregnant Women at Higher Risk of Accidents

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Online Auto Publication is Giving You a Shot at Automotive Journalism

Have you always wanted to show off your writing skills and knowledge of your favorite automotive topics? Do you read articles about cars online and think of ways you could improve them?


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