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Batteries quicker to discharge now in 2000 Insight

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This past year we've noticed a marked decrease in time that the batteries discharge. The result has been a lowering of MPG. Over the course of 2003, our milage has lowered approximately 10 MPG (from 60's to 50's MPG).

Is this what happens when the storage batteries begin to fail. We have 88K miles on the car. Are there other 2000 owners with similar mileage having this problem? Are there other explanations for this problem?

I appreciate any insight to this problem (sorry about the pun).

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There are so many variables to gas milage. My one caution is in making an assumption about any single source.

It could be your driving habits. You may think you are driving just like you always drove before, but people's habits change over time. The biggest single factor in gas mileage is your own right foot, coupled with the routes you choose and the traffic you encounter.

It could be the battery. Meanwhile, the more conservative your driving, the less of a factor the battery becomes, since you don't need the boost or the charge much if you drive softly.

It could be the lean-burn catalytic converter or the O2 sensor. If they discourage the electronic controls from shifting into lean burn, your gas mileage suffers.

It could be the air pressure in your tires. Most people don't think about that very often. I got "bad" gas mileage for a while (still better than any "normal" car) until I realized that I had let the tires run low.

It could be that your mechanic doesn't use the right low-friction oil.

Maybe you now carry a heavy tool kit in the back that you didn't carry last year. Maybe you've changed tires?

Note that low tire pressure or increased vehicle weight or more agressive accelleration or higher top speed or less efficient tires would all affect how long your battery charge lasts without the batteries being any worse off than they were. I'm not suggesting that the batteries may not be secumbing to chemical change over time. I'd fully expect batteries to do that. I'm just suggesting that it is hard to tell, since there are so many different variables that can affect the charge on the batteries.

Meanwhile, your current bad gas mileage is still better than you'd get in any other car on the road.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Battery/gas mileage

Thanks for the info Will. Actually, I had already checked and ruled out some of the variables you mentioned such as tires, air pressure, oil type, extra weight issues, and driving patterns. Of course I'm no mechanic, but ruling out the variables mentioned above and having reached the mileage at which the manufacturer expected battery problems, it seems reasonable the battery pack or charging components could be approaching failure.

Has anyone out there had experience with failure/replacement of battery cells in 2000 Insight? What signs did you have of impending problems?
What kind of cost can I expect?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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420 Posts
Batteries quicker to discharge in 2000 Insight

As Will M has stated many things effect battery performance,I have a 2000 model but with lower miles on it and a recent quick early morning trip to the airport to collect my daughter saw the mileage average drop to 66.5mpg.The reason was different environment (hills)and windy conditions and to some extent speed.My normal consumption figure is in the high seventies or low eighties and the driving environment is flat at at lower speed in mixed traffic with very little contribution from the assist or auto stop which proves the worth of the lean-burn technology.If anyone has ever done a repetitive max acceleration test on a new car to deplete the pack there should be a standard to judge your car by.I suppose this would take the form of how many times it would take to accelerate in say fifth from a certain speed to another set speed on a level surface to deplete the pack to a set point on the graph.We could all check our cars against this.
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