Capri Battery Service

Do you remember when you last had your Capri battery serviced or tested? If it's been a while, now is the time to either test it yourself or bring your Capri to a qualified auto technician for a battery load test. Please know you can not load test a partially discharged or depleted battery, it must be fully charged to conduct a load test. You will need a load test/charging meter, available from a auto parts center or a tool mobile sales truck.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, remember to always wear rubber gloves and eye protection whenever you service your battery. This will protect you from battery acid splash.

Remove the negative (-) terminal first. This disconnects the battery from the system altogether and reduces the chance of sparks or direct shorts. If the battery terminals do not come off easily, use a battery puller tool to take them off. Do not use a hand tools like screwdrivers or pliers to pry the terminals off, because it can break the internal electrical connections to the battery post!

Use a battery terminal cleaning tool, which should have different extensions for different sized terminals and use it to clean off the terminals and battery posts. Also use a quality battery case cleaning solution, which is available at your local auto parts center.

If you suspect that you have a problem with your Capri battery or electrical system, you will need to take it to an automotive technician for a complete Battery Starting (load test) and Charging System (voltage output) Service,  If you need a new battery, the correct Ford Motorcraft battery is,  BXT-35 series battery. It will properly fit into the tray & comply with the OEM specified cold cranking requirements of your Capri.

If you store your Capri for the winter, be sure to remove the battery from your car & bring it inside & store in a cool (room temperature) place. Prior to reinstalling the battery put it on a slow trickle charge (1-5 amps) for at least 12 hours.

 The Difference Between Conventional And Synthetic Motor Oils

Engine oil contained in the crankcase, sump, & oil pan of Capri 1.6 liter internal combustion engines serves many purposes. Its primary function is to lubricate and protect all major engine parts, but it also is designed to keep your engine cool, running clean, (free of rust, sludge, carbon deposits), and seal the rings and valves against combustion gases leakage.

Additives (chemical improvements) in the oil greatly enhance its ability to prevent excessive wear and deposit buildup, and they increase its resistance to oxidation (a chemical reaction which a substance loses electrons) and deterioration at high temperatures. Additive content in a single-viscosity-grade oil is typically around 10 percent, and in a multi-grade oil, 15-20 percent.

SAE engine oil viscosity classification system was developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to classify engine oils by viscosity grades. Oils are classified based on their measured viscosity (a fluid’s resistance to flow) at high temperature only for single-grade oil, and at low and high temperatures for multi-grade oils.

Multi-grade oils have two viscosity grade numbers indicating their lowest and highest classification, e.g., SAE 10W-40. The lower grade number indicates the relative fluidity of the oil in cold weather for easy starting and immediate oil flow. The higher grade number indicates the relative viscosity of the oil at high operating temperatures for adequate wear protection. The "W" means "winter" grade. Multi-grade oils generally contain viscosity improvers that reduce the tendency of an oil to lose viscosity, or thin out, at higher temperatures.

Under ideal driving conditions (consistent speed-highway driving), conventional motor oils recommended by the vehicle manufacturer work just fine. But for many people, ideal driving conditions are not common. In cases of stop and go traffic, short trips, frigid temperatures, extreme temperatures (caused by weather, grid lock & XR2 turbo engines) or towing and hauling, drivers can benefit from the extra protection of synthetically produced oils.

Conventional motor oils are made from crude oil or Petroleum that is drilled & extracted from the ground (over 60% from the middle East) and processed in a refinery into motor oil. Synthetic motor oils are created from special "synthesized" materials in laboratories & chemical plants, and deliver greater performance benefits, such as:

  • Superior protection from internal engine wear
  • Lower volatility for decreased oil consumption ("volatility" is the tendency of an oil to break down at extreme temperatures)
  • Better MPGs (miles per gallon of gas)
  • Easier start-ups at very cold temperatures (because oil flows easier)
  • Greater viscosity (the "thickness" of an oil) at very high temperatures
  • Reduced engine deposits, "by-products" of combustion within the engine

Many car owners think that synthetic motor oils are designed for extending the time between oil changes. This is not the case. While synthetics offer extra protection for the added cost, taking proper care of your Capri engine still requires oil & filter changes at intervals recommended by Ford, the Capri Owner's manual states as follows:

Non Turbo every 6 months or 7,500 miles whichever comes first

Capacity 3.5 quarts with oil filter

Turbo every 6 months or 5,000 miles whichever comes first

Capacity 3.7 quarts with oil filter

SAE 5W-30 is the Ford recommended oil for all Capri engines in all climate conditions.

However, if circumstances cause you to extend your oil drain interval, synthetics give you the peace of mind that you're using a superior level of protection for your Capri engine.

Don't Take Your Wheel Alignment For Granted

Every driver expects their Capri to have a straight steering wheel, and travel in a straight line, without deviation, unless they're turning. In a turn, the vehicle should travel only where it's steered and return to center when you complete the turn. This seems to be such a simple idea that we often take wheel and suspension alignment for granted. Because of this, many drivers neglect or forget about their wheel alignment until there is a problem.

Here are some definitions for common alignment terms:

Wheel Alignment 

The proper adjustment of the car's front and rear suspension for camber angle , toe in , caster angle and ride height.

Camber Angle

The inward or outward angle which a front-wheel spindle makes with a vertical line, as viewed by either the front or the rear of the vehicle. Positive camber results when the top of the tire tilts out further than its bottom. The adjustment of this setting affects both tire wear and vehicle handling.
      Toe In
The amount by which the front of a front wheel points inward or outward. A slight amount of toe in is usually specified to keep the front wheels running parallel on the road by offsetting other forces that tend to spread the wheels apart
      Caster Angle
The forward or backward tilt of the steering axis as viewed from the side. If the point of load is ahead of the point of contact, the caster angle is positive. The caster angle tends to keep wheels in a straight line. Proper caster adjustment improves both tire wear and fuel economy


If you experience any of the symptoms below, your Capri may require an alignment.

  • Your steering wheel is not straight when driving on a level road
  • You hear unusual noises in your suspension system
  • The vehicle wanders from one side of a lane to the other
  • Your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side when traveling in a straight line or when braking
  • You feel vibration in the steering wheel or through your vehicle's seat
  • The vehicle's steering feels loose
  • You haven't had a wheel alignment in a long period of time
  • Your tires are wearing unevenly
  • Tires are squealing on turns
  • The steering wheel does not return to center easily after a turn.

Correct alignment is critical to safely controlling your Capri, braking stability, extending tire life, and ensuring a comfortable ride. The complexity of modern suspension systems requires careful measurements at all four wheels and precise adjustments.

Many vehicle service centers will only suggest or offer front wheel alignment. It is recommend all four wheels receive a computerized analysis to ensure maximum alignment accuracy of your vehicle's complete suspension. It is extremely important that your vehicle's front wheels are aligned to the rear wheels. Only aligning the front will not take the rear wheel into consideration, causing crooked steering and an ill-handling vehicle.

Be Prepared For Roadside Emergencies

Whether you're planning a long trip to visit friends or family, driving home from school or work, or just heading out to the mall, make sure you're always prepared for roadside emergencies. They do happen & can be real inconvenient if you are not ready & haven't planned ahead.

Check your emergency item inventory now! There are some essential items that every driver should keep in their Capri at all times.

One of the most common roadside emergencies is a flat tire. Fix-A-Flat can provide a great temporary solution so that you can drive your car to a safe place where you can wait for help or change your tire. If you have an inflated spare and don't mind replacing the tire yourself, have the proper working scissors jack (check jack operation, they can & do seize up over time from non-use) and the proper lug wrench in your car. If you don't have a full size spare, consider buying one & replacing the temporary "donut" that came with the Capri. A full size spare will fit in the tire well & provides a much safer fifth wheel in an emergency.

But remember, any time you have to pull over, find the safest place away from the road as you can. Often the shoulder doesn't offer enough stability or protection from speeding traffic. So play it safe when stopping to repair or attend to your Capri at the side of a road.

If you do end up stranded, you need to always make yourself visible to oncoming traffic. In many cases, your car's hazard lights don't offer you enough visibility. Road flares, &/or reflective triangles are essential to any emergency kit.

Also, a cellular phone can be extremely helpful when you need to call for help on a busy highway or in a remote area. It's always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher, flashlight, battery jumper cables, blanket, & gloves. And, finally, a small shovel can come in handy if you wind up stuck in a snow drift.

The best rule of thumb for Roadside Emergencies is "ALWAYS BE PREPARED"

All these items and more, are available at your local auto parts center.

Coolant Flush & Fill

A coolant flush and refill is basic maintenance for your Capri's cooling system, and will help ensure maximum performance from your Capri's HVAC (heating, ventilating & air conditioning) systems all year round.

Also, since the heating system works off of the same coolant that circulates throughout your engine, performing a coolant flush and refill will also prevent overheating -- the most common cause of breakdowns and internal engine damage.

Your Capri owner's manual recommends checking the coolant level once a month. This can be done by looking at the coolant recovery tank in the engine compartment.

If the engine is HOT, the reservoir should be filled with coolant to the FULL mark. If the engine is COLD, the reservoir should be filled with coolant to just below the FULL mark.

The Ford recommended interval for changing the antifreeze and flushing your coolant system is every 36 months or every 30,000 miles whichever comes first. New antifreeze will help your Capri's engine run cooler, and flushing it will remove any internal dirt, rust or sediment which may damage the water pump and clog the engine water jacket and radiator passage ways. The recommended coolant system fluid for your Capri engine is Ford part #E2FZ-18549-AA & carries a protection rating of -20 F (-29C).

Capri Cooling system capacity:

Non Turbo................................5.3 quarts

Turbo.......................................6.3 quarts 

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, be sure to always follow the instructions for maintenance listed in your owner's manual & be sure to use a 50/50 antifreeze to water mix. Make sure to dispose of used antifreeze according to your local laws and regulations. Use a closed container to store it, and never let used antifreeze drain onto the ground or into floor or storm drains. Remember, antifreeze is toxic. Keep it away from children and animals!

It is highly recommended that a radiator/engine flush solution be utilized, which can remove much more sediment and rust than just normal water alone.

Finally, if you are unable to work on your Capri, or you simply don't have time to do it yourself, bring it to a reliable auto shop. This coolant flush procedure is not expensive to have done, & can add many years of additional life to your Capri's engine, radiator & HVAC system.

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Your Capri!"