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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Automatic Transmission Out of Park

 Shift interlock feature, which requires you to step on the brake pedal to prevent unintentionally shifting out of Park, could be malfunctioning. Alternatively, the shift cable or linkage connected to the shift lever could be gummed up with grease or corroded so that it can’t operate freely.

If the interlock switch is worn and not fully releasing, or the brake lights don’t receive a signal from the brake light switch to illuminate, you won’t be able to shift out of Park.

Grease, dirt and moisture can collect in or on the interlock and brake light switches, and on the shift cable and related parts, hampering their operation. When that happens, you’re most likely to have problems shifting out of Park when the engine and transmission are cold, such as after the car has sat for hours. After the engine gets warm — and other parts get warmer, as well — the goo might become softer and make it easier to shift out of Park.

Most cars have a means of overriding the shift lock so you can drive the car to a mechanic rather than have it towed: A small door the size of a fingernail is often found on the console next to or close to the shifter itself. After prying this cover off, one can insert a screwdriver or key and press down to release the lock. Vehicles with column shifters may hide the release on top of the steering column or on the bottom. Your owner’s manual will help you identify the location on your car.

A transmission that’s low on fluid also can be hard to shift out of Park, though that also would likely cause a noticeable degradation in the transmission’s overall performance, such as sluggish or harsh shifts.

Another possible cause is that when a car is on even a slight incline, it will put more load on the transmission parking pawl (a bar that engages teeth in a transmission gear to prevent the vehicle from rolling). This is more likely to happen if you didn’t engage the parking brake before releasing the brake pedal. The weight of the vehicle rolling onto the parking pawl makes it harder to shift out of Park. To avoid this, engage the parking brake when on an incline before shifting into Park or releasing the brake pedal. That way the parking brake, not the transmission pawl, bears the load.

How to keep it safe when selling a car

When it comes time to sell a car, most owners are preoccupied with getting the most money possible. You’ve invested a great deal in your car, and it’s understandable that you want to get the money you deserve. Unfortunately, cost isn’t the only concern you should have when selling your car. As scammers become more advanced, it’s easy to find yourself in a scary situation if you’re not careful. Keeping yourself safe when selling your car is simple with these essential tips, so do your due diligence and sell your car to the right buyer for the right price.

Don’t Accept Checks
Car scammers often hand over a bad check to gain a free car. Tell buyers that you’ll accept cash only. If that limits your pool of buyers, there are a few ways to ensure you get what you’re owed. Call a trusted bank to verify the funds before handing over the keys or telling a buyer that you’ll deposit the check and then give them the keys when the funds have cleared.  A common sign of a fraudulent check? Offering to pay more than you’re asking for the car. If you have to ask yourself : “Who would buy my car for more than its true value?” chances are they’re attempting to rip you off.

Be Wary About Test Drives
It’s understandable and expected that a potential buyer will ask for a test drive before purchasing your vehicle. However, this gives the nefarious scammer the perfect opportunity to steal your car. Always have a friend with you, and be sure to go along for the test drive. Also be sure to request their driver’s license and have a scanned copy on hand. With their license you can scan their public record for a criminal history check, which will tell you whether or not a test drive is a good idea.

Know Your Car’s Worth
Private buyers will often attempt to haggle with you about the price of your vehicle, telling boldfaced lies that your car’s book value is much lower than you think it is. They may bring a mechanic with them to check out the car; this mechanic may then turn around and tell you the car has numerous issues and isn’t worth as much as you expected. Avoid this by using a car valuator tool like Kelley Blue Book and have it checked out by your own trusted mechanic. Walk into the negotiation knowing the worth of what you’re offering and don’t buckle against their claims to the contrary.

Use a Car Buying Service
Reading this and thinking to yourself “How do I find someone to buy my car without putting myself in danger?” You may decide to avoid the middleman and simply sell your car to a certified online buyer. Online agencies will give you an instant quote and come to pick up your car when you’ve accepted. While you likely won’t get as much money as you would through a private sale, you’ll save yourself the headache and vulnerability that doing it on your own can mean. Plus, you can sell it within a day, while private sales could see you spending months screening potential buyers that don’t follow through.

Get the most out of selling your car without putting yourself in danger. Keep these tips in mind and keep yourself safe to make the most out of the experience.

Electric car

The electric car subsidy fund this year is already depleted. Anyone who buys a qualifying car after June 30 will in effect receive an IOU from the state for credits of up to $5,000 to be paid when the fund is replenished.

Unsure whether incentives will be available, auto dealers don’t advertise rebate savings on low- and zero-emission cars, lest they be accused of bait-and-switch tactics.

The main purpose of the rebate programs is to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging sales of electric vehicles. Brown wants 1.5 million zero emission cars sold in the state by 2025.

Few customers have been persuaded. Although sales of electric vehicles are growing in California, they account for less than 3% of the total market for light vehicles in the state and 1% across the U.S.

Still, Californians are ahead of the game when it comes to electric car purchases. About 250,000 cars have been sold — which represents about 50% of sales across the U.S.

Ting’s bill would make the subsidy stream far more dependable, if more costly. It would require that $500 million be continuously appropriated to pay for rebates each year. The money would come from “existing funds,” including cap-and-trade revenue.

tate Sen. Steve Bradford with Gov. Jerry Brown.

State Sen. Steve Bradford with Gov. Jerry Brown. (Christian K. Lee / Los Angeles Times)

State Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) wonders, “What existing funding sources are available to hit that $3 billion?”

All he can imagine, he said, is that funds will be shifted from other environmental programs.

At a recent news conference in San Francisco, Ting said a “very significant subsidy program” is needed to jump-start electric car sales.

The new rebate program would benefit all electric car makers, but Tesla most of all. In part that’s because the Palo Alto company will probably hit production numbers next year that trigger a phase-out of a separate $7,500 federal government subsidy program after Tesla credits max out. No other car company is close to its federal subsidy limits, so, for example, buyers of a Chevy Bolt would benefit from a California tax credit on top of the federal incentive.

“There’s a federal tax credit, but this bill is anticipating that potentially falling out,” state Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) said. “The mandates we set out for ourselves often lack the carrots to make the sticks work.”

The Trump administration has remained silent on the matter.

For Tesla, the bill would have the state pick up where the federal government leaves off.

It would set rebates at a level that would help reduce the consumer cost of an electric vehicle to “the cost of the most frequently sold compact car in the state.” The bill doesn’t specify a dollar amount. Today, the state rebates, when available, range from $1,500 to $5,000.

The compact car standard “is incomprehensible,” said Gene Erbin, who represents the Auto Alliance, the nation’s biggest lobby group for major automobile manufacturers. “I have no idea what that language means,” Erbin told senators at a hearing on the bill.

The Honda Civic is now the most frequently sold compact car in California, with a base price of $18,740. The new Tesla Model 3 base price is expected at about $35,000. That implies a state-subsidized rebate of $9,760 per Model 3 if the federal subsidy is included, or $17,260 if the federal subsidy is not available.

Tesla had no comment on the bill, but the company has been lobbying hard in Sacramento. “They’re always in the building,” Bradford said in a phone call from the Capitol.

The Ting bill has already faced a twisted path. When introduced this year, it put the state’s electric utilities in charge of the rebate program, to be funded by utility ratepayer money and supervised by the state Public Utilities Commission. That provoked an outcry from consumer advocates, and the bill was rewritten, putting the California Air Resources Board in charge, as it is today, but “in coordination” with the PUC.

Legislative analysts have questioned other elements of the bill that have yet to be dealt with.

In a critique for the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, analyst David Ernest Garcia wrote that “it is unclear how increased demand will lower prices” in the long run as the bill claims.

Increasing the budget of the existing program “would be a simpler and more cost-effective” solution. But the $3-billion price tag is “problematic,” he said.

Major automakers, who rarely say no to subsidies, have also slammed the bill because it excludes fuel cell vehicles and favors pure-electric subsidies over plug-in hybrids.

“It’s picking winners and losers,” state Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) said.

The bill goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. An amendment to bar utility ratepayer funds will be considered as will committee member Hill’s proposal to strip references to funding because revenue sources are not clearly identified.