Q. I have a plug-in hybrid Volvo that will be in storage for a few months is there anything special I need to do?
A. I would treat your PHEV Volvo just like any other car. I would have the oil changed and fluids checked if it is due for routine maintenance. I would also inflate the tires, slightly higher than the normal recommendation (never exceed the maximum air pressure. Nearly every hybrid, PHEV and even pure electric cars use a 12-volt battery. I would also consider using a battery maintainer to keep the 12-volt battery fully charged.
Q. I am the original owner of a 04 Volvo XC90, it has 257,000 miles on it. The transmission failed and I’m wondering if it makes sense to do this type of repair on an 18-year old car? I was quoted $3000 for a rebuilt transmission, what do you think? The engine runs good and only uses a quart of oil every 1500 miles. The body is pretty good with only dents and scratches. The car is really used as a way to bring my boating stuff to my sailboat in the nice weather.
A. At this point your Volvo is not worth much more than the scrap metal value. If the car has been maintained and is structurally sound, it can make sense to fix it. Once repaired according to online price guides the car isn’t worth much more than the cost of the transmission. On the other hand, if the car fits your needs and since you know the car’s condition to me that adds value.
Q. I am contemplating purchasing an electric car that is manufactured in China. There are more than a dozen brands of Chinese electric cars that I would consider. I believe that I can purchase and pay for the car online and have it shipped to the USA. Currently, there are no Chinese cars being sold in the USA. I do not know the reason why. My question is, if I am able accomplish the logistics of purchasing and having the car delivered to me in the USA, can this vehicle comply with the Department of Transportation regulations?
A. It is possible to buy a car directly from China or even from Alibaba, but importation is from what I know is nearly impossible. The successful people have imported them for “educational” purposes. They also can’t be registered. They vehicles currently don’t meet DOT standards. Also due to franchise laws buying directly is an issue. Several Chinese companies have tried to set up dealer networks but so far have been unsuccessful. Geely, BYD and Nio have all been working on bringing US compliant cars to the US but not yet. I have seen some ChangLi Mini-EVs when I was in Florida, but they are imported as golf carts and then registered as low speed electric or neighborhood electric vehicles. The dealer where I saw them told me he needed to buy six at a time. Also, some words of caution, I have seen some YouTube videos of people who thought they were buying certain EVs from China and didn’t get what they ordered. We will continue to see more and more EVs coming to and being built in the US buy non-traditional car companies. Lucid has some amazing vehicles and Fisker will be building EVs in Ohio. In addition, VInfast a Vietnamese company has started to import cars.
Q. I have a 2008 Toyota Tundra. For some reason, the shifter gets stuck in park, and I have a difficult time getting it out of park. Once I get things moving It’s fine for a while but is very difficult to move the shift out of park when it does happen. What could it be?
A. It could be one of a couple of issues. Try using the parking brake before you put the shifter into park. Then when driving shift into gear and then release the parking brake. If this remedies the problem, it could be worn, sticky shifter linkage (try lots of WD-40) or a worn parking pawl inside the transmission. If that is the case with the parking pawl it may be easier and cheaper to live with the problem than repair, it. The other possibility is the shifter interlock. Next time if gets stuck, take the access cover off the release button which is located in front of the shifter and push down with a key or small screwdriver. If the shifter comes out of park the issue is with the shift interlock assembly. Possible issues could be the brake light switch, solenoid or module.
Q. My question is the sunroof will not close completely when two pieces broke towards the front of the sunroof. Where can I go to have it closed?
A. A good body shop or the dealer should be able to close the roof. Depending on the vehicle the headliner may need to be removed to get at the mechanism to close the roof. At this point you can decide if you want the roof permanently repaired and made operational or just close it and forget it.
Q. I realize Chevrolet had plenty of problem with the BOLT EV which now seems to be sorted out. What do you think of the Bolt and how well will it take the place of my everyday car?
A. I recently spent a week in the all-electric Chevy Bolt and found it did everything I needed it to. Although it’s a small car it fits four adults in reasonable comfort. The ride and performance were better than any compact car I have driven recently. The range was between 250-280 miles depending how it was driven and if the climate control was on. I only can charge with Level 1 (110-volt) charging and found depending how I drove plugging it in every night kept the battery fully charged. Ideally having Level 2 charging at home would make charging quicker and more economical.
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