Author Archives: Alibhai

Shifting season rings in most dangerous time of the year for driving

08 Nov 17
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The “most wonderful time of the year” could be close according to the Christmas carols floating about shopping malls, but we are already into the most dangerous time of the year on our streets.

The end of Daylight Saving Time — in the majority of the nation — and the coming of authentic fall weather have created a perfect storm that will almost surely increase the amount of car-on-car and car-on-pedestrian events on Canada’s roads.

Let’s count the ways:

  • You will find the reduced hours of daylight, meaning there are fewer hours when motorists and pedestrians can easily find each other.
  • There is the time shift, which not just tends to upset people’s circadian rhythms and make them less mentally sharp, but also signifies that the always-fraught-with-peril evening rush hour is largely in darkness.
  • Falling leaves added to those other decreasing things — snow, rain, sleet — that make the streets slicker.
  • Those glowing summer wardrobes are replaced with dark clothes. Not only does this make them harder to see, but matters like hoods and toques added to earbuds and cellphones unite to detach pedestrians even farther from their surroundings.

“November … has traditionally been the month when pedestrians are involved in the most crashes,” Toronto Police traffic services constable Clinton Stibbe states.

Although studies have produced varying results on the time change’s role in road safety, there certainly seems to be a link.

A 2007 American study revealed that people walking during rush hour following the return to standard time were greater than twice as likely to be killed by a car than before the shift. The most dangerous time of the day was after 6 p.m., it revealed.

But most of us can not avoid driving, walking or biking at the moment, so motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will need to be extra cautious.

It might sound somewhat Elmer the Safety Elephantish, but it is largely a matter of slowing down and taking more care.

“There’s been plenty of focus on which pedestrians do wrong,” says Teresa Di Felice, Director of Government and Community Relations for the CAA, pointing to a recent proposal to create distracted walking prohibited in Toronto. “But the simple fact is that most these collisions aren’t the pedestrians’ faul”

A recent report revealed that in Toronto, 41 percent of pedestrian-vehicle collisions occurred at intersections — most frequently when the pedestrian had the right away. Furthermore, 46 percent of those 28 pedestrian fatalities in Toronto this season involved seniors.

“The ultimate responsibility falls on the driver to be aware and assess their environment,” Di Felice says.

She offers several tips on how to protect yourself and others:

  • Wear lighter clothes or put in a few reflective strips to your backpack or briefcase to improve visibility when walking. Cyclists need as many reflective strips and lighting as you can.
  • Take additional care when driving, slowing when coming high-traffic locations and double-checking prior to turning.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers when crossing an intersection.
  • Pay attention to automobile maintenance, especially brakes and tires. Check your tire pressure regularly, ensure that your windshield washer fluid is topped up and your wipers are in fact wiping.
  • Take additional care when nearing home. “People become more complacent when they are in familiar territory, whether they are walking or driving,” she says. “We know the area and let down our guard a little. That complacency can make an incident.”

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I have got two Volkswagen diesels. Will the emissions fix hurt performance and fuel economy?

30 Oct 17
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We’ve got two Golf TDI wagons, a 2013 and a 2011. Both were influenced by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, and when I elect to have the “installed and the end result isn’t up to my expectations (poor gas mileage(slow performance), what recourse do I have? If I forgo the fix and continue to push it as it is, am I responsible for passing emission tests? And did we get as good a deal as the Americans? I can’t imagine what might be unique to the combustion chambers of VW TDI to create hydrogen oxide — which, supposedly, doesn’t happen in the rest of the diesel engines in the world. — Gordon, Claremont, Ont.

If you receive the emissions fix for your Golf TDIs, they will pollute less — but your fuel economy will get worse. That is partly why Volkswagen The emissions controls in the first location.

“They’re emitting a Lot of NOx [nitrogen oxide] since VW shut off the emission controls in the real world — it is quite blatant,” said John German, senior fellow with the (ICCT), who found the cheat in tests in 2013 and 2014. “We are not talking minor — these men are emitting 2.5 times greater than a Mack truck{}”

Knowing the problem they are trying to fix might help you decide whether you need it. Along with other Like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides are produced when your engine burns gasoline, diesel and even . They are bad, mainly because they contribute to smog and acid rain.

“There are a few direct health effects from NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and that is primarily a closeness thing — if you are bicycling in a bicycle lane and you are 3 feet from a VW diesel, you are inhaling it,” German said. “However, NOx and NO2 contribute to the creation of ozone, and ozone is one of the larger air health issues in the U.S.”

Simply exhausting

Any car with a tailpipe has emission controls. For diesel engines, there are — the lean NOx trap (LNT) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) — to restrict the amount of nitrogen oxides from the exhaust by turning them in to other gases.

The majority of the over 11 million influenced Volkswagen diesels had LNT, which stores NOx at a catalyst in a trap at the exhaust.

“You do not have a lot of storage,” German said. “About once a minute, you need to remove that saved NOx and decrease it.”

The LNT system does this by injecting additional fuel to the exhaust, where it reacts with the oxygen from the NOx and converts it to nitrogen, German said.

“So that the punishment is additional fuel consumption, and it does not function and the SCR systems and it deteriorates faster,” German said. “So they closed it off{}”

SCR uses ammonia in urea — — as a catalyst to convert the NOx into nitrogen, water and traces of carbon dioxide.

“This is the AdBlue additive which you find a lot in heavy duty trucks,” German said. “Its drawback is that the customer must refuel the urea tank and that is a hassle. Therefore, if you shut it off, the consumer does not need to refill the urea tank as frequently”

Cheaters never win?

VW used the defeat device for the two systems in Volkswagens, Porsches and Audis. Additionally, it used cheaper, less durable parts in the emissions-control systems since it knew they’d be off the majority of the time, German said.

With the cheat software, automobiles with both systems On a dynamometer or treadmill which didn’t quantify pollution in real-world problems.

It was only discovered when German’s team hooked up detectors to actual vehicles and discovered emissions were up to 35 times the legal limit.

Other companies, including And Mercedes-Benz, have faced charges of using defeat devices to tamper with their emissions controls in certain real-world scenarios, German said.

“However, Volkswagen did two things nobody else has ever done,” German said. “They closed the emissions controls off all of the time and they lied to the bureaus for 18 months{}”

United States got better bargain?

In April, Quebec and Ontario courts declared a $2.1-billion For approximately 105,000 cars with 2.0-litre TDI motors following a class-action lawsuit.

Each owner obtained a payment between $5,100 and $8,000. Many had the option to sell their car back to Volkswagen or find an emissions modification approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Automobile Protection Association (APA) said Canadians fared better than Europeans on the deal, but American clients got 10 to 20 percent more than Canadian client when VW purchased cars back, even with no difference in the exchange rate. That is because the Canadian bargain based the resale value on the medium-low assortment of the book value.

The governments of Canada and Ontario have been “mostly passive,” said APA president George Iny. “It is the law firms acting for the course and VW probably working tirelessly that arrived at an arrangement that’s a rather close replica of the U.S. deal.”

Independent from the settlement and a $15-million Under the Competition Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has been for 2 decades but has yet to put charges.

Beyond this, there are still class proceedings under way for 20,000 3.0-litre V-6 TDIs in Canada.

The fix is in?

Both the federal and Ontario environment ministries urge the emissions fix if you are keeping your cars. The states regulate which vehicles remain on the street, and for now, the repair — that contains a software upgrade and installation of more durable emissions elements — is not required.

If you choose to get it, then there should not be a noticeable shift to functionality so long as it is calibrated correctly, German said. When it is not, the engine could “hesitate,” he said.

“But fuel economy will take a 5 to 10 percent hit the [LNT] and 2 to 5 percent hit the [SCR],” he said.

We requested Volkswagen Canada if there was refuge if you’re not pleased with the fix, and it pointed us which explains the fix, potential performance problems and the warranty extension covering emissions-related components.

“Customers shouldn’t notice any adverse changes in vehicle reliability, durability, or functionality (by way of instance, 0-100 km/h time, high speed, etc.),” it stated. “Your vehicle’s fuel consumption increases by around 0.4 litres/100 km{}”

Can you have the fix reversed if you are not content? Not likely. Iny explained the APA believes the settlement is final once approved.

“There have been very few complaints related to performance after the motor modifications,” Iny stated. “Performance of the motor following the modification could be impacted by the poor state of the engine prior to the fix.”

Volkswagen will not be analyzing the performance of each modified automobile, and there’s absolutely not any tailpipe check, Iny stated.

Owners also have complained that Volkswagen won’t perform the repair before unrelated repairs are done — in the owner’s expense.

“The later model gas is unreliable with [an] expensive fuel injector and high-pressure gas gas pump fixes [being] fairly common.” Iny said. “A situation aggravated by the fact that owners deferred repairs and maintenance following the cheating was shown in September 2015; today some of them are facing huge bills.”

Affected cars already pass Drive Clean

Ontario is the only state with an emissions test. All light-duty vehicles — cars, trucks, SUVs — in Southern Ontario have to pass the 30 Drive Clean test every two years once they’re seven years old.

Drive Clean does not examine tailpipe emissions on cars built after 1998; rather, it assesses engine codes.

That means that unless there has been some other difficulty unrelated to the cheating, VW TDIs with the cheat have always passed the test.

And they ought to continue to pass, with or without the fix, German said.

“The reason they will pass is because the on-board diagnostic system is set up to discover malfunctions — where emissions have grown compared to the way they were created,” he said. “On the vehicles with no fix, the emission controls operate; they simply have not turned them on.”

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) said vehicles with no repair should pass Drive Clean — again, unless there is some other issue.

And automobiles with the fix? From the letter to owners, Volkswagen said it does not anticipate vehicles with the correct to have problems passing provincial emissions evaluations.

Asked if this was the case, MOECC said, “VW hasn’t submitted ‘their fix’ to [us] for evaluation{}”

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

If I lease a car in Winnipeg in December, is it winterized?

23 Oct 17
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We’ll be renting a car in Winnipeg in December. Are the cars winterized and can withstand frigid nights, or do they have engine block heaters and have to be plugged in? — Mike, Tempe, Arizona

They call it Winterpeg for a reason. Any vehicle you rent there — or anywhere else in Canada — should have the ability to deal with the cold.

But they may not be equipped with winter tires.

“All cars in Canada is going to be winterized. Truly the only thing that means to me is it’s enough antifreeze in the coolant and winter windshield washer fluid,” said Calvin Feist, automotive instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.

“Major rental car companies have maintenance schedules they follow so all that should be performed — so the folks from Arizona should not be worried about the car, but they ensure they are winterized.”

We checked with leasing companies. All of them said their cars can take the cold. And they said their automobiles normally do not have to be plugged in — and, just a few of them will include a block heater.

“Our vehicles are equipped with the correct winter fluids including windshield fluid and antifreeze,” Lisa Martini, spokeswoman for National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, states in an email. “We don’t typically use the engine block heaters that come equipped in a number of our vehicles (it varies among locations) nor do we need that our clients use them{}.”

More car makers are using synthetic oil, which flows more readily when it is chilly than traditional oil. That makes block heaters less essential than they was, Karen Drake, Hertz spokeswoman, says in an email.

A cord winter’s day?

While any modern car should begin without plugging in when it is -30C, it won’t like it.

But that may only matter to you if it is actually your vehicle.

“We highly recommend plugging in your vehicle around -15, no matter how new or how old it is,” said Liz Kulyk, spokeswoman for CAA Manitoba. “It is better for .”

When it is below -15C out, the oil in your car, even if it is synthetic, gets thicker and does not flow like it should. That means more friction and more wear and tear on your engine — and your battery.

“The older your battery is, the harder it is to turn over your motor. It really takes about half a battery’s charge to flip over on a cold day,” Kulyk stated. “Proactively plugging in for approximately four hours before you would like to drive keeps the internal components of your car warm and aids in a simpler start.”

A block heater warms the engine coolant, which warms the engine block and the oil, so the oil flows {}.

Again, odds are that your rental car has a battery that is fairly new. But if you would like to plug your car in for reassurance, you may need to obtain an extension cord.

“Rental cars do not usually leave out the cable, so there will not be an extension cable,” Feist said. “Too many men and women who do not normally plug in their cars tend to drive away with it plugged in.”

Winter tires not only for snowflakes

If Canadian rental cars are ready for winter, so they have winter tires, right?

Nope. If you’re in — where winter tires are required from Dec. 15 to March 15 annually — all rental cars need to get them at no additional price.

But everywhere else, you will receive all-seasons if you don’t request winter tires. And they are only available on a few cars.

Normally, they are mostly at airport locations and meant for men and women that are heading off to ski.

“About 10 percent of the fleet in the Winnipeg airport comes with winter tires, but this percentage will increase and decrease according to seasonal requirements and trends,” Martini said. “Customers can book them ahead of time, but they’re also be offered at the counter if available.”

It’s a fantastic idea to get them, CAA Manitoba’s Kulyk stated.

“If you visit a leasing company in Winnipeg and tell them, ‘I am travelling to Flin Flon,’ I expect they would provide winter tires,” Kulyk stated. “And that is the exact same even when you stay in Winnipeg — they increase stopping distance hugely.”

The Enterprise group costs $12 per day for winter tires, Martini said. Avis and Budget charge exactly the same. Hertz charges $20 per day for compact cars through to full-sized sedans and $25 per day for specialty vehicles such as SUVs, vans or luxury automobiles.

Quebec is the only state which needs winter tires. Requires either all-season tires with the M S emblem or winter tires with the mountain snowflake symbol, on from October 1 to March 31.

“About a quarter of our B.C. fleet will have winter tires,” Hertz’s Drake said.

Be prepared

Isn’t only for rental cars. Anyone who’ll be driving in the winter ought to prepare soon. Including checking batteries, ensuring the block heater is working, obtaining a synthetic oil change, making certain winter tires have sufficient tread, topping up all of the fluids and checking your windshield wipers and washer fluid, Kulyk stated.

“You should also have a snow brush and a winter emergency kit,” she said.

That kit should include additional water and food, blankets and, in the event you get stuck, a crisis shovel and sand or kitty litter.

Rental cars typically include snow brushes but not chilly emergency kits, Martini said.

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Will microtransit become the next wave in commuter services?

19 Oct 17
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It is after work on a Friday night, and Clément Garnier is anticipating hisnbsp;Chariot.

“There was a baseball game and it was gridlocked at SoMa, where all of the startups are,” said Garnier, 26, a software engineer who works in San Francisco’s South of Market district. “There’s no simple transit home and I can not do Uber or Lyft, because with all the soaring for the sport, it is way too expensive — it was Chariot ornbsp;nothing{}”

Is an app-based, rush-hour commuter shuttle service based in San Francisco in 2014 and possessed by Because lastnbsp;year.

Chariot calls it microtransit — think of a cross between Uber, conventional transit with fixed stops and an airport shuttlenbsp;van.

Users pick an available Chariot on the program and wait at the nearest stop for the driver — a Chariot worker — to pick them up at a 14-passenger Ford van. Routes vary, but normally, they go into the center in the morning and away from it in thenbsp;day.

“We invite the public to inform us where they sail from and sail to and once there is a crucial mass, Chariot launches a twice-daily service through a.m. and p.m. rush hours to offer a quick, reliable, accessible and comfortable holiday experience,” said Ali Vahabzadeh, Chariot chief executive andnbsp;creator.

Growing to Toronto?

There have been other microtransit startups that failed, such as Boston-based And San Francisco’s , a luxury bus which provided organic, non-GMO snacks. Since Chariot was purchased by Ford Smart Freedom in 2016 for a $65-million (U.S.), it’s expanded to , Tex., and, most recently, .

The next stop? Possibly Toronto — earlier this year, the Corporation Placed job advertisements for employees in Toronto and London. However, Vahabzadeh stated there are no “immediate plans” to move tonbsp;T.O.

“I have spent time in Toronto; we think Toronto would be a amazing market for Chariot,” Vahabzadeh said. “Toronto reminds me a lot of San Francisco since it’s a fast-growing city where transit and housing shortages have become front-page news on a weeklynbsp;foundation.”

The Toronto Transit Commission would not say whether it was in discussions with Chariot, but it did state, in an email, 1that it had been “analyzing microtransit and its impacts.” There is no date on when a report may benbsp;published.

Toronto’s previous stab in microtransit was , which gently finished in 2016 following a seven-month pilot taking users to the financial district from CityPlace, the Distillery District, Liberty Village and Fortnbsp;York.

Why take microtransit?

Chariot would not say how many users it’s (Vahabzadeh said “tens of thousands”), but it said it’s 300 vans on both public paths — that anyone with a Chariot account can use — and on business routes used by businesses solely for theirnbsp;workers.

Since the paths are crowdsourced — they are usually fixed routes, but they are based on requests from users — Chariot may add additional supply as popular paths and fill in deserts where there is no publicnbsp;transit.

“I moved to San Francisco three years back and realized that even though it is a fairly small town, it requires a whole lot of time to get from point A to point B,” stated Garnier, who has lived in Paris and Montreal. “There is a reason why San Francisco is the birthplace of Uber, Lyft, Chariot and a whole lot of transportation startups — it is because the other choices here are actually, reallynbsp;terrible.”

Garnier takes public transit to get to work in SoMa (“It is a pain to get out of than it is to get into”). It costs $2.50 and takes him between 45 minutes and annbsp;hour.

But during the night, he had to walk a half-hour to catch the bus, which then took an hour for his property. So he chooses Chariot, which costs $3.80 during peak hours and $5 outsidenbsp;them.

“I used to take Chariot to work, but I understood that it is not reliable enough to get to work on time — in the morning, the ETA will be off by five, 10, 15 minutes, which can be very frustrating in the morning when you’ve got a meeting,” Garnier stated. “So I take it for home, when it actually does not matter if I do not leave right onnbsp;time.”

As an example, on the Friday night when he was trying to get home throughout the match, Garnier ended up waiting 50 minutes because Chariot’s system wasnbsp;down.

“Still, I essentially have a Chariot stop that has a block away from my office and a block away from my house and it takes me straight there,” he said. “That is Chariot’s bignbsp;strength{}”

Potential hurdles

San Francisco has proposed For Chariot and future bus services following complaints of Chariot trucks stopping to pick up passengers in bicycle lanes, busy travel lanes andnbsp;crosswalks.

“We take any security reports very seriously and will immediately investigate and take corrective actions if something is brought to our attention,” a Chariot spokesperson stated in annbsp;email.

And some wonder if services like Chariot could replace more economical public transit entirely on certain paths. That could shut out users that do not have a smartphone or can not afford the more expensivenbsp;fare.

Microtransit is probably both complementing and competing with public transit. We don’t have studies that document the net effect yet,” said Prof. Susan Shaheen, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center in the University of California, Berkeley. “The technology easing microtransit use might possibly be leaving some demographic groupsnbsp;supporting.”

It is not always a choice between conventional transit or microtransit for many Chariot users — some need to get where they are going. About 20 percent of Chariot’s riders unite it with public transit, Vahabzadehnbsp;stated.

“It provides that {}- and – last-mile capability for people to get out of their offices or home to transit hubs such as the train station, bus terminal or ferry terminal,” Vahabzadehnbsp;stated.

Barriers to growth

At the moment, Chariot does not have permission to travel between counties in the San Francisco Bay Area — which restricts potentialnbsp;paths.

Chariot could face similar barriers if it expands to Toronto, said Sasha Sud, senior program manager of energy and transportation in Toronto’s MaRS Discoverynbsp;District.

“I did meet with their CEO and Ford and a few of the challenges that they confront is how the system is organized,” Sud said. “In the GTA, you will find 30-plus municipalities and every one determines what the rules are for service providers and what sort of monopolies transit providersnbsp;have.”

Regardless of the regulatory hurdles, Sud believes microtransit is 1 part of the way — maybe in With local transit, ride-sharing as well as bike-sharing — to ease congestion, reduce commute times and reduce pollution by getting more people in fewernbsp;vehicles.

“People will need to find an advantage in leaving their cars at home and using a shared vehicle,” Sudnbsp;stated.

It is a choice that might work in several Canadian cities — such as sprawling areas like Edmonton and — but there should be research and pilot projects, Sud said. He points to Toronto Pearson International Airport, which has 300,000 workers going in and out daily. It is the second-largest employment zone in Canada, following downtownnbsp;Toronto.

“Ninety percent of them are utilizing single-occupancy vehicles and getting stuck on the same street — so companies can not keep workers because getting there is such a waste of time,” Sud said ” Is required, but to build it, it is going to take 10 years — so if we could get microtransit in now, we can help fill that gap untilnbsp;afterward.”

The author was a guest of the automobile maker. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.

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Can I get out of my car’s multiple security plans?

18 Oct 17
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I bought a a year ago. I also purchased anti-theft protection ($595), rust protection ($1,595), paint protection ($595) and fabric protection ($595) and now regret it. Is there any way to cancel these plans? I know it says “final sale” in the purchase agreement. But isn’t there a way to cancel if you’re unsatisfied, like the rest of the products and services with yield policies? — Yash

So long as the salesperson did not lie to you or violate a condition in the contract, there is probably no way to reevaluate those add-ons.

“Every Or bill of sale requires, in 14-point bold font next to the customer’s signature, the words: SALES FINAL,” stated Terry O’Keefe, spokesman for the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), which modulates dealerships in the state. “Quite simply, there is no cooling-off interval, period.”

Although most provinces, including Ontario, have cooling-off intervals for certain kinds of contracts, like for services or products offered by salespeople moving door-to-door — these typically do not apply to automobile sales.

Under Ontario’s , you can ask to cancel a sales contract with a dealership if it has not fulfilled a written state, O’Keefe said. Or, if it did not Certain details about the car, like the accurate mileage or it was a . But even then, you need to make the request within 90 days of the purchase.

Lying in wait?

That does not really apply to trader add-ons, but here is something that possibly could: Under Ontario’s , it is illegal to make false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable representations about a product.

Therefore, if the dealer falsely told you that your If you did not purchase rust protection, for example, you have up to a year to ask that the contract be — if you can prove it.

“Proving a misrepresentation isn’t so easy unless you have some evidence of a misrepresentation or deceptive practice, like a video or voice recording of this sales pitch,” George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), stated in an email.

When the APA has sent out secret shoppers with concealed cameras to dealerships, “misrepresentations about merchant extras were regular.”

The most frequent misrepresentation it found?

“[The] claim that there isn’t any factory corrosion protection guarantee for perforation of the human body,” Iny stated. “It is five to 12 years, based on the automobile maker.”

In 2016, OMVIC sent mystery shoppers to 20 dealerships in the Greater Toronto Area and discovered that five falsely claimed the manufacturer’s warranty failed to include corrosion protection.

If you believe the dealer is lying to you, report it to OMVIC and go shop somewhere else, O’Keefe said.

You will find similar protections in different provinces. In British Columbia, as an instance, you could likely still file a complaint about misrepresentation even after a year, ” said Doug Longhurst, spokesman with the Vehicle Revenue Authority of British Columbia.

Are trader extras a bad thing?

Dealer extras like rustproofing, fabric protection and paint protection are often unnecessary — or, for something like an alarm system, can usually be bought somewhere else for cheaper.

“Rust problems have disappeared in modern vehicles,” it stated.

And, rather than getting the seller to apply paint sealant (“hugely overpriced wax”) or fabric protection (“the priciest Scotchgard your upholstery will ever see”), get the merchandise for a couple bucks at a car parts store and apply yourself, it said.

“I feel the Civic comes with stain protection against the mill,” Iny stated. “The charge to the trader for aftermarket fabric protection is $15 to $60, the latter having a guarantee.”

These extras make money for dealerships — and for the individual who’s selling them Iny stated.

“The individual in the ‘business office’ who gives them typically receives a 20- to 25-per-cent commission on every product,” Iny stated.

When you are stuck in that area, there is a good deal of pressure to secure your investment (their words) — but you can not be made to decide on extras immediately, O’Keefe said.

“If a customer is unsure they want to buy an optional service or product, do not signal; take a day or two to do the study, and only then put pen to paper,” O’Keefe said. “Buying a car can be an extremely emotional and exciting event, but it is important consumers do not get caught up in the moment and that they make informed decisions{}”

Have a driving question? Send it to . Canada’s a big place, so tell us where you are so we can get the answer for your town and state.

Shopping for a new car? Have a look at the newnbsp;nbsp;to find the hottest discounts, rebates and prices on new cars, trucks and SUVs.nbsp;nbsp;to receive your price.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Can I get out of my car’s multiple protection plans?

16 Oct 17
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I bought a a year ago. I also bought anti-theft protection ($595), rust protection ($1,595), paint protection ($595) and fabric protection ($595) and now regret it. Is there any way to cancel all these plans? I know that it says “final sale” in the purchase agreement. But isn’t there a way to cancel if you are not satisfied, like all other products and services with return policies? – Yash

As long as the salesperson didn’t lie to you or break a condition in the contract, there’s likely no way to subtract those add-ons.

“Every or bill of sale requires, in 14-point bold font next to the consumer’s signature, the words: SALES FINAL,” said Terry O’Keefe, spokesman for the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), which regulates dealerships in the province. “In other words, there’s no cooling-off period, period.”

While most provinces, including Ontario, have cooling-off periods for certain types of contracts, such as for products or services sold by salespeople going door-to-door – these typically don’t apply to car sales.

Under Ontario’s , you can request to cancel a sales contract with a dealership if it hasn’t met a written condition, O’Keefe said. Or, if it didn’t certain information about the car, such as the accurate mileage or that it had been a . But, even then, you have to make the request within 90 days of the sale.

Lying in wait?

That doesn’t really apply to dealer add-ons, but here’s something that potentially could: Under Ontario’s , it’s illegal to make false, misleading, deceptive or unconscionable representations about a product.

So, if the dealer falsely told you that your if you didn’t buy rust protection, for instance, you have up to a year to request that the contract be – if you can prove it.

“Proving a misrepresentation is not so easy unless you have some evidence of a misrepresentation or deceptive practice, like a voice or video recording of the sales pitch,” George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), said in an e-mail.

When the APA has sent out secret shoppers with hidden cameras to dealerships, “misrepresentations about dealer extras were frequent.”

The most common misrepresentation it found?

“[The] claim that there is no factory corrosion protection warranty for perforation of the body,” Iny said. “It’s five to 12 years, depending on the auto maker.”

In 2016, OMVIC sent mystery shoppers to 20 dealerships in the Greater Toronto Area and found that five falsely claimed the manufacturer’s warranty did not include corrosion protection.

If you think the dealer is lying to you, report it to OMVIC and go shop somewhere else, O’Keefe said.

There are similar protections in other provinces. In British Columbia, for example, you could likely still file a complaint about misrepresentation even after a year, said Doug Longhurst, spokesman with the Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia.

Are dealer extras a bad deal?

dealer extras such as rustproofing, fabric protection and paint protection are usually unnecessary – or, for something such as an alarm system, can usually be bought somewhere else for cheaper.

“Rust problems have almost vanished in modern vehicles,” it said.

And, instead of getting the dealer to apply paint sealant (“vastly overpriced wax”) or fabric protection (“the most expensive Scotchgard your upholstery will ever see”), get the products for a few bucks at an auto parts store and apply them yourself, it said.

“I believe the Civic comes with stain protection from the factory,” Iny said. “The cost to the dealer for aftermarket fabric protection is $15 to $60, the latter with a warranty.”

These extras make money for dealerships – and for the person who’s selling them, Iny said.

“The person in the ‘business office’ who offers them typically receives a 20- to 25-per-cent commission on each item,” Iny said.

When you’re stuck in that room, there’s a lot of pressure to protect your investment (their words) – but you can’t be forced to decide on extras on the spot, O’Keefe said.

“If a consumer is unsure they want to purchase an optional product or service, don’t sign; take a day or two to do the research, and only then put pen to paper,” O’Keefe said. “Buying a car can be a highly emotional and exciting event, but it’s important consumers don’t get caught up in the moment and that they make informed decisions.”

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Are licence plates fair match for random police checks?

10 Oct 17
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We had been pulled over by police lately. The officer had run my plates and discovered that my license had expired three weeks before. Fortunately, my husband was driving and I just got a warning. I was surprised, partly because I had not realized that my license had expired, but largely because I did not think police were permitted to look at your licence plates unless you had committed a crime. Are they allowed to go fishing like this? — Rose, Vancouver

You may have secrets, but your license plate number is not one of them.

“There is absolutely no issue or civil libertarian problem for authorities to verify your license plate, because of what is known as the ” — objects which are in plain view don’t constitute a search under the Charter,” said Alan Young, associate professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall law school. “After your car leaves your garage, anyone can check your license plate”

So, police throughout the country are permitted to randomly check plates and they do.

“Though the sections of the Highway Traffic Act differ from one state to another, these manage authority for police officers to prevent motor vehicles,” the RCMP said in an email announcement. “Police officers do not want a reason to question licence plates because the plates are identifications that are utilised to identify the vehicles and their owners{}”

Most police forces use (ALPR), where cruiser-mounted infrared cameras — grabbing cars in both directions at more than 100 km/h.

The machine checks the plate to determine if it is on a hit list that includes suspended or expired licences. Additionally, it links to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) to tests plates which are stolen or associated with warrants or Amber Alerts.

In some states, including British Columbia, that list may include drivers with insurance. When the system receives a hit, it alarms officers in the vehicle.

Driving is a “privilege”

“We need to remember that driving is a privilege and not a right,” said Sergeant Jason Robillard, Vancouver police spokesman, in an email. “We can question licence plates without celebrating an overt act, simply to check on the status and validity of the car and the registered owners — the capability to question licence plates is a excellent tool for authorities to help keep the streets safe.”

And authorities say ALPR helps them find things — such as motorists with expired licences — which they may not find otherwise.

“People can be driving a Mercedes and have a suspended permit for drunk driving,” said Leutenant Jason Allard, Sûreté du Québec spokesman. “It is the most subjective system we’ve got”

But, random plate assessing — instead of searching for a particular vehicle since there’s a warrant out — is supposed to be exactly that: random.

“Let’s say you have an officer that you can record has just assessed licence plates from African-Canadians,” Young said. “Then you’ve got a constitutional problem — but the question is one of evidence.”

When can police pull you over?

Authorities can run your plates any time, even if they are not on the hit list. And any time they find something, police can pull you over.

Despite the fact that police say everyone is treated equally, they may not be, said Toronto criminal lawyer R. Roots Gadhia.

“It will become invasive, if, as an instance, they visit a young black man in the vehicle and they punch in the driver’s plate because they wish to find out who is driving,” Gadhia said.

And, police can stop you even if they don’t find something. They can If you have broken a traffic law — or simply to look at your license, insurance and registration status, mechanical fitness of the car or whether you are sober.

“Any person on street could be stopped by an officer for just about any reason, even just to look at your documentation,” Gadhia said. “Admittedly, some officers will abuse that power and go after folks in a manner that is targeting. They may say your tail light is out or you did not signal, which can be petty Highway Traffic Act offences, but it might elevate out there to a search or detention.”

If you are stopped by police for any reason, be considerate, Gadhia said.

“Being rude to an officer can spin out of control,” she said. “Have your documents in order and ask him ‘Can I ask the Reason I am being pulled over?’ “

If you do not agree with what the officer is saying, do not argue.

“Wait it out and see if they’ll ticket you,” Gadhia said. “If they do ticket you, then fight it [in court]. Just do not fight with the officer{}”

Privacy concerns?

Licence-plate scanners listing thousands of plates each day — even if your plate is not on the hit list. The machine still displays the date, time and location of where you were scanned — even though you have not committed an offence. As an example, a database may potentially show where you were parked at 7 p.m. last Tuesday.

“You could collect a fairly good idea of where people are at different times if you wanted to use it as a surveillance tool,” stated Brenda McPhail, manager of the solitude, surveillance and technology job with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “When there is no threat, that non-hit information shouldn’t be retained.” Policies on how long the information is retained vary by state, McPhail said. In 2012, B.C.’s Privacy Commissioner To prevent sharing non-hit data together with the RCMP.

In British Columbia, the non-hit license plate numbers are deleted at the end of each day — which ought to be carried out anywhere, McPhail said. “They will still record the time and date and GPS co-ordinates — but no license plate”

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Justin Townes Earle pens a more modern car Tune

06 Oct 17
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Singing about automobiles is nothing new for American musician Justin Townes Earle; he has been doing “automobile blues,” Of classic Samuel Lightnin’ Hopkins songs — such as I Had Been Burning Bad Gas or My Starter Won’t Start — for ages.

But lately, Earle has been asked to compose a song about a modern vehicle. “So I took the challenge of someone telling me I could not compose a Chuck Berry-style car song about a Japanese import,” says Earle before a recent show in Ann Arbor, Mich., on tour to support his new album, Children in The Street. He met the challenge with the infectious , a nod to the automobiles he grew up around in Nashville in the 1990s.

“I got this idea when I was writing this record where I was like you know, I am sick of hearing children compose songs about ’57 Chevy’s and things that they have never seen in their lifetime, except for in a magazine. Because I am willing to wager that in 1955 not everyone thought a 1955 Chevrolet was going to be a classic. They probably thought it was fairly normal looking,” says Earle.

A number of songs on Earle’s new album have a car motif. ” Perhaps a Moment, when we used to pile into a car and take off to Memphis to find shows that would not otherwise make it to Nashville when we were young,” says Earle. “And Nashville was one of these cities where if you did not have a car or knew someone who had a car, then you’re out of luck in plenty of ways.”

No surprise that a cover of Paul Simon’s Graceland is a B-side into the seven-inch single.

“The car has always played a significant part in what I do since we spend so much time in them. It is constantly on the road, and until you get to a bus, it isn’t usually that fun to maintain them. However, I do know that everyone loves when you get off the street and into your car after not driving for some time,” says Earle.

Specific vehicles and models have provided inspiration for songwriters: Bruce Springsteen’s Pink Cadillac, Prince’s Little Red Corvette, the Beach Boys 409 and Little Deuce Coupe, Jackie Brenston’s Rocket 88, Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally, and, of course, War’s Low Rider.

“Chuck Berry was the first to sort of come up with the thought of writing songs which were tailored to a generation. And one thing that was big about this generation was this romance with the new V-8 super strong cars which were being made in America,” says Earle.

But times have changed, and so have vehicles. Since Earle sees it, “These days if we are going to write about the car it can not be so much about the vehicle, but the experience you had in the car, with the car, the freedom that the automobile brought you, or something like that.”

Tunes like Copperhead Road and Hillbilly Highway by his , , might fit that bill. Same goes for Tom Waits’s (Searching for) The Heart of Saturday Night or Diamonds On My Windshield, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited, and Neil Young’s Long May You Run. Young has written a book, Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life amp; Automobiles about his love affair with classic autos, such as Lincvolt: his 1959 Lincoln Continental that’s been transformed to a biomass-powered hybrid {}.

Needless to say, there has always been plenty of room for metaphor in automotive songs, such as Aretha Franklin’s Freeway Of Love, Springsteen’s Ramrod, and Bo Diddley’s Road Runner. Queen’s I’m In Love With My Car (which finishes with the revving sound of drummer Roger Taylor’s Alfa Romeo) is open to interpretation.

And lest we forget, you can find even auto songs for the innocent-at-heart, for example from Woody Guthrie’s 1956 album Nursery Days.

After spending some time with his new baby girl, Etta St. James, Earle will be back on the street. Meanwhile, his Children in The Street record and Champagne Corolla remind us that inspiration can come from virtually anywhere.


Best 10 Car Songs

1. — Chuck Berry

2. — Bo Diddley

3. — Lightnin’ Hopkins

4. — The Beatles

5. — Bruce Springsteen

6. — Robert Johnson

7. — Tom Waits

8. — Queen

9. — Janis Joplin

10. — Jackie Brenston

Bonus track:

11. — Commander Cody

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Is it safe to keep a container of gasoline in my trunk?

03 Oct 17
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I don’t worry about running out of gas since I keep a container of gas inside my vehicle and minivan. At the car, it’s in the trunk. I make sure that there’s no gas on the outside of it. My 14-year-old son says it is dumb — and an explosion waiting to happen. — Kevin, Airdrie, Alta.

Odds are, maintaining gas in your vehicle could end up being a fairly bright idea. Yep, we mean glowing as in fire.

“It is not safe. It’s not recommended,” said Carol Henke, spokeswoman for the Calgary Fire Department. “If the lid isn’t tight or if there is any escape, the fumes can escape and if they reach a certain concentration any heat source may cause them to ignite.”

And even if the fumes do not find a spark — from wiring or static power — you should not be them in.

“The fumes and vapours can make a driver light-headed and nauseous,” Lewis Smith, director, national projects with the Canada Safety Council, said in an email. ” [Jerry cans] should always be saved in well-ventilated locations, which rules out the passenger cabin of vehicles for obvious reasons.”

Just as there are still That static could , there is a long list of warnings on the sides of fresh Jerry cans, such as “keep out of reach of children and direct sunlight,” “shop in a well ventilated place” and “don’t store in home or automobile.”

Leaks inevitable?

There is a difference between carrying a gasoline can inside the cottage or trunk — for example, when shooting the can home from the gas station so that you can fill up your lawnmower — and keeping it all the time. Even if you’re sure the can’s lid is cozy, vapour can still get out.

“Plastic gas containers are designed for short periods of transport for flammable liquids, not for storage in confined spaces,” Maya Filipovic, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services spokeswoman, said in an email. “As temperature increases, gas expands, and so as to equalize the pressure, the container could discharge pressure by allowing gas vapour to escape{}”

That identical expansion occurs in your car’s gas tank, but it is intended to discharge the vapours safely to the outside, Filipovic said. And, unlike that plastic Jerry can sitting in your back, your car’s gas tank is protected from static and electric sources.

While fire department could point us to certain cases of vehicle fires caused by a Jerry can, the threat of fumes When a backyard shed exploded from the U.K. this summer. Researchers believe a faulty fluorescent light ignited fumes from containers and garden equipment.

“To make a potentially explosive atmosphere, there simply has to be a little bit of gas vapour present, no more than 1.4 percent,” Jamie Lister, West Yorkshire fire investigation officer, told reporters.

Unlawful to take unleaded?

Both Calgary and Edmonton Fire stated they were not aware of a provincial law against carrying a container of petrol in a car.

Gas is covered under Ottawa’s .

“It is essential that drivers understand that gas is dangerous and has to be transported safely,” Julie Leroux, Transport Canada spokeswoman, said in an email. “Gasoline must maintain one or more small containers designed, constructed, filled, closed, secured and maintained so that under normal conditions of transport, including handling, there’ll be no accidental release of the dangerous goods that could endanger public safety.”

The penalties could be $500 to $800. You need to use approved containers no two-litre soda bottles.

You’re permitted to continue to 150 kg of gas, so long as every container weighs 30 kg or less.

Better alternatives?

The Canada Safety Council does not advocate keeping gas inside your car or truck. So what is left?

“Preventing a [Jerry can] into a roof rack can be a possibility, but given the relative weight of the fuel it is important not to overload the car and throw off its center of gravity,” Smith said. “The roof-rack solution also includes the additional concern of a loose could flying off at highway speeds — clearly less than perfect.”

For those who have a truck, you can safely maintain a gas container at the bed of the pickup. And, for those who have an SUV, you can find a metal Jerry can mount installed on the rear of your car or truck.

“Ideally, gas should be kept at room temperature and away from heat sources [such as the sun],” Smith said.

When you are filling up a container, then take it from your car or truck. It has to come into contact with the floor to be able to eliminate any possibility of static electricity igniting fuel vapours.

And leave some space in the can. “They shouldn’t be filled to the brim, as gas can expand,” Smith said.

Better yet? Do not run out of gasoline. Be certain that you fill up early, particularly if you’re on a long road trip — do not test that number that reveals the amount of kilometres you have left in your tank.

“There could be extenuating circumstances where there are no gas stations, but on most highways in Canada, that is not true,” Calgary Fire’s Henke said.

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Why can not Canadians show police evidence of insurance on their phone?

26 Sep 17
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We just moved to Surrey from San Diego, and I was amazed when the insurance guy here said ICBC does not allow you to reveal police your insurance information with a program, like we could in California. Is that true? It sounds kind of backward. — Ron, Surrey, B.C.

Even in British Columbia, you still must keep loads of paper in your glove compartment.

“You must legally take the first or unaltered photocopy of the owner’s certificate of insurance and vehicle licence from the automobile while it’s operated,” said Lindsay Olsen, spokeswoman for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

You will need the paperwork even though, in B.C., your license plate stickers demonstrate that you are insured for the year.

And, no, there is no app for it. Olsen said that there are “no immediate plans” to allow drivers to take evidence of insurance on their own phones.

At the moment, no state allows electronic evidence of insurance if you are pulled over — but 46 U.S. states do.

“It is all about convenience,” said Alex Hageli with the (PCI), a business group that encouraged the laws. “I’ve heard countless stories about how people got pulled over and they realize, ‘Oh, this is expired’ or ‘I have three cards, and they are all older than three months, so I will find a ticket.'”

Connecticut, New Mexico and Washington, D.C. do not yet allow it. Massachusetts does not require evidence of insurance and New Hampshire .

In its , Ontario announced it would allow digital evidence of insurance and require insurance companies to give discounts to customers who opt for it, but no date was set, and the state is still trying to work out how it will work, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) stated in an e-mail announcement.

“Electronics cards would enable drivers to verify their proof of insurance via their mobile device, rather than the present paper pink cards issued by insurers,” stated FSCO spokesman Malon Edwards. “However, drivers would continue to be responsible for confirming their proof of insurance, either electronically or with a paper copy, upon request{}”

We checked with other states, and no one else has immediate plans in the works.

Slips sliding off?

In Canada, the insurance industry says clients are asking to eliminate paper.

“Especially with the dilemma of identity theft, leaving private documents within the car is not the best thing to do,” said Pete Karageorgos, manager of Ontario consumer and business relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Can it also cut costs for insurance companies?

“You gotta recall, from the insurer’s perspective, they might need to administer unique lists because not all people will want to receive it {}” Karageorgos said. “There might be a cost to doing both simultaneously.”

So, should you carry your license on the telephone, will you still require a paper backup?

In the USA, a paper backup is recommended but not mandatory. Rather, states require that you carry either an electronic copy or a paper copy.

“There was some discussion of requiring both, but that would have defeated the purpose,” Hageli stated.

This works in practice can vary. Some companies provide apps. Others allow you to click on an email to set your insurance card into your smartphone’s wallet, together with your credit cards, frequent flyer cards and concert tickets.

“So if I am driving in the middle of nowhere without a reception, I am still able to get my e-card,” Hageli stated. “Theoretically, you can print something out or simply have a photo of your card on the internet and that is good enough.”

Privacy risks?

But there are concerns: Authorities were worried that if a motorist reaches into his pocket to catch a telephone, officers might think he’s a gun, Hageli stated.

And what happens to your telephone if officers take it to the squad car to test it? Could they access your surfing history, personal texts and e-mails? Should they fall your phone or scrape it, could you sue?

If you are using a card on your iPhone’s wallet, by way of instance, you can put your telephone so only the wallet can be obtained while the phone’s locked, preventing someone from viewing anything else, but that would not work for programs or a PDF.

Rather, state laws generally say that officers can not access your data, and they are not accountable for damage to your cell phone.

For Instance, States, “Presentation of evidence of insurance in digital format will not constitute consent for law enforcement, justice of the peace, or other state officials to get other contents of the mobile phone or other mobile electronic device, and won’t enlarge or restrict authority to conduct a search or investigation.”

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail