VEHICLE Q and A: Making sure charities get the most from car donations | Life and Entertainment

Q. I have a car I want to donate but I’m not sure what is a charity and what is a car dealer or a car auction site. My other concern is if it is a charity what percentage of the sale of the proceeds goes to the charity?

A. Whenever I donate to anything, I try to have my donation match my personal values. For me, if I can donate to an organization that feeds children or gets people back on their feet and working that is where I try to donate. When it comes to vehicle donations, years back I met the folks from Advanced Remarketing Services and use their website, ARS charity car donation programs return the highest percentage of the gross dollar from each vehicle donation to your charity.

Q. I own a 1985 Corvette with the 4+3 transmission. It has 46,000 original miles. Due to a knee injury, I couldn’t drive the car for months. When turning off the car, the transmission must be in reverse to get the key out. It runs great. I cannot get the transmission out of reverse and I must keep my foot on the brake or the car will move. It feels like the clutch is partially engaged. Any idea what the problem could be? I want to get it to a mechanic.

A. Sounds as if the clutch master cylinder or clutch slave cylinder may have an internal leak causing the clutch not to release. At this point, the best course would be just what you are doing have the car towed to a garage to be inspected.

Q. Within a two-year period, my 2019 Honda CR-V had to be jump-started six times and three batteries replaced. Honda said the charging system was fine but added a software update to the car last year to solve the problem, but, evidently, they were wrong, at least for my car. The battery still dies.

A. One popular fix is to replace the Honda battery with one with more reserve capacity. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it makes up for some of the parasitic electrical draw. The other issue is when the battery dies it only comes back about 80 percent so each time shortens the battery life. Also, unless charged with a battery charger, not just driving, the battery never fully recharges 100 percent. With COVID-19, I’m not driving much and keep a Battery Tender-brand battery charger on my cars to keep the battery charged.

Q. I have a 2002 Honda Civic LX. It has 84,000 miles and is very well-maintained. My check engine light came on and when I ran the code it says my catalytic converter is bad. Several people have told me this is unusual for this car. Just wondering if this is normal for this vehicle.

A. At 19 years old it is certainly possible that the catalytic converter has failed. At this point I would get a second opinion and if it is determined the convertor needs replacement my suggestion would be to only use a Honda original convertor. As good as aftermarket products can be, some aftermarket converters can be prone to problems.

Q. I drive a 2014 Honda Accord EX and have been wondering if it is time to replace my engine coolant. My car has 79,000 miles on it and the coolant reservoir looks to be at the minimum line. Also, does it matter if I use OEM as opposed to aftermarket coolant? The aftermarket coolant from the store states that it is compatible with my car.

A. Honda uses an indicator-based system when maintenance needs to be performed. The display will indicate a number 5 when the coolant needs replacement. The ALLDAta database that I use converts that number into approximately 120,000 miles. The mileage-based schedules are estimated to resemble Honda’s indicator-based maintenance schedules as closely as possible. When it comes to coolant, I prefer to use original equipment coolant or aftermarket vehicle specific coolant. There are universal coolants, but I prefer a vehicle-specific coolant.

John Paul is an automotive consumer advocate with AAA. Questions can be sent to him via email at