Q: My 1997 Lincoln Continental has a transmission issue. The problem is it does not shift smoothly from initial start into first gear. After the first gear shift, it is smooth in all other gears. This only happens when the car is warm. It shifts fine when the car is first started and the engine is cold. Any thoughts?
A: I would start with a check of the basics, such as the fluid level, fluid condition and scanning the car for computer fault codes.
Certainly, at 25 years old, the transmission could be at the end of its life and just showing signs of age.
In addition, some of these transmissions had a bad seal on the 2-3 clutch that would cause a poor first gear engagement and shift. Unfortunately, the transmission needs to come out to be fixed.
Q: Could you give me your opinion of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross? Do you think it is a good car?
A: I haven’t fully road tested this car. I expect to in the near future.
From my short test drive, my impression was that Toyota was trying to offer value pricing by using a lower-cost interior. The car rode OK and had enough power, but the engine got noisy when pushed hard. Interior space was well utilized; seats were a bit short and lacked thigh support (like many smaller cars).
I believe it will replace the current Toyota CH-R, which, in my opinion, was not a particularly well-designed vehicle.
Q: My friend’s 2012 Chevy Equinox has a cracked exhaust manifold. From what I’m seeing online, this is a common problem with these cars. Even the replacements sometimes crack, and in the same location. Do you have any info on this?
A: Considering the original replacement manifolds can also crack, perhaps consider an aftermarket replacement.
Dorman — which makes many replacement parts — has a replacement manifold.
One possible additional issue: worn motor mounts can stress the manifold. As you are replacing the manifold, carefully inspect the motor mounts.
Q: What are your thoughts on buying versus leasing a car? It is time for a new car, and I was thinking of leasing.
A: Although I’m a bit old fashioned and believe in buying a car, leasing will give you a new trouble-free car every few years. It will also keep you from getting bored and will guarantee that you have a car payment forever. Of course, if you like the car, you can always buy it.
One car that I would consider leasing is an electric car. The technology is changing so fast that the next generation of electric cars may be much better, making your purchased vehicle less valuable as a trade-in.
Q: The factory warranty has expired on my 2017 Toyota Corolla, which has 93,000 miles on it.
Warranty companies keep urging me to put an extended warranty on my car. Would you recommend that? I have been told Toyotas are very reliable and have few long-term problems, and I don’t want to waste my money.
If you were going to buy a warranty, what would you buy?
A: If your Corolla is as reliable as most Toyotas, I would say no to the warranty and just put a little budget money away as an emergency repair fund. That way, if you don’t need the money for major repairs, you still have the money, rather than an expired insurance policy.
If you were to buy a warranty, then I would look at the Toyota extended service contract and AAA’s warranty program.
I don’t just recommend the AAA program because I have worked here for 38 years, but also because I know that over the years as warranty companies come and go, we always stand behind our members and their purchases.
John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.