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While it has been gradually cooling for weeks the first blast of the white stuff is always a shocker.   We have been a little spoiled over the past couple years and no one expected it to hit this fast.     Probably many of you are a little unprepared.    Time now to move this to the top of the list.

Winter driving is the most difficult season to drive in and it is also the harshest and most demanding season for your car.   So take the time in the next few days to prepare for what is already happening - winter.

First off have a set of four high quality winter tires installed. Winter tires have a deeper tread and special rubber compound making them superior to all-season tires for winter driving, and should be installed regardless of whether your car is rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. They should be installed on their own set of steel rims, and checked for proper balance, alignment, and tire pressure.

If you are looking for new winter tires this year, Toyo has a new winter tire that is helping you grip the road better with natural materials such as walnut shells.   Walnut shells are one of the hardest natural occurring materials and when incorporated into your tires act as tiny spikes that grip the ice.    You can read more about this right here:  http://www.toyotires.ca/technology/microbit-technology

Secondly, have your car thoroughly checked over as problems tend to become more apparent when winter arrives. Have the belts, hoses, brakes, and suspension all checked for wear and proper function.

Next make sure all vital fluids are clean and topped up. The coolant should be checked for strength and quality to ensure the cooling system will function properly. The windshield washer system should be filled with freeze resistant windshield washer fluid and the windshield wiper blades should be changed to winter blades.

Four on the list is to have your battery and charging system tested. No one wants to get stuck in a cold parking lot with a dead battery, which is why you should have the battery checked and load tested for proper functioning. Also, have the alternator checked to make sure that it is charging the battery properly. Car batteries usually last 4-5 years, so it might be time to have a new one installed and if you do so a good quality battery will be worth the little additional cost.

Next make sure all your lights are working properly and your headlights are clear and clean.    Also inspect your electronics and heater.   Besides being stuck on the side of the road, having to drive miles in a cold car that won't warm up is very uncomfortable.

Lastly put a winter kit in your trunk.   Carry a shovel, road salt, a bottle of windshield washer fluid, and perhaps a first aid kit and some water when you know you will be driving in bad weather.   Also make sure your cell phone is charged just in case.

 

Safe Driving.

 

The forecast is calling for snow in the higher elevations this week so that means it is tire season.
Here is how to read the tires on your car or the tires you have stored away for the winter months.
Most of the information you will need can be found on the side of the tire, this is called the sidewall.
The numbers and letters on the side tell you the type of tire, the section width, sidewall aspect ratio, tire construction, diameter, load index, and speed rating.

P225/55R18 97T

Type of tire - if you look above the first is a letter.  This tells you the type of vehicle that the tire was designed for. For example, “P” designates a passenger car, SUV, or pickup truck; “LT” means a work truck; “T” signifies a spare tire; and “ST” means a trailer. If there isn’t a letter, it indicates that it is a European metric tire.

Section width (“225” in the example above): This number indicates the distance (in millimetres) between the sidewalls.

Sidewall aspect ratio (“55” in the example above): This number is the sidewall width as a percentage and indicates the height between the wheel and the road. The lower the number, the thinner the tire (for instance, a performance car); the higher the number, the thicker the tire (for instance, a 4×4).

Tire construction (“R” in the example above): This letter refers to the construction of the tire interior. “R,” which represents 99% of all tires, stands for “radial.” This means that the plies of the tire body cross the tire from one bead to another. “D” and “B” are used for specialized equipment.

Wheel diameter (“18” in the example above): This number indicates the diameter of the wheel in inches.

Load index (“97” in the example above): This is the maximum load a tire can support when inflated to the maximum safe pressure. In the example above, “97” corresponds to a maximum capacity of 730 kg.

Speed rating (“T” in the example above): This number indicates the maximum guaranteed speed that the tire can handle. Speed ratings range from A (lowest) to Y (highest). For instance, the popular “H” rating can handle sustained speeds of 210 km/h!

If your stored tires have the snowflake symbol then you have winter rated tires.   However, if you have had these tires for3 - 4 years then we need to perform a tread test before we can install them on your vehicle for you, they could need replacement.

Come in and talk to us and we will help keep you safe on the winter roads.

Today's world is right full of videos on You Tube, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram that you can watch.    Many of these are real and can teach you how to perform certain tasks that you are interested in.   Have you tried the one that shows how you can fix a cracked windshield with just bug spray, salt and rubbing alcohol?   Didn't work, did it?    How about the one that uses a plunger to unlock doors?   Not successful was it?   Many of these are not successful and can actually do damage to your vehicle.    If you do find one that has credibility they could still be missing steps, using equipment that isn't correct or even showing you how to repair something on the wrong vehicle!
If you need advice on how to repair something, or want to know how to do the checks on your vehicle you should be doing (tire pressure, brake lights, batteries, etc) please stop in and let us teach you the correct way.

Well the days are getting shorter and by the end of September sunset will be at 7:15 pm.   Yikes, that is early.

Because of the earlier night falls it is a good idea to go over some night time driving tips.   In Canada it’s estimated that nearly 20 per cent of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue.    According to Transport Canada, 60 per cent of Canadian drivers said they occasionally drove while fatigued and 15 per cent admitted they had fallen asleep.

In our part of the countryside you are often driving in rural areas.   If you are driving on country roads you have a greater chance of encountering wildlife that can possibly run out in front of you causing a chance of collision.    Keep a eye out for  the reflection of your headlights in the eyes of any wildlife on the side of the road.  If you see two little white balls are glowing along the ditch, slow down. If it turns out to be a big animal, slow down as fast as you can and don’t swerve. Deer tend to follow headlights and are apt to move in front of you.

As cars approach you from the opposite direction don't stare into their headlights.   Instead focus on the white or yellow lines on the road.   It will help your eyes to stay adjusted to the dark.

It is also a good idea to dim the dashboard lights as you are driving.   This will reduce reflections and help improve your vision through the windshield.

If you find yourself yawning, fidgeting, blinking a lot or drifting over the center line it is time to pull over and get out, stretch and walk around the vehicle in a spot safe to do so.   If you still feel too fatigued to continue take the time to take a short 20 minute nap.

To help reduce some of the strain of driving at night we can help by aligning your headlights properly for you.   We can also take a look at your headlights and make sure your bulbs are in good working order.    These quick fixes will help keep you safe on the road.

Stay safe.

Kelley Blue Book has just announced its 2016 Brand Image Award winners, and while Toyota is surprisingly absent from the list (if you don’t count its luxury division Lexus), Subaru pulled off an impressive feat by earning half the awards in the non-luxury category including Best Overall Brand, Most Trusted Brand, and Best Performance Brand.
These awards recognize automakers' outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brand attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm of the new-vehicle buying public. They are based on consumer automotive perception data from KBB Strategic Insights' Brand Watch study, using criteria such as affordability, comfort, performance, reliability, styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, and safety.
Here are the 2016 Brand Image Award winners according to KBB:
Non-Luxury Brands
Best Overall Brand: Subaru
Most Trusted Brand: Subaru
Best Value Brand: Honda
Most Refined Brand: GMC
Best Performance Brand: Subaru
Best Car Styling Brand: Chrysler
Truck Brand
Best Overall Truck Brand: Ford
Luxury Brands
Best Overall Luxury Brand: Lexus
Most Trusted Luxury Brand: Lexus
Best Value Luxury Brand: Buick
Most Refined Luxury Brand: Mercedes-Benz
Best Performance Luxury Brand: Porsche
Best Car Styling Luxury Brand: Jaguar