About Tire Pressure

On most modern vehicles, the tire specifications can be found on the driver’s door frame.

This tire information decal will specify the correct tire size and the cold inflation pressure for the front, rear as well as the spare tire.

The magic word is cold as tire pressure increases with temperature that could skew your readings. Check tire pressure with a reliable gauge in the morning, before the vehicle is moved.

The correct pressure will provide optimum handling along with the best fuel mileage.

The Dreaded Drive Clean Test

There is really no need to study (or go to great lengths in pre-test maintenance) prior to a Drive Clean test.

If your car starts easily, runs smoothly and gets reasonable fuel mileage you’ll probably pass the test. should your car fail, at least you’ll have an idea of what it needs and time to address it. A retest is only $17.50.

As far as getting your car as hot as possible prior to the test, don’t. Most cars will pass the test at normal temperature and as a matter of fact, some models (those without an EGR valve) may fail the NOx portion of test due to excessively high combustion chamber temperature.

A smile during the test will always help.

Prepping your car for the colder seasons

Fall is a great time to ensure that your vehicle will serve you well through the harsh winter months. In addition to the regular maintenance such as an oil change, braking system inspection etc. ensure that the rubber components are in good condition.

Tires, coolant hoses, belts and wiper blades undergo great stress as the temperature drops. All-season (or no-season…) tires loose most of their snow traction-power once the tire is over 50% worn. New wiper blades are a great investment – you’ll appreciate them the first time your windshield gets splattered with salt-laden slush while sunshine does its best to blind you!

Winter is a harsh season for man and machine.  Since OHIP is supposed to care for the former, we’ll concentrate on the latter.

Very low temperatures cause materials to act differently than when they’re warm.  Oil, in particular, tends to “harden” as the temperature drops.  The first minute following a cold morning start is extremely critical to engine life.  It takes time for the oil to reach the furthest lubrication points from the oil pump, resulting in reduced protection to moving engine components.

You can alleviate this by letting the engine idle for a couple of minutes before placing the shifter in “drive”.  Once under way, avoid hard acceleration for the next 5 minutes or so of driving.  You can also help by consulting the maintenance section of you owner’s manual and selecting a lower viscosity oil grade as stipulated.  Most cars will be fine with a good quality 5W30 oil.

Did you know that a lot of cars come with a block heater?  Use it on those cold nights and you’ll love that feeling when warm air will pour out of the heater almost immediately when you start your car.  If you are worried about the electricity bill, use a timer to turn the block heater some three hours prior to your expected departure time.

Drive carefully, spring is only 4 months away…

Prepping your car for the warmer seasons

Yes, it is that wonderful time of year! Its time to get your car ready for those hot and hazy days of summer.  Here are some main areas to address:

1.  Oils and fluids
After a harsh and cold winter, the best thing to do is replace your engine oil and filter.  Cold starts in freezing temperatures result in less-than-ideal combustion, introducing harmful acids and other contaminants into the engine oil.  Even if you have not driven much, have the oil and filter changed.  You could move up an oil grade (of viscosity) in anticipation of hot weather driving but consult your owner’s manual first.  The engine cooling system is very critical to reliable driving should be checked carefully.  Other systems such as automatic transmission and air conditioning depend on it for support.

2.  Tires
If you had snow tires on, now is the time to remove them.  Evaluate your summer rubber.  If the tread is worn, you can do yourself a favour by getting a new set.  You will thank yourself the next time you have to execute an emergency maneuver in a rain storm.

3. Wiper blades
They take a beating in the winter – the salty slush and freezing rain is hard on the rubber.  Replacements are inexpensive and afford you a clear field of vision.

4. Air Conditioning
NOW is the time to verify proper A/C operation and repair if necessary.  You’ll be disappointed if you wait until the first heat wave – mechanics get very busy (and testy) as the temperatures climb.

5. Keep cool and enjoy the summer!

It's getting colder…

What a great time to prepare for the cold weather…

Most motorists keep driving their car without checking under the hood – particularly if there is no perceivable change in its performance over time. This is an invitation for an unexpected breakdown (usually bound to happen at the worst time!), extra repair expenses and excessive fuel consumption.

Periodic oil changes with simultaneous inspection carried out by a qualified automotive technician will go a long way towards making your car a reliable, comfortable and safe means of transportation. Look at your tires; are the treads REALLY sufficient for those dreaded snowy days? We recommend installing a set of snow tires. They will provide you with the best traction and handling on that slippery white stuff. If you consider the potential cost of an accident (increased insurance premiums come to mind), the price of a set of snows is very reasonable.

Stay warm!