Save Money on Gas with These Getaways Near Toronto

Niagara-on-the-Lake | Toronto, ON
Niagara on the Lake” by AL.Eyad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you’re looking for a way to save on gas this summer, consider a local getaway! These spots near Toronto offer plenty of fun and are so close, you’ll barely have to stop at the pump.


The region of Collingwood is home to various resorts and spas. Stop by Blue Mountain resort and enjoy beautiful views of the water. Or head to Wasaga Beach to get into the waters of the Georgian Bay and run around in the soft sand. You can also visit the Collingwood area during winter and take your turn at skiing and snowboarding.


If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re living in a Hallmark movie, Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) is the place to go. This quaint town is known for its colonial-style architecture and is home to various wineries, boutiques, and restaurants. NOTL hosts many events throughout the year, so be sure to check its calendar for ideas during your visit.

Kawartha Lakes

For a more serene experience, head to Kawartha Lakes. This outdoor getaway features gorgeous rivers, multiple parks, and plenty of opportunities to fish. If you don’t want to drive your own boat on the water, the area offers houseboat rentals. Since you’re already saving on gas or flights, you should have the option of taking an extended vacation in one of these floating abodes.

Where are you headed this summer? If you’re planning on taking a road trip, feel free to stop by and see us at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto to prepare your vehicle for the journey.

Where to Go for Pet-Friendly Fun in Toronto

Where to Go for Pet-Friendly Fun in Toronto, ON

There’s plenty to do for humans in the city, but what about our furry companions? If you’re looking for pet-friendly places to visit in Toronto, check out these spots!

Black Lab Brewing

With a name based on a dog breed, it should come as no surprise that this microbrewery allows dogs inside. In fact, the location’s name comes from the owners’ dog, Snoopy, who you just might get a chance to meet when you visit.

Centreville Amusement Park

To get to this fun place, you’ll need to take a ferry with your pooch. This amusement park features various rides and an antique carousel, offering family fun for all ages. But the best part? Your leashed dog can walk within the park with you. However, someone will need to watch Fido if you plan on riding anything, as dogs aren’t allowed on the rides.

High Park

With over 160 hectares of space to adventure, High Park is a great place to take your furry best friend. You’ll even find various leash-free trails where your pooch can explore many ponds and rivers as well as a partially fenced dog park. When it’s time to relax, stop by one of the tables for a picnic lunch.

These are just some of the many dog-friendly places to visit in Toronto. What are your favourite spots to go with your pup? Let us know the next time you see us at Downtown AutoGroup!

Best Toronto Festivals to Attend This Summer

Best Toronto Festivals to Attend This Summer | Toronto, ON

Now that the weather is improving, you might be itching to get outside. From music and cars to celebrating our true selves, there are plenty of things to do in our city! Rather than wandering around aimlessly without a plan, consider checking out these fun Toronto festivals this summer.

Toronto Pride Festival

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and a great way to show your support to the queer community is by attending the Toronto Pride Festival. The festival takes place from June 24-26 downtown and includes drag shows, booths with local art on sale, and parades.

Beaches International Jazz Festival

If you’re all about music, you have to check out the Beaches International Jazz Festival, which takes place July 2-24. That’s right; you’ll have three weeks to head to The Beaches and enjoy jazz concerts, food trucks, contests, and fundraisers.

Honda Indy Toronto

For those with a need for speed, Honda Indy Toronto is the place to be. Formerly called the Molson Indy Toronto, this event at Toronto’s Exhibition Place occurs from July 15-17 and includes trackside beer gardens, delicious food trucks, and — of course — the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Which event are you most excited to attend in Toronto this year? Let our team at Downtown AutoGroup know the next time you stop by!

Does My Car Need a New Battery?

Does My Car Need a New Battery? | Toronto, ON

Your car and its parts go through a lot over time. Making it through the harsh cold of winter can take a toll on many components, including the battery. But how do you know when it’s time to replace a car battery? Our team at Downtown AutoGroup put together this guide to help.

  • Battery Leak: If you notice any corrosion near the battery’s ports, often in the form of white or light blue powder, consider bringing your vehicle in for an inspection.
  • Swelling Battery Case: Another under-the-hood check is to see if the battery case looks like it is expanded, which could mean the battery is losing power.
  • Check Engine Light: While this dashboard light can illuminate for a variety of reasons, it can also be a sign that your car needs a new battery.
  • Slow Engine Crank: Does it take longer than normal for your car to start? A slow engine crank could mean your vehicle has a dying battery.
  • Low Battery Fluid Level: This might be hard to see on your own, but if you notice that the battery’s fluid levels are low, you will want to test the battery’s charge to ensure it is working properly.

If your vehicle shows any of these signs, schedule a service appointment at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto so we can replace the battery for you.

What You Need to Know About Spring Vehicle Service

What You Need to Know About Spring Vehicle Service | Toronto, ON

Heading into a new season is a good reminder to have routine maintenance done on your vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about spring vehicle service, which you can schedule here at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto.

Check the tires

Tires naturally wear unevenly due to the way a vehicle’s weight sits on them. As we enter spring, it’s a good time to have the tires rotated. If you encountered any pot holes during winter, you may need to check the alignment to prevent your vehicle from veering to the left or right.

Fill up the fluids

An oil change is one of the most common services you should have done after a few months. But don’t forget about other fluids that your vehicle relies on. This includes the windshield wiper fluid as well as the brake fluid.

Replace wiper blades

Snow, ice, and salt can all have damaging effects on your vehicle’s windshield wipers. Check the metal pieces for signs of rust and be sure to examine the blades for any cracks, tears, or warping. The last thing you want are streaky wipers during spring showers.

Miscellaneous items to check

While you’re giving your vehicle a thorough inspection, it’s probably best to check a handful of other items as well. This includes the battery, headlights and brake lights, turn signals, brake pads, and air filters.

If you need assistance taking care of any of these components on your car, let our team of experts at Downtown AutoGroup handle the work for you!

Do’s and Don’ts for De-Icing Your Windshield

Do's and Don’ts for De-Icing Your Windshield | Toronto, ON

One of the most tedious winter tasks is de-icing your vehicle’s windshield. From the time it adds to your daily commute to your hands feeling like they’re frozen solid, getting that sheet of ice out of the way can be exhausting. Check out these do’s and don’ts for de-icing your windshield so you can protect your vehicle and be on your way.

Do: Try using a de-icer spray

Many hardware stores sell windshield de-icer sprays that make clearing your windshield easier. But you can also make the solution with a few ingredients at home. One option consists of putting two parts 70% isopropyl alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle. This method works because alcohol has a lower freezing points than water and can thaw the ice.

Don’t: Use hot water

While adding hot to cold might seem like a good idea, you should not pour hot water onto your frozen windshield. The extreme change in temperature could cause your windshield to crack — or shatter completely.

Do: Scrape gently

Rather than aggressively hacking away at the ice on your windshield, start gently. First, brush off any loose snow or ice. After that, use a plastic ice scraper to get the rest of the ice off the windshield. Never use metal tools, though, because they can scratch the glass of your windshield.

If your vehicle’s windshield has any cracks or chips in it, you’ll want to get it fixed as soon as possible at our Collision Centre at Downtown AutoGroup.

How to Keep Your Car’s Cabin Clean This Winter

How to Keep Your Car’s Cabin Clean This Winter | Toronto, ON

As beautiful as a blanket of snow looks, that beauty quickly turns to sludge and can make its way into your car. Road salt and snow can wreak havoc on the interior of your vehicle, so it’s important to keep it clean throughout winter. Here are some tips on saving your car’s cabin.

Get rubber floor mats

Some of the best investments that you can make for your car are rubber floor mats. Along with being helpful for protecting your car, they’re also easy to clean! While carpet mats absorb the moisture of rain, sleet, and snow, quality rubber mats are designed to protect your vehicle’s flooring. Try to splurge on mats that are sized specifically for your car so you don’t have anything getting underneath them.

Vacuum often

Even if you try your hardest to keep unwanted debris out of your car, it is inevitable that some stuff will find its way inside. As tedious as it may seem to constantly vacuum your car’s interior, you’ll be saving money as you continue to do so. Road salt is incredibly corrosive and can wear down the interior of your vehicle, resulting in costly repairs.

These are just a couple of ways to keep your car’s cabin clean this winter. For more tips, contact our team at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto, Ontario.

How to Get Better Gas Mileage This Winter

How to Get Better Gas Mileage This Winter | Toronto, ON

Whether you have noticed or not, your vehicle uses more fuel during the winter. Due to the weather conditions being tougher to drive through, your car must work harder and — as a result — use more gas. But there are ways to get better gas mileage this winter.

Stop idling to warm up

Although it may seem like a good idea to start your car and let it sit to warm up, you’re actually wasting gas that way. Instead, simply driving your vehicle is a better way to heat things up in the cabin and be on the way to your destination, thus saving gas.

Check the tires

When your car’s tires aren’t properly inflated, they’re not performing at their peak. Be sure that they’re not underinflated or overinflated by checking the PSI. Check the owner’s manual for your vehicle, or look at the driver’s door jamb, to find the correct PSI for the tires. Keep an eye on tread depth, too, and have the tires replaced if needed.

Consider a block heater

If the temperatures drop immensely to below freezing, your vehicle’s engine may need some assistance just to start. A block heater is a device that will warm up the engine ahead of time while reducing fuel consumption.

If you notice any issues with your vehicle this winter, contact our team at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto, Ontario, for assistance.

Driving Safety Tips for Winter in Toronto, ON

Driving Safety Tips for Winter in Toronto, ON | DAG

Winter weather in Toronto means icy roads and the possibility of delays on the roadways. It also means you should slow down and adhere to these winter driving safety tips.

Slow it down

With snow, ice, and sleet on the roads, it’s harder for your vehicle to come to a safe stop. Be sure to slow down and leave more space than usual between you and the car ahead to allow for enough time to brake. Be careful not to make sudden stops, as this could cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.

No cruise control

Most cars today are equipped with cruise control and some are even intelligent enough to manage your speed automatically. But as smart as these systems are, you should avoid using cruise control at all when the roads are slick.

Prepare your vehicle

It’s also important that your vehicle is ready for winter driving. This means checking on vital components like the battery, lights, windshield wipers, fluids, and tires. For added peace of mind, consider stopping by Downtown AutoGroup for necessary maintenance, including putting winter tires on your car.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to driving safely this winter. Just keep calm and exercise plenty of caution.

Tips for Checking Your Vehicle’s Lights

Tips for Checking Your Vehicle’s Lights | Toronto, ON

As the seasons change, the sun starts to set earlier each day. To stay safe while driving, it’s imperative that the lights on your vehicle are working at their maximum potential. Here are some helpful tips for checking on these important features.

Check when it’s dark outside

The best way to know how well your car’s lights are working is to see how they perform when it’s dark outside. If possible, park on a flat surface in front of a wall or garage door after sunset. Turn on the standard headlights and look at the wall to see if the illumination for each light is equally bright. Do the same with the high beams and be sure to watch for a distinct difference in the level of brightness between the two types of bulbs. If any of the lights seem to be weak or not working at all, schedule a service appointment with our team at Downtown AutoGroup to repair them.

Don’t forget the brakes

Not only is it important for you to see what’s ahead of you at night, it’s just as important that the cars behind you can see you, too. Even when you’re not braking, the brake lights on your vehicle are slightly illuminated to help other drivers know when another car is in front of them. If you have someone that can help you, have them stand behind your vehicle while it’s parked and press on the brakes. If any of the brake lights are burnt out, you’ll want to get them replaced as soon as possible.

Other light components to consider checking include turn signals and the lights inside the cabin, such as overhead lamps and those illuminating the digital components. Contact the service technicians at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto, Ontario, for assistance with any of these vital vehicle features.