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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autumn is upon us here in Toronto, and that means it’s time to check on your vehicle to be sure it’s ready for months of potentially troublesome weather ahead. Here are some basic car care tips to be aware of as we head into this new season.
Now is the perfect time to check on the fluids that keep your car’s components in working order. This includes oil, brake, coolant, power steering, transmission, and wiper solvent. If you’re not sure how to check these or want them topped off, stop by and see us at Downtown AutoGroup for a quick tune-up.
Wipers and lights
Do a walk-around of your vehicle to be sure that all of the lights are working — front and back. Don’t forget to check the high beams and the brake lights when the brake pedal is pressed. You’ll also want to check the windshield wipers for any cracks or tears and have them replaced if needed.
Few things are worse than getting into your car on a cold morning and finding out that the heat doesn’t work. Do yourself a favor and check the heating system now to be sure you’re not stuck in the Toronto cold during your morning drive.
Along with these main things to check on your vehicle, you’ll want to be aware of the state of your car’s tires, belts, hoses, brakes, and exhaust system. If you’re ever in doubt about anything, feel free to contact our team at Downtown AutoGroup to schedule a service appointment.
Your car might have a lot of cargo room in the back, but it’s also well-equipped to carry the most precious cargo of all: your children. Before you hit the road here in Toronto, brush up on car seat safety information and make sure your kid’s protected.
Know the milestones
As your child ages, they will need new seats to fit their growing bodies. All infants must be in a rear-facing car seat, and they’ll stay in that type of seat until they reach age two and meet the height and weight requirements for a forward-facing car seat. These seats have a five-point harness to keep them secure. When they’re four years old and grow to 18 kilograms, or 40 pounds, your child can move up to a booster seat. These reposition your car’s seat belt to protect smaller people. From there, your child should stay in the booster seat until they’re tall and heavy enough for the adult seatbelt. According to Caring for Kids, that is usually between the ages of 9 and 12 years old.
Look for the mark
How do you know that the car seat in your vehicle is safe to use? See if it’s stamped with a National Safety Mark, which shows that it’s approved in Canada. Even if you think the car seat is right for your child, also check the label to determine its age, weight, and height limits.
If the unthinkable happens and you’re in a collision, you might think that you should keep the car seat that protected your child. However, if your car seat has been involved in any sort of accident, you should replace it. You never know how a minor incident might have compromised the seat’s integrity.
If you’re looking for a new vehicle to strap your child’s safety seat into, contact us at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto.
Visibility is a crucial part of driving safely, and your vehicle’s windshield wipers play a huge role in helping you stay out of danger. Along with replacing them when needed, it’s also important to know how to properly use and care for wipers.
1. Don’t use wipers on a dry windshield
Although it might seem harmless to run the wipers across the windshield to get some pesky leaves to fall to the side of your car, doing so can actually harm the wipers and cause them to tear or crack. Toss those leaves aside before getting in the vehicle and only use wipers when the windshield is wet, either from rain, snow, or via the wiper fluid.
2. Turn the wipers off before stopping the engine
When it’s pouring down rain, it can be easy to forget to turn the windshield wipers off before leaving your vehicle. But if you forget to do this, they will start running the next time you turn the car back on. This could lead to the previous issue of using wipers on a dry windshield.
3. Scrape ice and defrost first
We know it’ll be a while before the chilly weather comes back, but before we get into the thick of it, it’s important to know that you should always defrost the windshield and scrape any ice off before using the wipers. Heavy snow and ice can cause the wipers to get stuck on the windshield and cause damage to them.