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.

Important Autumn Car Care Tips for Toronto Drivers

Important Autumn Car Care Tips for Toronto, ON, Drivers

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.

Fluids

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.

Heating

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.

Brush Up on Car Seat Safety

Brush Up on Car Seat Safety | Toronto, ON

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.

Don’t reuse

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.

How to Care for Your Vehicle’s Windshield Wipers

How to Care for Your Vehicle’s Windshield Wipers | Toronto, ON

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.

If the windshield wipers on your vehicle need to be replaced, our service department at Downtown AutoGroup is here to help. Contact our team to schedule an appointment to ensure you’re driving safely.

What to Do If Your Car Is Overheating This Summer

What to Do If Your Car Is Overheating This Summer | DAG | Toronto, ON

As the temperatures rise, so do the chances that your car will overheat this summer. If you find your car overheating, here are some steps you can take to ensure you reduce the amount of damage a hot engine can do.

Blast your heater

When you notice that your engine is starting to get too hot, immediately turn on your heater, even if it’s hot outside. Doing so helps drains heat from the engine, buying you time to find a safe place to pull over.

Pull over

Look for a safe place well off the road to stop and turn off your car’s engine.

Let the engine cool

Engines typically take at least a half hour to an hour to cool down. In that time, you should call for roadside assistance to get a tow truck, if you think you need one.

Lift the hood — safely

Once you’re stopped, you can lift the hood to see what’s going on — but wait until the engine temperature gauge goes back to normal and there’s no steam coming out. Don’t remove the hot radiator cap, because it might cause coolant and steam to erupt from the radiator and burn your hands. Also, don’t add cold water to an overheated engine because it can cause damage.

Check your coolant

Under your hood, there should be a translucent plastic tank located under the hood near the radiator. If it’s empty, then you might have a leak.

If you’re experiencing any problems with overheating, we’re here to help at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto. Our service department will check your vehicle carefully and make sure that the problem is fixed so you can be on your way.

How to Get Better Gas Mileage This Summer

Better Gas Mileage in Toronto, ON

Are you looking to save money on fuel this summer? Whether you’re planning a lengthy road trip or just want to travel around Toronto more efficiently, these driving tips will help you get better gas mileage as temperatures start to rise. 

Go easy on the accelerator. Accelerating quickly is fun, but the more you put the pedal to the metal, the more gas you use. Try to reduce the amount of fuel you use by easing into acceleration when possible.

Don’t speed. The majority of vehicles are most efficient when they’re sticking between 50 and 80 km per hour. If you go above this speed, you’re going to be using more fuel the faster you go. So, try and stick to the speed limit and only go above 80 km per hour if the signs tell you that you can.

Avoid idling. If you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds, turn off your engine (unless you’re in slow-moving traffic). Idling can waste a significant amount of fuel and is also a major source of pollution.

Carry less weight. Do you have an old hockey bag filled with gear that’s been hanging out in your trunk for the last year or so? The excess weight of this bag — or anything else your car is carrying — can affect its efficiency. The less your vehicle weighs, the less fuel it will use. Keep in mind that the fuel consumption of a midsize car can increase by an estimated 1 percent for every extra 25 kg it carries.

Another great way to save on fuel this summer is to purchase a more efficient car. Visit Downtown Autogroup in Toronto to check out our extensive inventory of eco-friendly vehicles.

Important Emergency Items to Keep in Your Car

Important Emergency Items to Keep in Your Car | Downtown AutoGroup | Toronto, ON

When the unexpected occurs, it’s important to be prepared. We’ve put together a list of emergency items to keep in your car — that way you’ll be ready if you ever find yourself in an unlucky situation.

General Items

No matter the time of the year, there are a few items that you should always keep in your vehicle as an emergency kit. These include:

  • Water and non-perishable food to stay hydrated and fill you up in case you’re waiting on the side of the road for awhile
  • Road maps of areas that you frequently drive through in case you lose cell phone reception
  • A flashlight and road flares to help with visibility when darkness falls
  • A first-aid kit in case an injury occurs out on the road
  • Jumper cables to ensure you can always start your car — or help someone else start theirs — when a battery dies

Cold-Weather Items

Winter is no joking matter in Toronto. Make sure you always have the following items in your vehicle during the colder months:

  • A warm blanket to keep you warm when your car won’t turn on
  • Extra clothing, gloves, hats, scarves, and shoes so you can add layers if needed
  • Kitty litter or sand to help you get traction when you’re stuck in the snow
  • A shovel and ice scraper to help clear your car and dig yourself out of snow

Warm-Weather Items

Even if the weather’s warm, you still need to be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you have these items in your car during the summer:

  • An umbrella to help provide you with shade if you need to stand out in the sun
  • Extra water that will keep you hydrated and help cool your engine if your vehicle is overheating

Keeping these items on hand will help you stay prepared for emergencies. While you’re at it, remember to schedule routine service here at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto, Ontario, so you can be confident that your vehicle is running at its best.

Ways to Upgrade the Technology in Your Car

Ways to Upgrade the Technology in Your Car | DAG | Toronto, ON

Technology is changing at a rapid pace, so it’s not unusual to feel like you’ve fallen behind even if you have a newer vehicle. But you don’t have to get a completely new ride to upgrade the technology in your car. You can have the convenient features you want for just a few dollars and with the help of the experts at Downtown AutoGroup.

Bluetooth® connectivity

Being able to use your smartphone hands-free is a game-changer, and Bluetooth® makes it easy to stay connected and safe on the go. Bluetooth® adaptors are readily available, readily affordable, and easy to set up. In most cases, you just need to plug the device into your auxiliary outlet or audio input jack, sync your phone, and enjoy the convenience of hands-free calling and streaming.  

Backup camera

Backup cameras are standard on new cars made from 2018 on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one if you have an older vehicle. A decent quality backup camera might not even cost $100 and setting it up could take as little as an hour or two. If your vehicle belongs to one of the brands in the Downtown AutoGroup, you may even be able to buy a backup camera that’s made for your vehicle and have it installed at one of our 10 Toronto locations.

When it comes to upgrading your ride, you’ve got tons of options — from head-up displays and dashcams to safety features like cross-traffic alert. For all your automotive questions and answers, seek out the experts at Downtown AutoGroup. We’ll help you bring your vehicle into the modern day and keep it running well into tomorrow.