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.

Essential Safety Features for Your Next Car

Essential Safety Features for Your Next Car | Downtown AutoGroup | Toronto, ON

Advanced safety technology is growing more and more popular throughout the automotive industry. With many vehicles coming standard with a suite of these safety technologies, it’s so much easier to feel more confident out on the road. Here are some of the essential safety features you should consider when searching for your next car.

Automatic Emergency Braking. With automatic emergency braking, your vehicle can apply your brake if it detects an imminent collision. This technology has reduced frontal collisions with injuries by 53 percent. While this technology isn’t a substitute for being attentive behind the wheel, it can help you when your reaction time isn’t as quick as you’d like to prevent a collision. On some vehicles, you can also opt for a rear automatic braking system, which appear to reduce crashes while backing up by 78 percent.

Pedestrian Detection. Alongside many automatic emergency braking systems is pedestrian detection technology. As you might guess from its name, this technology looks ahead, automatically braking when it detects a person in front of you.

Blind-Spot Detection. Change lanes with confidence when you’re driving with blind-spot detection. This system lets you know when there’s a vehicle in your blind spot, allowing you to switch lanes without worrying. Because many people turn off these systems, the numbers are difficult to analyze, but it currently appears that this type of system has reduced crashes by around 14 percent.

Stop in at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto and we’ll help you find a high-value, high-quality vehicle that’s equipped with your highest-priority safety technologies. 

Enjoy These Outdoor Winter Activities in Toronto

Outdoor Winter Activities | Downtown AutoGroup | Toronto, ON

It’s never hard to find something fun to do in Toronto, especially during the winter. If you’re looking for some winter fun that’s also socially distanced, check into these outdoor activities.

Head to an outdoor skating rink

It wouldn’t be winter if you can’t go ice skating, so head to one of Toronto’s 54 city-run outdoor ice rinks for some free skating. It’s easy to stay spaced out from other skaters, and many rinks require you to reserve spots online before arriving. For instance, Nathan Phillips Square only allows 25 participants at any time, and you must wear a face mask and reserve a spot online before heading to the rink.

Explore a winter trail

There are so many lovely natural spaces in Toronto, and many have their own hiking trails. Why not bundle up and head out to enjoy the beauty winter has to offer? Check out Sun Valley Trail, the High Park Trails, or the Beltline to name a few. You can easily stay distanced from other hikers while enjoying some crisp winter air.

Grab your toboggan

Heading out to your local sledding hill doesn’t have to be reserved for your kids. If you’re young at heart, this is a great way to spend the day outdoors in Toronto! There are plenty of options to choose from — just be smart and stay safe while you’re out on your toboggan.

Need a dependable vehicle to get to all these activities this winter? Here at Downtown AutoGroup in Toronto, we have a wide range of models for you to choose from — whatever your needs and budget.

AWD or FWD: What’s The Best Choice for Your New SUV?

Toyota RAV4 AWD | Downtown AutoGroup | Toronto, ON
Toyota RAV4 AWD | Downtown AutoGroup | Toronto, ON

There’s no denying that winter in Toronto can be hard on drivers. But do you need all-wheel drive to thrive out on the snowy, icy roads? Here’s a look at whether AWD or FWD is the right option for your next SUV purchase.

All-Wheel Drive

A vehicle with all-wheel drive sends its power to every wheel. This allows the wheels to compensate when one starts to slip, giving you better traction out on the road. If you’re constantly driving in tough conditions, an AWD-equipped vehicle will give you the grip you need. There are multiple types of AWD systems, including a partial system that will only send power to all wheels when it needs it. This makes it more efficient than a typical full-time system.

Front-Wheel Drive

Front-wheel drive is a simpler system than all-wheel drive, making it easier and less expensive to maintain. Because this system is also lighter, FWD vehicles also tend to have better fuel economy. With FWD, your vehicle will be sending all of its power to the two front wheels. This gives these types of vehicles better traction when climbing hills and is even a good option for rainy conditions. Thanks to anti-lock braking and traction control, FWD vehicles can even take on snow, though they’re not as good at it as AWD rides are.

The upshot: AWD vehicles are best for traction in bad weather. However, FWD vehicles are plenty capable, too, and also more efficient. You can find great examples of both right here at Downtown Autogroup in Toronto, and our friendly sales staff will be glad to help you make the choice that’s best for your needs.

3 Winter Day Trips for Toronto Dwellers

Winter Day Trips | Toronto, ON

If you’re looking to get out of Toronto for some winter fun, there are so many day trips to consider. To help your decision easier, we’ve put together a list of things to do this winter near Toronto.

Take in natural beauty at Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Cold weather doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the great outdoors. Bundle up and head to the Crawford Lake Conservation Area. It’s the perfect place for a winter hike. Be sure to check out the meromictic lake, which is a rare lake type that has multiple layers of water that stay separate.

Get a unique glimpse of Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is a beautiful destination by itself, but did you know you can experience what it’s like behind the falls, too? Visit the Falls and opt for the Journey Behind the Falls experience. You can enjoy a close-up view of the waterfall and venture 125 feet down into 130-year-old tunnels.

Relax at a spa. Winter can be a stressful time. Relax this year with a visit to Scandinave Spa. The spa is known for its heated outdoor pools that allow you to enjoy the beauty of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment. Right now, it even has strict COVID protocols to keep your visit relaxing, and the spa is only a two-hour drive away from the city.

As you make your travel plans, be sure to elevate your peace of mind with a visit to a Downtown Autogroup location. We’ll provide your vehicle with the service it needs to run reliably for the whole trip.