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.

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.

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.

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.

The Benefits of Winter Tires

Benefits of Winter Tires | Toronto, ON

Winter roads in Toronto are nothing to laugh at. From snow to ice, ensuring your vehicle can handle the slippery road ahead can be difficult. That’s where winter tires come in. Winter tires are a great way to improve your safety on the road when the weather gets colder. Here are some of the ways winter tires are designed to protect you.  

Built For Cold Weather

Unlike all-season tires, winter tires were created with a special rubber compound that can put up with extremely cold temperatures. While all-season tires stiffen as temperatures get colder, winter tires stay flexible, helping them to grip the pavement more effectively.

Unique Tread Depth & Patterns

Deeper treads and unique tread patterns work together to increase the traction of winter tires. The special tread patterns channel snow and slush away from the centre of the tire, while also expelling water. Deep treads reduce snow buildup in the treads, allowing them to give you more control.

Increased Biting Edges

The edge of your tires has tiny ridges, called biting edges. These features can help provide traction on slick ice, so winter tires increase the number of these biting edges to provide better traction on icy roads.

Now that there’s a chill in the air, you’re invited to stop in soon at one of our Downtown Autogroup locations in Toronto to learn more about winter tires or have them installed on your vehicle.

Toronto Sights to Safely See Now

Safe Toronto Sights | Toronto, ON

If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the best of Toronto’s many sights, it’s possible to do so safely. Consider these sightseeing options that will allow you to enjoy the city without stress.

Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari

If your family has been missing its regular visits to Toronto Zoo, then the Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari is for you. This zoo tour allows you to see all of the animals you love without leaving your vehicle. Traverse the staff-only roads that are throughout the zoo with your very own zookeeper, who will tell you everything you want to know about the animals. You can even go through the Lion Cave and see the lions up close and personal.

Virtual Toronto Tour

Discover the city you love without having to leave your house. This virtual tour of Toronto from Air Pano gives you the chance to check out what the city has to offer from a bird’s-eye view. Scan the harbour, check out the skyline, and explore the parks — all while sitting on your couch. It’s such a great opportunity to see everything the city has to offer and even learn some interesting facts while doing so.

Here at Downtown Autogroup, we love our city and hope you’ll take the opportunity to enjoy some of its best sights in a safe, socially distanced way.

3 Tips for Driving Safely in Hot Weather

Driving Safely in Hot Weather | Toronto, ON

Summer’s high temperatures can affect conditions on the road and under your hood. That’s why Downtown Autogroup has put together these tips for driving safely in hot weather.

Keep an eye on your fluids. Your vehicle needs various types of fluids to run, and it’s a good idea to make sure they’re at the recommended levels before the weather gets too hot. Fluids to check include your coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid.

Check your battery. Make sure your battery is in tip-top condition, since high temperatures can affect the way it works. Get a test to see if your battery is performance well, and, if your battery is too old, consider replacing it.

Remember, interior temperatures heat up fast. When it’s hot out, the interior of your car will get hot, too. Because of this, it’s important to remember some child safety tips along with driving safety. Don’t leave children in the car for any reason, even with the windows down. Also, teach your children not to play in, on, or around vehicles. Finally, make sure you check the temperature of your child’s car seat before you put them in the vehicle. If the seat is too hot, it can harm your child’s skin.

Need help prepping your vehicle for summer? Get in touch with one of our service departments at the Downtown Autogroup in Toronto.

Important Summer Safety Items for Your Vehicle

Important Summer Safety Items for Your Vehicle | Toronto, ON

Summer is a great time of the year to head out of Toronto and explore the great outdoors surrounding our city. If you’re planning on heading out for a weekend adventure, though, you should consider your family’s safety. Pack up these important summer safety items in your vehicle to give yourself peace of mind on the go.

Portable Car Battery Charger

Getting stuck with a car that won’t start due to a dead battery is no fun, especially if you’re out in the wilderness or far from the city. Make sure you always have jumper cables or a portable car battery charger. The portable chargers sometimes come with accessories like USB ports to help you charge your mobile phone, too.

Spare Tire

If you find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, it’s always handy to have a spare tire in the trunk to help you get to the nearest garage or to Downtown Autogroup, where we can help you get fitted with a new tire.

Emergency Supplies

You never know when an emergency might occur. Be prepared for anything with some emergency supplies. These should include a sun shelter, portable phone charger, first aid kit, road safety triangles, a multi-purpose tool, and water and snacks in case you’re waiting for a while.

For more suggestions on summer safety items to keep in your vehicle, or for service to help you drive more confidently, contact one of our service departments at Downtown Autogroup.

4 Tips to Help You Sanitize Your Car

4 Tips to Help You Sanitize Your Car | Toronto, ON

A clean car can help give you peace of mind in an uncertain time. If you’re wondering how you can make sure your car is clear of any pesky germs — and make it look and smell like new — then you should consider these tips on how to sanitize your car.

Put on gloves. Gloves will not only help protect your hands from any harsh cleaning chemicals you may use, but they will also help prevent the spread of germs. Make sure you wear gloves before you begin cleaning, but remember not to touch anything but your car and cleaning supplies while you’re wearing them — and dispose of them as soon as you’re finished.

Scrub hard surfaces. Scrub down the hard surfaces of your car’s interior with either disinfectant wipes or warm, soapy water. Also, don’t forget to clean germy hotspots like your interior and exterior door handles, steering wheel, and parking brake — basically anywhere you’ve touched or that may have been sneezed or coughed on.

Clean soft surfaces. Your car’s carpets, seats, and other soft surfaces can absorb dirt and germs easily. Depending on the type of upholstery your car has, use a leather cleaner, vehicle carpet cleaner, or upholstery shampoo to give everything a deep clean.

Practice prevention. When your car is cleaned, make sure you take necessary precaution from bringing unwanted germs into the cabin. Use hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol content and regularly wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes.

For further sanitizing advice or assistance for your specific vehicle, get in touch with one of our service departments at Downtown Autogroup in Toronto.