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Everything You Need To Know About Cars, Safety, And Being On The Road

Here’s a 10 Minute Road Trip Prep

Getting your car ready for a road trip can take as low as 10 minutes. Here is a quick road trip checklist in order to help ensure your vehicle’s safety and reliability for your travel:

  • Check all fluids like engine oil, power steering, brake, transmission, and antifreeze or coolant.
  • Check all the hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering in addition to the cooling system.
  • Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear. Get an alignment if needed.
  • Check all exterior and interior lights.
  • Check the wiper blades and ensure the windshield wipers are working properly. Keep the reservoir full of solvent.

This quick pre-trip inspection will help in reducing your chances of costly and potentially dangerous road trouble. Drive safe and enjoy your summer road trip!

Oil And Filter Service

We cannot stress how important it is to give your car scheduled oil changes! As your car’s engine starts running, all its moving parts slowly heat up. This heat breaks down the oil, causing it to lose its lubricating efficacy over time. Eventually, your vehicle’s oil turns into a sludge-like substance, clogging up passages and causing damage to your engine. Regularly changing the oil ensures optimal functioning of your engine and keep it cool by reducing friction and heat. If you can’t remember the last time when you changed your vehicle’s oil, contact the Beetle Spa team for an immediate service!

Fix your windshield. In cities where sand and rocks are used on icy roads, motorists often end up with chips and cracks in their windshields. Although these may not appear like a big deal, any damage to your windshield can decrease the overall effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your personal safety in case of an accident. If your windshield has a crack, it is essential to have it repaired or replaced immediately.
Replace your wiper blades. If they’re torn or cracked your wiper blades won’t do you much good during unrelenting spring showers when visibility is reduced.
Lubricate your chassis parts. Many newer cars are “lubed-for-life,” but some still require regular chassis lubrication so check your owner’s manual. Replacement steering and suspension components may also require periodic lubrication.
Check your lighting. Check all exterior and interior lighting to identify any problems. When your vehicle’s lighting is defective, other motorists may not get the message that you intend to stop or turn. The end result might be disastrous.
Check your belts and hoses. Cold temperatures can harden and/or damage rubber, so it is essential to check your belts and hoses for damage. Check your hoses for hardening, softening, leaking, cracks, blistering, or other visual damage, and check your belts for looseness, cracks, frays, or glazing. If you need to replace one of your belts, you may also need to replace the tensioner and pulleys to keep the new belt from slipping.
Check your tires. Your tires are the only point of contact between you and road, so it is essential to look after them. Check the pressure of all your tires (including the spare) monthly, and maintain the optimal pressure recommended in your owner’s manual. Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and for cuts or bruises on the sidewalls. Rotate your tires every 10,000 kilometers, and replace them if they are worn or damaged.
Check your fluids. When you change your oil and oil filter, you should also check your fluids. Check your power steering, brake, and transmission fluids; your windshield washer fluid; and your coolant. If the levels are low, top them up, and flush/replace them as recommended in your owner’s manual. Bear in mind that your power steering, brake, and coolant systems are closed, so low fluid levels may indicate a leak.
Check your charging system. Cold temperatures may do a number on your battery, so now is a great time to have it tested. You should also check to ensure sure that your battery is securely mounted and that the connections are clean, tight, and corrosion free. If your battery is greater than five years old, you should consider having it replaced.
Change your oil and oil filter. Changing your oil and oil filter at the intervals recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual is among the best ways to keep the engine running trouble free. Neglecting to replace engine oil can lead to poor engine performance, higher fuel consumption as well as severe engine damage.
Check your filters. Your car has a variety of filters that are essential to its longevity and should be replaced regularly. Check your engine air filter, your cabin air filter, and your fuel filter for damage or clogging and replace them if necessary.
Make vehicle maintenance a priority this spring to protect yourself and prolong the life of your vehicle!

Is Your Car Summer Ready

Summer means sweltering heat. As you walk down the street, you’ll notice that you need to adapt to keep cool. You sweat, consuming gallons of water to monitor your perspiration. You wear sunglasses to keep those harmful UV rays away from your eyes. You use some of those mister fans to keep your face cool (although the rest of your body is far from comfortable). And you consider taking a plunge into every fountain that you go by. You need to work to keep cool.

Now, when you’re in your car, your air conditioner does all the work for you; and unfortunately, your car needs to work overtime to keep you cool. And as the AC clicks on, you’re pulling more power from the engine, producing more heat, and demanding more from your radiator. As those temps kick past 100 degrees, you’re stacking all the cards against your vehicle. That’s why it’s so important to give your car some care during the hottest months of the year. So let’s talk shop. Here are our tips for summer car maintenance:

Summer can cause your vehicle to spring a leak. Temperature changes can cause hoses and components to expand and contract throughout your engine, which can cause a leak. Keep a keen eye on your car throughout the summer, and check underneath your vehicle for any leaks. Keep in mind, your air conditioner will collect condensation if you turn it on during a hot day– which’s totally normal! Search for oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and radiator fluid leaks.

If you have snow tires on your car still, it’s definitely time to swap them out. Your snow tires actually hinder the performance of your vehicle on dry summer roads, and driving on snow tires in summer conditions can actually burn through the tread on your tires. Why? Well, snow tires are usually outfitted with a softer rubber tread that’s designed to hold on to ice and snow. Normal tires have a tread that’s made from hard rubber that can handle hot, textured road surfaces. Remember, there’s a reason why winter tires are called winter tires.

You never know when your car is wanting to quit on you. So, it’s best to get prepared for catastrophe. Make sure to gather a few emergency supplies to keep your car mobile. At the minimum, keep some radiator fluid in your trunk (AKA coolant, AKA antifreeze). Ensure to purchase a jug that’s labeled 50/50 (this is premixed fluid), or, if you purchase concentrated coolant, keep a jug of water in the vehicle too. Keep in mind, you’ll need to mix the concentrated stuff before you pour it into your radiator. Also, take a moment to check your spare tire (if you have one!). Ensure that your tire is pressurized to the proper psi. The recommended psi should be located on the sidewall of the spare tire, the door sticker of your car, and/or the owner’s manual.

Your battery may be in high demand throughout the summer. And you’ll wish to ensure that your battery is working as it should, otherwise you may be stuck getting a jump from a stranger. Your mechanic will have a voltage meter to ensure sure that your battery can hold a charge. You can also ensure that your battery leads aren’t corroded. If you have corroded connection points, you can clean them yourself (take caution, car batteries are dangerous!) or have your mechanic provide a scrub.

How is your air conditioner performing? If your AC isn’t cutting it, you may have an issue with the fan (or fans) that pump air into your car, or you may have a problem with the air conditioner itself. You should have the ability to hear the fan when you turn your AC on. You may also have a loose hose which feeds cool air from your AC to the vents. Or you may have poor seals on your AC system.

Your oil lubricates your engine, and it keeps your engine cool, as we mentioned before. Like your radiator fluid, your engine oil can collect contaminants in time. That’s why it’s necessary to have your oil changed regularly. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations for oil change frequency. For most vehicles, it’s best practice to have an oil change every three months or every 3,000 miles.

If oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, your radiator fluid is, well, also the lifeblood of your vehicle. Both your engine oil and your radiator fluid work to keep your engine from overheating. Overheating an engine can cause irrevocable damage, and it’ll likely suffice damage to destroy your engine and total your car. So, take an easy step to protect your engine. Give your radiator a check. Have your radiator inspected, and have the fluid topped off or flushed. A radiator flush completely purges your radiator system of old fluid, which may contain rust and scale deposits, in addition to other contaminants.

Common Radiator Questions

Your radiator is essential for maintaining a safe operating temperature in your engine. Without a radiator, a running engine can overheat to the point where parts fuse and break, which can completely total your engine. So, simply put, it’s crucial to maintain your radiator to ensure that your engine is appropriately cooled. So let’s get down to brass tacks about your radiator. Here are the answers you need for the radiator questions you might ask:


Radiator flushes should be performed regularly, although they don’t have to be performed with the same frequency as an oil change. The frequency at which you should change your radiator fluid depends largely on the kind of vehicle you are operating.

Radiators protect your vehicle, so a problem may put your vehicle out of commission. Don’t drive your auto with an overheated engine; bear in mind the temperature gauge as you drive– do not let it reach the red portion of the gage. That said, there are a variety of issues that can cause your radiator to malfunction and your engine to overheat. Here’s our list.
Bad Hoses: If you have hoses that are leaking or kinked, your radiator may overheat. Low levels of fluid will cause a temperature spike, and reduced flow will do the same. Again, this is a relatively inexpensive repair. You may have the ability to see kinked or leaky hoses. Have a look at dripping radiator fluid if you suspect that you have a bad hose. You may also notice an odor and steam if your fluid is leaking onto the engine.
Cracked Radiator: If your radiator has cracked, you’ll have to replace it. This is a more expensive fix since the entire radiator will have to be removed, replaced, and installed. A cracked radiator will also leak, which will cause overheating. You may see steam and smell radiator fluid once your radiator cracks.
Bad Temperature Gage: Your temperature gauge should be accurate. If you have a gage that doesn’t show any heat in the engine (after running the engine for 10 minutes), it’s likely that your temperature gauge is broken. Your gage may also get stuck showing a high temperature. Regardless, you’ll have to fix the gage to ensure that you can monitor your engine temperature in the future. Take your vehicle to your mechanic for a replacement; this is a relatively inexpensive fix.
Fluid Obstructions: Whether brought on by particles or pinched pipes, an obstruction within your radiator line can damage your pump and cause the coolant to seize. Your engine can release various particles as it runs, and these particles can make your radiator fluid more viscous. Eventually, with enough build-up, your radiator can malfunction and cannot cool your engine.
Bubbles in the Line: A radiator line should be without bubbles. Air actually reduces the efficiency of your radiator. You may need to have your radiator line bled if you have air pockets throughout the line. This procedure is not expensive.
Bad Fan: Your radiator depends on a fan to pull air through your radiator fins (which cool the fluid). If you have a broken fan, your vehicle is more prone to overheat. You may notice that your vehicle overheats while idling, yet it remains cool when you reach higher speeds (since the airflow triggered by these speeds suffices to cool the radiator fluid). The cost of replacing a radiator fan corresponds to the cost of replacing a broken water pump.
Broken Water Pump: If your pump isn’t working, the fluid won’t flow as needed. Instead, cool antifreeze will remain in the radiator, while hot antifreeze remains in the engine. Once more, your engine will overheat. Replacing a broken water pump will usually cost between 300 and 750 dollars, because of the amount of labor necessary to remove and replace the pump.
Your radiator is full of fluid, called antifreeze or radiator fluid, which aids in cooling your vehicle’s engine. The coolant cycles through the radiator and engine. When heated fluid reaches the radiator, it cools off, and as it moves through the engine, it heats up again and the cycle continues. Gradually, radiator fluid breaks down, which means that it loses its cooling capability. Fortunately, vehicles can operate on the same radiator fluid for many years at a time, and for thousands of miles.

How to Take Care of Your Car During Summer

Before hitting the road this summer, you can take several simple precautions to keep your family safe and save money at the pump. Extreme heat and long drives may be tough on cars. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, underinflated tires and dirty filters can significantly lower your fuel efficiency, or worse, result in a total breakdown.
Check the following vehicle components periodically during summer in order to help avoid breakdowns and car problems:
  1. Check the electrical system to ensure sure it is charging correctly by checking the battery terminals.
  2. Make sure to perform a pressure test, thermostat test, cooling fan test and visual inspection for leaks and corrosion annually.
  3. Check hoses and drive belts for cracks, bulges or frayed edges.
  1. Keep the radiator clean by utilizing a garden hose and soft brush to remove bugs, dirt, and debris.
  2. High temperatures put added stress on tires in the summer. Check the tire condition and inflation pressure monthly,
  3. And remember the exterior of the vehicle. Wash your vehicle weekly to protect the paint and finish, and wax every six months.

Preparation is a key to handling the harsh summer heat. Following these simple tips will help your vehicle to perform its best this summer. Not only will you and your vehicle be better prepared to survive the heat, but you’ll also take advantage of your summer by enjoying the freedom that a well-cared-for car can offer.

How to Protect Your Car From Pothole Damage

If you do hit a pothole, take a minute or two, as soon as it is safe to do so, to visually inspect your vehicle and make special note of any damage to the tires. If you see any damage or seem like your vehicle just isn’t driving the way it normally does, visit your local automotive service provider for a quick inspection.
  • Your steering will pull to either the right or the left– this is your alignment and is needed for vehicle handling and proper tire use.
  • If you feel as if your vehicle is swaying left to right, especially when turning corners, or is bouncing/bottoming out, your suspension may have been compromised. This kind of damage could affect anything from your shocks, struts and ball joints to your steering rack, bearings, seals and tie rods.
  • Visually inspect your tires searching for cuts or bulge along the rubber. Try to find bends or cracks in the rims. This kind of damage may seem superficial but could, at higher speeds, cause a blowout.

While their presence can’t be avoided there are a few things you may do that can help your car make it through this unofficial season unharmed.

  • Listen– potholes can appear very quickly especially after a rainfall and a short freeze/thaw cycle. Drive the speed limit and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Check your tire pressure. Keeping your tires (all four) at the recommended PSI will help cushion a portion of the impact. Proper PSI will also assist with traction in the event of a sudden stop, like the vehicle in front of you swerving to avoid a pothole.
  • Aim to avoid erratic swerving as your sudden movement could cause you to hit another vehicle. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to swerve dangerously in front of you, keep your vehicle under control at all times.
  • If hitting a pothole is inevitable, don’t slam on the brakes. You will force the weight of your car FORWARD, and DOWN into the pothole, causing a lot more damage.

How do you know you’ve damaged your vehicle?
Potholes are an inevitable aspect of living in a multi-season environment in which the majority of Canada experiences. For instance, Toronto repairs typically 200,000 potholes a year. Cities with warmer annual temperatures like Vancouver repair typically 32,000 potholes a year. Spring is usually when we see our first crop of these lovely hazards but sometimes they appear sooner especially during milder winters.

How to Be Environmentally Friendly When Fixing Your Car

As we tackle our daily routines, a lot of us consciously make small decisions that we understand to make a big difference to our environment, like recycling or switching off lights when we leave the room. Every little bit counts but did you know this is especially true when it concerns our vehicles, which emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) when burning fuel?
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, automobile and light‐duty trucks produce 13 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Canada and the average light‐duty vehicle produces roughly three times its weight in CO2 each year. That amounts to a lot of emissions in a vehicle’s lifetime. Fortunately, there are some things you should do throughout the life cycle of your vehicle to reduce its carbon footprint:

Buy smart!
  1. When purchasing a new vehicle, do your research. Along with considering size, style, and cost when buying, consider the gas mileage and “green” features of a vehicle. Buying a more eco-friendly car will not only help in reducing your GHG emissions, it will also help you save money.
    Don’t be hasty!

    Believe it or not, your driving behavior has a big effect on your GHG emissions. Aggressive driving can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent and speeding increases the amount of gas you use by as much as 23 percent. By slowing down and driving less aggressively, you can significantly reduce your CO2 emissions and stay safer when driving.

    Part Replacement– the Ultimate Opportunity to Reuse!
    Gradually, parts wear out and will need to be replaced, and in a lot of cases, you can buy remanufactured parts instead of new. Remanufactured parts work equally as well as new parts, but have the tendency to be cheaper and are better for the environment because less energy and resources are required to produce them.
    Maintenance saves money!

    Paying way too much at the pump? Simple vehicle maintenance like keeping your tires inflated properly can save you as much as 4 percent on fuel and fixing serious mechanical problems can save you as much as 40 percent. All of that and you are reducing your vehicle’s CO2 output!
    So why not make a new commitment to reduce, reuse, recycle and repair?

Have questions in mind?