Answers to Many of Our Most Frequently Asked Automotive Questions

Which oil should I be using for my vehicle, conventional or synthetic?
For a modest increase in initial cost, synthetic oil promotes better performance and greater longevity for most vehicles. It also allows for performs more reliably during extreme cold or heat, also allowing for a longer driving interval before it needs to be replaced. Though the majority of the vehicles in Ontario can make do with conventional oil, we recommend synthetic oil for our climate conditions, especially for those used on the job or for heavy duty work. Remember, you can always switch back to conventional oil after trying synthetic, or even alternate depending on the season.
Rather than conventional motor oils, which are mineral-based and are processed from crude oil at a refinery, synthetic oils are man-made at a chemical plant. The elements that are required to create synthetic oils and the extra steps in creating them combine to create a higher production cost.
Each vehicle will differ slightly in this regard, which is why it is important to double check in your owner's manual. But for a general guideline, it is recommended to replace your fuel filter once a year in order to safely avoid any issues down the road. The fuel filter is especially important for vehicles with fuel-injected engines, as the filter removes dirt and other contaminants from the fuel that may otherwise end up in the carburetor.
When your check engine light comes on, it means that your car's computer diagnostic system has detected a fault in one of its sensors. This particular warning light covers dozens of different issues, some as innocuous as the gas cap not being properly secured. However, if your check engine light comes on, it's still recommended to come in for assessment immediately. Even a tiny leak or flaw detected early can quickly grow to something damaging and expensive over a short period of time. If your check engine light begins flashing, the issue is much more serious. Pull your vehicle to a safe area to park away from traffic, and call for a tow truck or roadside assistance. My car's performance has been reducing lately and I'm getting reduced fuel efficiency. What does this mean? Like with failing health, there are a number of factors that can lead to your vehicle losing its usual feel or performance levels. That's why a good general indicator of your vehicle's well-being is its engine's idle. Sometimes a gradual loss of performance just happens naturally over time; but most often it's a sign that one of the systems is damaged or dirty. From worn belts, clogged filters, or a dirty fuel system, it's best to bring your vehicle in for service before its condition worsens. Sudden drops in performance or fuel efficiency should be investigated immediately.
Each tire has a recommended air pressure level, which is listed along its sidewall. Tires that are underinflated become worn down in an uneven pattern, reducing its lifespan. They also suffer from reduced traction and fuel efficiency. Worse of all, tires that are either over- or underinflated have a greater likelihood of popping, which can be extremely hazardous if it happens while driving. As a general rule of thumb, it's recommended to check and adjust your tire pressure with every second gas station fill up.
Over time, moisture and other contaminants will infiltrate your A/C system, causing a reduction in its performance. It's normal to notice that the system that once blew very cold air has dropped from its peak level of chill, though this tends to occur gradually over time. We recommend an annual inspection to ensure everything remains in working order, while most systems are due for parts replacements after every five years or so. In cold weather climates like Ontario, where the A/C will not be in use for prolonged periods during the year, these timelines may vary greatly.
When reading through your owner's manual, you may notice many maintenance recommendations that are conditional if vehicle is operated in "severe" driving conditions. This may conjure up images of high-speed chases or ice road trucking, but what constitutes severe is in fact quite ordinary. In fact, in a cold weather climate like Canada, all vehicles will operate in what would be considered severe driving conditions.
  • Stop-and-go city traffic
  • Extremely hot or cold temperatures
  • Prolonged periods driving at high engine speeds
  • Extensive idling
  • Frequent cold-weather engine start ups and shut downs
  • Towing or hauling heavy loads
  • Dusty or muddy conditions
  • Mountainous terrain
To keep your vehicle in top running shape, bring it in for frequent service at the manufacturer recommended intervals.
Brake wear is fairly easy for technicians to inspect at a glance, which is why you may receive report of it included in most of your service visits. Most vehicles start to need brake replacement or maintenance services between about 40,000–50,000 km. However, excessive speeding up and braking or city driving can both reduce this interval.
Are you noticing that your vehicle wants to pull to one side or the other, even on evenly paved surfaces? This is usually the result of one or more of the same four culprits:
  • Low tire pressure
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Worn front-end parts
  • Crooked alignment (often resulting post-collision or from hitting a pot hole at a high speed)
Similarly, these are also the common causes of a vibrating steering wheel.
Many tires are now designed so that it's easy to tell when it's time for them to be replaced. If you notice any of the following signs, you may want to consider getting some new tires:
  • Uneven wear
  • Excessive cracking or bulging or the tire treads or sidewalls
  • Treads that are peeling away from the body of the tire
  • Treads no longer pass the penny test (less than 1/16 of an inch of tread depth remaining)
There are two simple ways to find out whether your vehicle is involved in an active recall: The great majority of recall notices are for defects or malfunctions that do not affect the safety or drivability of the vehicle, and as a result are not prominently advertised. It's always a good idea to double-check to see whether there is a recall issued for your vehicle, as you may be entitled to a cost-free repair or part replacement.
Do you suffer from asthma or allergies? Then chances are your vehicle offers no reprieve, where air is often six times as dirty as it is outside. The reason for this is that over the course of the year, dust, pollen, mold, and smog can enter a vehicle through the air ventilation systems. If you're used to driving on dirt roads, the effect can be even more severe. Cabin air filters act as an extra guard against airborne particulates, and we recommend to replace them once a year for best results. They may even reduce the amount of cleaning and dusting you'll need to do in your vehicle's interior during the summer months.