Archive for December 2011

Mississauga Customer Detective Work

Posted December 29, 2011 12:00 PM

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. in Mississauga is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars in Ontario are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So, it's challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it's not something obvious, it's easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. introduce you to something we'll call 'Customer Detective Work' –  helping your technician find clues to what's wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me; You come in to Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. and your car is making a funny sound...

    • Q: Where's the sound?
    • A: Around the right front wheel.
    • Q: What kind of sound?
    • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
    • Q: When do you hear the sound?
    • A: When I turn and accelerate. 
  • Q: Right and left? Forward and back?

Do you see where we're going? You're gathering additional information to help your technician at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. know where to start. Based on your car and the tech's experience, he'll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says "making a funny noise."

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he's better able to make a diagnosis and repair and then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

Ask us for details.

Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.
1705 Argentia Road
Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9
905-821-4992



Maintenance Free Myth

Posted December 20, 2011 12:00 PM



Sometimes we hear people say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most folks don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize the importance of getting things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and budget. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on the highway and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been exchanged - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the Ontario safety inspection to renew his registration. At the inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the $45 bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a few bucks on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Mississauga service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was hard enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

We're talking about taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, your car runs better and is more economical to operate. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to your Oakville or Burlington service center for an inspection. Take care of unperformed maintenance sooner rather than later.



Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. On Your Serpentine Belt

Posted December 14, 2011 12:00 PM


 

Today we're going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Mississauga, Ontario, customers. Let's start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That's the device that makes electricity to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. Then there's the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Ontario in the summer.

The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Mississauga residents' vehicles. Those pumps provide pressure that assists your steering and braking.

In many vehicles, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Mississauga, Ontario, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.

The radiator cooling fans on some vehicles are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That's really a lot of work for one belt.

But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most, if not all, of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of work, but they're tough and can last for a long time.

Just how long will they last? That'll vary for each individual car in the Mississauga area. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. can detect a belt that's getting close to failing.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. service advisor can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that's more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it. Come see us.

Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.
1705 Argentia Road
Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9
905-821-4992



E-85 Fuel Safety Advice from Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.

Posted December 6, 2011 12:00 PM


 

Today at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You've probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Mississauga area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.

Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. at 1705 Argentia Road in Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9, to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 905-821-4992.

E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower exhaust emissions to our local Mississauga community.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol, and in fact a lot of gasoline sold in the Mississauga, Ontario, area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well-meaning residents without Flex Fuel certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.

At a 15% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.

You Mississauga auto owners can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. Ontario fire fighting experts caution drivers to only use E-85 if they know their vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.

Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.
1705 Argentia Road
Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9
905-821-4992

 



Keeping Your Mississauga Air Fresh When Driving With a Clean Cabin Air Filter

Posted December 2, 2011 12:00 PM

Pop quiz: What is a cabin air filter?

A. A filter for your Mississauga house?
B. A fresh, piney scent?
C. A filter for the passenger compartment of your car?

Clever you, it's C.

A cabin air filter cleans the outside air before it comes into the passenger compartment of your vehicle. It filters out common Ontario air particles like dust, pollen, spores, bacteria, pollutants, exhaust gas, odors and even sparrows.

These high tech filters can block particles larger than 3 microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

Not all Mississauga vehicles have cabin air filters. They are fairly new on the scene in Ontario. Last check, about 40 percent of new vehicles sold in Mississauga come with cabin air filters, but the number is growing every year.

Cabin air filters make driving a lot more pleasant for people in Mississauga. Your vehicle can be a haven during our Ontario allergy season with very little dust and pollen getting into the cabin. Of course, like all filters, the cabin air filter eventually gets clogged. When this happens, your heating and air conditioning flow can become restricted. The filter can even get kind of smelly.

Check your owner's manual for replacement guidelines. If your vehicle owner's manual doesn't mention your cabin air filter, ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. for a recommendation. It's usually every year or 12,000 miles /19,000 kilometers. Change it sooner if you drive in dusty conditions around the Mississauga area, or if you start to notice a funky smell coming from your vents.

The team at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. urges Mississauga drivers to keep their cabin air filter cleans. It may not help with your brother-in-law in the backseat, but it will make your driving experience around Mississauga more enjoyable.

Come by and we'll take a look at your cabin air filter for you.

Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.
1705 Argentia Road
Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9
905-821-4992

 




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