Archive for March 2012

Risk of Extended Oil Change Intervals

Posted March 29, 2012 12:00 PM



Nothing in your engine workers harder than your oil. With hundreds of moving parts, and thousands of explosions every minute, it's no wonder that engine oil needs to be changed frequently!

You've probably heard the old rule of thumb: Change your oil every 3,000 miles/ 5,000 kilometers or 3 months, whichever comes first. But some car manufacturers have introduced extended oil change intervals. They figure that a modern vehicle driven under the right conditions can go for 5,000 miles/8000 kilometers or more between an oil change.

The key phrase here is "under the right conditions". If you look at your owner's manual, you'll see two different maintenance schedules: one for "normal" driving conditions and one for "Severe Service". Severe service driving conditions include stop and go, short trips, towing, hauling, hot, cold, and dusty driving. That's why at AutoNetTV we often refer you to the severe service schedule in your owners' manual, because, for most of us Ontario car owners, that's the way we use our vehicles in everyday life.

Recently, four of the largest auto manufacturers in the world have extended engine warranty coverage for engine damage caused by oil sludge resulting from longer oil change intervals. They found that real-world conditions require more frequent oil changes than the 7,500mi/12,000 km interval they were recommending. They subsequently recommended more frequent oil change intervals and proof of timely oil changes in order to qualify for the extended warranty.

Oil sludge is the culprit. Sludge is oil that has turned to a thick, jelly-like consistency. Sludge can block passages in the engine, preventing oil from lubricating vital engine parts. Parts wear more quickly and may fail prematurely.

Sludge is caused by several factors. The first one is simply - time. The engine oil is contaminated by exhaust gas that eventually leads to sludge. That is where the recommendation to change your oil at least every three months comes from. Sludge can also come from oil that gets contaminated by water from normal condensation. A few minutes of driving at Ontario freeway speeds allows the oil to heat up enough for the water to evaporate. The problem is we often run errands or take other short trips that don't allow the engine to warm up enough for the water to evaporate. This is especially true in winter. Sludge also forms when the engine gets too hot, causing the oil to breakdown. Stop and go summer driving, towing and hauling are all prime conditions for creating harmful sludge. And every engine has hot spots that create sludge.

Given all of these factors, estimating when to change your oil is pretty complicated. A couple of manufacturers have computer programs built into their vehicles that record the number of cold starts, how many times the cylinders fire, engine temperature and other factors. From that, the computer estimates when you should change your oil and flashes a warning. But what if you do not have a vehicle with this feature? How do you know when to change your oil? We're not sure you really can. Which is why it is better to be safe than sorry. 3,000 mi/5,000 km or three months - whichever comes first - talk with a service advisor at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. in Mississauga and see if that's a good recommendation for the way you drive.



Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Posted March 20, 2012 12:00 PM

Bad air quality while you're driving around Mississauga is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they're fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don't know about them yet.

These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as three microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So your cabin air filter can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd., but they typically need to be replaced at around 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000-24,000 kilometers).

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you'll want to have Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don't realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.

Mississauga residents who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you're one of them, you'll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course if you do a lot of driving around the Mississauga area in dusty or polluted conditions, you'll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

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



Deciphering the Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. Menu Board

Posted March 16, 2012 12:00 PM

Let's talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Mississauga, Ontario, service centers like Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don't know what these services really are unless they ask. Let's go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.

Feel free at any time to give Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. a call at 905-821-4992 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Mississauga, Ontario auto center at 1705 Argentia Road, L5N 3A9.

First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles/kilometers the service should be done.

Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.

Alignment. Service centers like Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.

Battery service. Service centers like Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery's ability to hold a charge. If the battery's still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.

Brake service. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.

The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often overlooked.

Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed often.

Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.

Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don't require service very often, so people don't think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.

Engine air filter. This filters the air that's burned in the engine. It also gets dirty and needs to be replaced often.

Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it too gets clogged and needs to be replaced in order to maintain good flow.

Give us a call.

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





Shocks and Struts For Mississauga Bumps and Bounces

Posted March 6, 2012 12:00 PM



If you're like most of us in Mississauga, you want your car to handle well. That's the job of your suspension system.

There are different types of suspension systems, but they all work on the same basic principles. First, there are the springs, which bear the weight of the car. The most common springs are coil or leaf - although we see air springs and torsion bars more often. The springs do most of the work.

Visit our Mississauga location for an inspection of your suspension.
Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.
1705 Argentia Road - Unit 4
Mississauga, Ontario L5N 3A9
905-821-4992

But if all you had were springs, your vehicle would be bouncing around like a bobble head. That's where the shocks come in. They control the rebound of the springs and smooth out the up and down motions. They also keep the tires on the road, and you in control. Some sedan s use struts. Struts are a combination of shocks and springs, together in a more compact system.

Shocks wear out slowly over time, so it's hard to notice when they get badly worn. One way to tell is to look for an uneven, cupping wear on your tires. If the shock or strut is leaking fluid, it needs to be replaced. If your car feels floaty in turns or if the front end dips a lot when you stop, it is time to get your shocks checked. Your owners' manual will tell you when your shocks should be changed - it's usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles or 24,000 and 50,000 kilometers .

When you replace a shock, be sure to replace all four. Then your car will have an even suspension and will handle much better. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive. No, not your traffic violations, but how often you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in rough terrain. If you do a bunch of that, you'll need a heavy duty shock.

Regular shocks use hydraulic fluid and air as their dampening system. Premium quality shocks and struts use compressed nitrogen gas instead of air. Gas shocks don't get air bubbles that affect the performance of regular shocks. If you do a lot of high performance driving, off-roading or just want added comfort and control, think about getting premium gas shocks or struts.

Replacing your struts may take your car out of alignment, so be sure to get an alignment at the same time. So, to smooth out the bumps on the road of life, change your shocks and struts when they need it.



Economics of Maintenance for Mississauga Auto Owners

Posted March 2, 2012 12:00 PM

Buying a new car in Mississauga is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?

People in Mississauga who've been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?

For purposes of our discussion, let's assume you live right here in Mississauga and have a five year old vehicle. It's now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there'll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don't know what to expect. For help we turned to maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They're able to use manufacturer's maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.

Of course, these projections can't predict what will happen to your vehicle in Mississauga, but they do give you information to use in your decision.

Let's look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.

So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it's actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.

Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Mississauga:

  • Ford Escape - $116 a month
  • Chevy Silverado - $131 a month
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee - $138 a month
  • Hyundai Accent - $85 a month.

Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Mississauga service advisor at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there's any particular problem in common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.

And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.

There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.

We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.

Give us a call if you have any questions.

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




Search


Archive

August 2011 (16)
September 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
November 2011 (4)
December 2011 (5)
January 2012 (4)
February 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
June 2012 (4)
July 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
September 2012 (4)
October 2012 (5)
November 2012 (4)
December 2012 (4)
January 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
May 2013 (5)
June 2013 (3)
July 2013 (5)
August 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
October 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
December 2013 (4)
January 2014 (5)
February 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
April 2014 (4)
May 2014 (4)
June 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
August 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
October 2014 (5)
November 2014 (4)
December 2014 (4)
January 2015 (5)
February 2015 (4)
March 2015 (5)
April 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
June 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
August 2015 (4)
September 2015 (4)
October 2015 (5)
November 2015 (3)
December 2015 (3)
February 2016 (1)
March 2016 (5)
April 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
June 2016 (4)
July 2016 (4)
August 2016 (5)
September 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
November 2016 (5)
December 2016 (4)
January 2017 (5)
February 2017 (4)
March 2017 (4)
April 2017 (3)
May 2017 (5)
June 2017 (3)

Categories

Air Conditioning (9)
Alignment (10)
Alternator (1)
Auto Safety (1)
Automotive News (7)
Battery (7)
Brakes (8)
Cabin Air Filter (5)
Check Engine Light (1)
Cooling System (10)
Dashboard (2)
Diagnostics (3)
Diesel Maintenance (1)
Differential Service (2)
Drive Train (6)
Emergency Items (1)
Engine Air Filter (1)
Exhaust (6)
Fluids (13)
Fuel Economy (4)
Fuel System (41)
Headlamps (3)
Inspection (6)
Keys to a long lasting vehicle (2)
Maintenance (45)
Monitoring System (3)
Older Vehicles (3)
Parts (10)
Safety (2)
Serpentine Belt (2)
Service Intervals (8)
Service Standards (10)
Shocks & Struts (6)
Steering (8)
Suspension (1)
Timing Belt (5)
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (1)
Tire Rotation and Balancing (1)
Tires and Wheels (36)
Transmission (6)
Warranty (2)
Windshield Wipers (5)