Archive for July 2015

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. in Mississauga

Posted July 29, 2015 12:00 PM


Most Ontario auto owners know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it important for Mississauga area drivers to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Mississauga folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won't know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good vehicle care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your vehicle air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system's parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a practice that will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Mississauga days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner's manual for the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.

Here's a good piece of advice from Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. for Ontario vehicle owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won't dry out during cold Mississauga weather.

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



Tire Tread Depth for Mississauga, Ontario Drivers

Posted July 24, 2015 12:00 PM

Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don't have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider 2/32 of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider 1/32 to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd.; (just call 905-821-4992) to find out what your requirements are in the Mississauga, Ontario, area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there's just 2/32 inch/1.6 mm of tread left. But does that older standard give Mississauga vehicles enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32 inch/3.2 mm. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Mississauga vehicles also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it's wet or snowy in Mississauga, Ontario, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you're driving in Mississauga over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a condition known as hydroplaning. When there's not enough tread depth on a tire, it can't move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Mississauga drivers will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph/112 kph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32 inch/3.2 mm of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph/89 kph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That's a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile (.16 km)  of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Mississauga drivers follow that far behind the vehicle ahead? Obviously, this is a big safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do people in Mississauga know when their tires are at 4/32 inch/3.2 mm? Well, it's pretty easy. Just insert an American quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn't cover George Washington's hairline, it's time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But an American penny gives you 2/32 inch/1.6 mm to Abraham Lincoln's head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32 inch/3.2 mm.

Tires are a big ticket item, and most people in Mississauga, Ontario, want to get thousands of miles/kilometers out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. in Mississauga.

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



On Board Diagnostics for Mississauga Motorists

Posted July 22, 2015 12:00 PM

Some Mississauga vehicle owners wonder why Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. and other Mississauga auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.

Receiving a diagnostic charge at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. for a tricky automotive problem shouldn't be a surprise. In the Mississauga area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy Ontario road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you're having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, however, a Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Mississauga driver's confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There's a common misconception among Ontario drivers that the trouble code tells the Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. technician exactly what's wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that's out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.

The vehicle computer's trouble code just tells the Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what's causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that's causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Mississauga service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These  databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Of course Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. wants to figure out what's wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

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



Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Mississauga

Posted July 9, 2015 12:00 PM

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Mississauga residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Mississauga area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your preventive maintenance. The owner's manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in Ontario is particularly dirty or if you're prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.


Your friendly service advisor at Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Mississauga area. They're the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Mississauga residents can usually find them in the vehicle engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists Ltd. and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer vehicle, it's good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your vehicle will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Mississauga drivers discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy and stay on the road in Ontario.

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



Maintaining Your Diesel in Mississauga

Posted July 1, 2015 12:00 PM

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Mississauga area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Mississauga diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in Ontario because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in Ontario as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Ontario, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Mississauga drivers dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around Ontario, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Mississauga people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in Ontario. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Mississauga. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in Ontario, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Ontario drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Mississauga area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in Ontario becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Mississauga are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Mississauga auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

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




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