Thank you to Christine from CT&G Automotive Specialists and Sandra from the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre for hosting the Car Care Clinic tonight. It was an excellent learning opportunity for women to feel more confident talking to their mechanic.
If you weren’t able to make it, these are the top 10 things every woman should know about their car.
10. The hype about nitrogen in tires.
As of 2008, the government required all light duty vehicles sold to be equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems. This created chaos at dealerships every time the weather changed. Air expands and contracts with temperature changes, causing tire pressure monitor lights to illuminate and customers to panic. Nitrogen does not change pressure as the temperature varies, solving this seasonal problem. There will be no harm done to your vehicle if regular air is added to tires previously filled with nitrogen. Tires filled with air can be easily adjusted with the seasons if you don’t want to shell out the extra money for nitrogen, this could cost over $50.00!!
9. Don’t leave your pre-trip inspection to the last minute!
Driving up north for a couple weeks? Going down south for the winter? Don’t leave your pre-trip inspection to the last minute; you may have to delay your vacation because of vehicle repairs! When you bring your vehicle to a shop for a pre-trip inspection, a good technician will test all the safety features of your vehicle. Also, they should thoroughly look at maintenance items to make certain they will last the length of your trip; spark plugs, belts, and fluids. Unless you are incredibly detail oriented when it comes to the maintenance of your vehicle, it is likely that you will need a repair done to your vehicle before you leave. This may take up to a day or two, depending on the availability of your vehicle parts, so plan ahead.
8. YouTube and Google are very useful tools!
Ever had a mechanic or service writer tell you that your car needed something that you had no idea existed? Ever feared that they were just making up a word and attaching a rather large price tag to said word? Look it up!!! Over the past 8-10 years, the internet has exploded with consumers sharing their experiences with all sorts of products, including vehicles and repairs. Search the recommended repair and see what comes up. Keep in mind, not everything on the Internet is true, therefore take the time to read numerous write ups before you make your final decision.
7. Your owners’ manual contains a lot of practical information!
Every manufacturer has a different idea as to when maintenance should be performed. Each manufacturer is unique with what type of oil, fuel, coolant, etc. they endorse in their vehicles as well. Use your owners’ manual to help you prepare for expenses related to your vehicle. Timing belts, transmission services and tune ups are among the more expensive items you will be faced with down the road.
6. Winter tires actually do make a difference.
I’m sure that most of us have been stuck in a snow bank or even some deep snow, some of us have hit a patch of black ice and had the sin scared out of us (if we were lucky!) and we have all watched on as other drivers plowed through as though there was no snow. Snow tires have come a very long way over the past decade. They are engineered to stick to the road, keep your car going in the right direction on ice, and muscle through small snow banks. Snow tires are made of a softer rubber compound than all season or summer tires, this helps when the temperatures drop to bone chilling cold. Summer tires become hard, much like a hockey puck, while winter tires will remain softer. Winter tires also have siping in their tread. This is just small cuts all over the tread to allow the tire to stick to ice and snow. Think of it this way, you are on a slab of ice, one foot is bare, while the other has a sock on it. The foot with the sock will stick to the ice, while the foot with no sock will be sliding all over the place. This is very similar to winter tires (socked foot) and summer tires (bare foot).
5. Your car should not squeak, clunk, shimmy or grind!!!
Pay attention to the noises that your car is making, as well as any sort of vibrations that happen at different times. These are all signs that something is not quite right with your car. Paying attention to these issues and having them addressed could save your life and the lives of other motorists as well as pedestrians. Make sure you know when the noise occurs. Is it at a certain speed? When you’re braking? When the car is idling, going over bumps, cornering or reversing? This will help your mechanic pin-point the issue to repair it more efficiently.
4. Tires should be rotated.
Tire manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 10,000km, which works out to roughly every second oil change. By rotating your tires, you are increasing the-life span of your tires. Tires are expensive, so maintain them!
3. The lights on your dash board mean something!!!!
The lights on your dashboard are there for an important reason: to keep you safe while on the road!! Pay close attention to these lights. Even that pesky check engine light that “has been on ever since I bought the car” is now more important than before. If a vehicle has a check engine light on, it will no longer pass the emission test in Ontario. If your ABS (anti-locking brake system) or air bag warning light(s) are on, this means that these systems will no longer function. It’s critical because if you are in an accident, your air bags will not deploy, and if you have to slam on your brakes, your ABS system will not kick in. Be aware of the light show on your dashboard and check your owners’ manual to see what those lights mean!
2. Cars require maintenance.
A vehicle is the second biggest purchase the average household will make, second to their home, so consider your car a significant investment. Even though you may be driving a brand new car, it will still require timely maintenance. Vehicles have hundreds of thousands of moving parts, all wearing little by little every time you start your vehicle. Minor maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations should happen every 3-6 months depending on the manufacturer. Your owners’ manual will give you a better idea of what is recommended for your vehicle. This will help to keep your investment in good shape and avoid costly repairs in the long run.
1. Know your rights.
Know what is and is not legal going into a repair shop. Whether it’s the small shop in town or the big dealership in the heart of the city, your rights are always the same. They are not allowed to make any repairs to your vehicle without your consent. They are not allowed to hold your vehicle if repairs have been done that you did not authorize. And even though it is not technically a law, they are not allowed to bully you into repairing your vehicle. It is YOUR vehicle, and it is YOUR decision whether or not you want that repair done and where you want that repair done. Take your time to make the right decisions for you, and for your vehicle!!