Common Car Questions - Answered

How often should I check my tire pressure?

It has been suggested that tire pressure should be checked every time your vehicle is filled up. At the very least, a check every month should be sufficient. Even though most vehicles come with a tire pressure monitoring system nowadays, a manual check once a month is still recommended.

 

When should transmission fluid be changed?

The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association recommends that transmission fluid be changed approximately once every 50,000 kms or every two years, whichever is first. Feel free to call and ask our Service Advisors if yours should be changed.

 

Is it really necessary to change my air filter during an oil change?

There are two filters that should be changed when dirty: the engine filter and the cabin air filter. It isn't necessary to change these with every oil change. If you're unsure, ask whoever is changing your oil to show you the filter(s) before allowing them to replace it.

 

What's the difference between premium and regular fuel?

The biggest difference - other than price - between premium and regular fuel grades is the octane. Regular is lower octane at 87, while premium is around 91 octane or higher. Basically, the higher the octane, the lower the likelihood that detonation happens at the wrong time. Occasionally, this occurrence isn't likely to damage your engine. However, if it happens often it can decline your engine's performance. If your vehicle has a high compression ratio engine or turbochargers then it likely requires high octane fuel for best performance and fuel efficiency. The majority of vehicles on the road today are optimized to run on regular gas. Bottom line, if your vehicle doesn't require premium fuel, fill up with regular.

 

Why do signal lights flash faster when burnt out?

When a bulb burns out, the voltage lowers which makes the circuit's job easier and therefore ... the easier, the faster. This actually becomes a good sign for you that your bulb needs to be replaced.

 

What's the difference between running synthetic vs regular oil and can I change from one to the other?

Synthetic oil is much more refined than regular and is somewhat 'man-made' to be cleaner and contain fewer impurities. With the same amount of use, regular oil becomes a lot thicker and sludgy. By using synthetic oil, you'll protect your engine. Additives in synthetic oil help clean your engine and because it contains fewer impurities, it burns much cleaner. While more expensive, using synthetic oil increases your time between oil changes and effectively reduces the number of required oil changes.

 

Why are my brakes making noise?

Brakes noisy? This can be quite annoying!! Worse, this can be dangerous if you ignore the signs. Grinding, thumping, squeaking ... brakes can make various noises for various reasons. Bottom line, brakes are arguably the biggest safety feature of any vehicle and you need to pay attention. Any noise coming from your brakes needs to be looked at by a certified technician. It doesn't necessarily mean an expensive fix, could simply be cheap or faulty parts but hands down needs attention immediately!

 

How can I get better fuel economy?

There are several easy things you can keep in mind to help with fuel economy. For example, using the stop/start engine system and cruise control are two easy ways to boost your fuel economy. Also ensuring your tires are properly inflated, as well as driving with your windows closed at highway speed; because even if your air conditioning is running, you will still see significant savings in fuel. Also, replacing the air filters in your vehicle if driving in dusty conditions, and having your spark plugs inspected or replaced when necessary. Lastly, do not allow for your vehicle to idle too much while it is warming up or when using a remote starter.

 

What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning is when a vehicle starts sliding uncontrollably on the road from an abundance of water that the treads on the tires can not displace. At high speeds on wet pavement, the water can push the front tires off the ground which creates a thin film between the tires and the road. The most dangerous time to drive is directly after a rainstorm so if you do find yourself on the road, ensure your tires are properly inflated, have been recently rotated and also have enough tread left.

 

When should a timing belt really be replaced?

There is no exact number for when a timing belt needs to be replaced. In your owner's manual there should be a recommended mileage from the manufacturer, but a safe number to go off of is to have it replaced in between 60,000 to 100,000 miles. The safest course of action would be to have it checked before reaching this point to ensure that everything is still in working order.

 

What should I do if my car is over-heating?

First things first, if you see your temperature warning light come on or if there is steam coming from the hood of your vehicle, pull over as quickly and safely as possible and turn off your engine. Open the hood from the inside of the vehicle, and if this is not possible allow the engine to sit for at least 30 minutes before opening it manually to allow time for it to cool down as it may be extremely hot from steam.

Once the engine has cooled, check the coolant tank near the radiator and if its empty, top it up with coolant/antifreeze. Make sure to use a towel when taking off the cap and be cautious of steam. If it is empty, you either ran out or there could be a leak (check under the car for signs of a puddle).

If you do not have the proper means to address the issue when your car initially over-heats, calling a tow truck and getting your vehicle to a mechanic will be your best option.

 

What is tourque vs horsepower?

Torque and power are what the engine produces when you turn the key and press the accelerator. Horsepower is determined from torque as torque is easier to measure. Torque is a force applied at a distance, like when using a socket wrench to tighten down a bolt. And power is the rate at which work is done. So torque is the force pressing down on the engine, while the speed at which the force is happening is our RPM, so horsepower is torque multiplied by RPM.

When looking at horsepower vs torque in a vehicle, a vehicle with more horsepower will always move faster because power is the rate at which work is done. At the end of the day, you need both torque and horsepower to help move your vehicle.

 

What does differential mean?

Differential is a device that splits the engine torque two ways, which allows each output to spin at a different speed. It's found on all modern cars and trucks, as well as many all-wheel-drive vehicles. This differential between each set of drive wheels, as well as one differential between the front and back wheels, is necessary because the front wheels travel a different distance during a turn than the back wheels.

 

What's better: FWD, RWD, AWD or 4WD?

The best drive system depends mostly on what you need your vehicle to accomplish for you. For example, FWD is cheaper, quite common and offers good traction when it is slippery. RWD can handle more horsepower and higher vehicle weights, and is often used in performance driving but can be difficult to handle in poor weather. Even though the two are similar, AWD differentiates from 4WD because AWD must be manually shifted and provides great overall traction, while 4WD is automatic making it ideal for optimal off-road traction. For the heavier winters, an AWD or 4WD system might be a bit more beneficial, but FWD and RWD can also handle light snow.

 

What does RPM mean?

RPM stands for revolutions per minute and is used to show how fast a machine is operating. In a vehicle, the RPM increases as you press down on the accelerator, but an engine doesn't exactly produce maximum power at its highest RPM. Automatic transmissions shift at whatever engine RPM creates the best of both efficiency and smoothness.

 

Have a question you don't see here? We'd be happy to answer, give us a call 403.938.3636.