Archive: July 2015


Smooth Shifting in Burlington, Ontario: Transmission Service

Posted 2015-07-29 12:00:00

So you have some exciting plans for the weekend. You're going to take some of your friends out on the boat for some water skiing. Of course, you've gotten the boat all ready. And you haven't forgotten about your tow vehicle. You've gassed it up and even vacuumed it out. However, there is something even more important than the cleanliness of the interior: you want to make sure that your vehicle maintenance is up to date.

Think about it – heavy traffic on the way out of Burlington. There's hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and it's going to be pretty hot in Ontario this weekend. And all the time you'll be towing around a lot of extra weight. That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission.

Let's just consider the transmission. It's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. A fun little blast to the local Ontario lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.

It's important to have enough transmission fluid. If it runs low, the transmission will run hotter and won't have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, it's important for Burlington drivers to have it serviced by automotive professionals like the team at Discovery Ford to make sure it runs efficiently.

An automatic transmission contains a maze of passages through which the fluid must pass to keep it shifting smoothly. Burlington drivers who neglect regularly scheduled transmission service risk the passages clogging up and starting to have problems.

Those who neglect their transmission for too long will eventually experience transmission failure. You really don't want to pay for a major transmission repair.

This reminds us of how much of our driving around Burlington, Ontario, is under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions — things like short trips and driving in very hot or very cold Ontario weather. Dusty roads and city driving around Burlington add to the strain. Basically, any driving that's not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions can be considered severe conditions.

While you have your vehicle in, ask for a trip inspection. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Discovery Ford will check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.

Now, don't forget the sunscreen.

 

Discovery Ford
850 Brant St
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2J5
905.632.8696
http://www.discoveryford.com


When Do My Shocks Need to Be Replaced?

Posted 2015-07-22 12:00:00

A good suspension system gives a vehicle a smooth, even ride while providing Burlington drivers with good handling and control. But like any system on your vehicle, parts of the suspension system can wear out, leading to a lower ride quality and safety concerns. So it's a good idea for drivers in Burlington to remember their suspension system in their schedule of preventive maintenance. Springs do most of the work of the suspension system. The most common types of springs are coil and leaf, but air springs and torsion bars are becoming more common. The body of the vehicle is “suspended” by the springs.

If springs were the only working component in your suspension system, however, you'd spend your travel time bouncing up and down like a bobblehead. That's where your shocks come in. They keep the rebound, or bounciness, of the springs under control. Shocks also keep your tires on the road, which keeps the driver in control of the vehicle. Some vehicles have struts in their suspension system. Struts are a compact combination of springs and shocks. They do the same job but in a single package.

Shocks wear out gradually, so it can be difficult for Burlington drivers to notice when they need to be replaced. There's no definitive point when a vehicle's ride goes from "smooth and controlled" to "a bit imprecise." To check if your shocks or struts are worn, you should first do a visual inspection on them. If they are leaking fluid, they need to be replaced.

There are other less obvious signs that your suspension system needs attention. For example, an uneven, cupping wear on your tires may indicate that your shocks are worn. If your vehicle feels “floaty” when you turn, or, in other words, you don't feel that you have full control of the vehicle, you should check your shocks. Also, if the front end of your vehicle dips noticeably when you stop, it's time for new shocks.

Your owner's manual gives recommendations on how often the shocks should be checked, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles (24,000-50,000 km). If one of your shocks does need to be replaced, you should replace all four. This will keep your suspension even and ensure good handling of your vehicle. If you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive on uneven Burlington area terrain, you might also consider upgrading to a heavy-duty shock.

Regular shocks contain hydraulic fluid. The fluid helps them absorb the bumps or “shocks” of the road so the impact doesn't transfer to the vehicle's body. Premium shocks are filled with compressed nitrogen gas, which costs more but does a better job of controlling body motions. Regular shocks can develop air bubbles that reduce their effectiveness; the premium shocks don't have this problem. So if you want higher handling performance, if you drive off-road around Ontario or if you just want added comfort, you should consider upgrading to premium shocks or struts.

Replacing struts can put your vehicle out of alignment, so an alignment check should always follow this type of repair. Talk to your service advisor at Discovery Ford in Burlington for more information.

Discovery Ford
850 Brant St
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2J5
905.632.8696
http://www.discoveryford.com

 


The Discovery Ford Guide to Servicing Your Differential

Posted 2015-07-15 12:00:00

Differential? What's that? And what's it for? I've been told by my service advisor that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?

Do these questions sound familiar? They're not uncommon for Burlington drivers. A lot of us in Burlington don't know what a differential is or what it's for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it's more important to the operation of your vehicle than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.

A differential allows your vehicle tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.

The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the vehicle drive train to the wheels.

Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That's why preventive maintenance for your vehicle needs to include servicing the differential.

Your owner's manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your friendly and knowledgeable Discovery Ford professional. Discovery Ford can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold Ontario weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.

Severe conditions will also affect your vehicle care routine and your differential. Check your owner's manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Burlington, hot or cold Ontario weather conditions and towing.

Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle's differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross Ontario streams or waterways, it is important that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.

Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Burlington auto repair shops. A smooth ride is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.

 Discovery Ford
850 Brant St
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2J5
905.632.8696
http://www.discoveryford.com

 


Battery Basics for Burlington

Posted 2015-07-08 12:00:00

It's important for Burlington drivers to know battery basics. First, let's talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Ontario weather. Most Burlington area drivers think it's cold weather because that's when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold vehicle engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Burlington trips because the alternator doesn't have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Burlington drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren't capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your vehicle alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you're pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly and knowledgeable Discovery Ford service assistant for a battery test to see if it's recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery on a Ontario road, but you'll save unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle alternator.

Give us a call.

Discovery Ford
850 Brant St
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2J5
905.632.8696
http://www.discoveryford.com

 


Brake Service at Discovery Ford in Burlington

Posted 2015-07-01 12:00:00

Brakes really aren't optional equipment for Burlington drivers' vehicles. And taking care of them isn't optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every Ontario driver's vehicle maintenance schedule. At Discovery Ford, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you're having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Burlington service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that's attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced, and that can be expensive. But putting it off is dangerous because your vehicle won't stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also important. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Burlington  drivers should change the brake fluid when their vehicle manufacturer recommends it.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it's a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Burlington area body shop after an accident.

Discovery Ford
850 Brant St
Burlington, Ontario L7R 2J5
905.632.8696
http://www.discoveryford.com


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