Archive: October 2015


Recommended Burlington Service Intervals

Posted 2015-10-28 12:00:00



Everyone in Burlington, Ontario, knows we are advised to go to our Burlington dentist twice a year.  Oral-conscious Burlington residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get x-rays to look for problems that can't be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – "Everything's fine, see you in six months." Or "You've got a small cavity starting, let's schedule an appointment to take care of it." By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.

This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going into the dentist. Small problems are fixed before they turn into big problems. And you avoid those huge bills.

If Burlington folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our vehicle maintenance?

Following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing ...you get the point.

Every item has a recommended interval and it's hard for Burlington drivers to keep it all straight – even if you're part of the 1% of Ontario drivers that read their owners' manual.

And if you have more than one vehicle, the complexity is multiplied. You'd need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that's how your service center does it. For example, Discovery Ford subscribes to automotive databases that have your vehicle's recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it's all in the database.

Well, it's not all in the computer. There are other variables that can't be accounted for in the schedule: Things like Burlington weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in Ontario. Talk about these things with your service advisor at Discovery Ford and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner's manual is more appropriate.

Since anything that's not driving in moderate weather is considered severe and most of us do at least some of that around Burlington, Ontario, it should be taken into account.

Let's take your basic oil change as an example. What issues are involved? The oil you put in your vehicle is a blend of base oil and special additives. There are detergents to clean the inside of your vehicle engine and corrosion inhibitors. A good quality motor oil will not only lubricate your engine, it will help it stay clean inside and run cooler.

Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That's why most vehicle manufacturer's maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles/5,000 km, whichever comes first.

It's easy for Burlington drivers to think, "Gee, I've only driven 2,000 miles/3,200 km in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change." But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is a environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products that start degrading its effectiveness even when it's just sitting there.

A lot of people in Burlington don't realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it's clogged up because you haven't changed it, it can't trap any more.

Oil sludge is another problem for Burlington vehicles. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think 'Vaseline.' Obviously, sludge doesn't lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that all the parts don't get properly protected by the oil. That'll lead to premature wear.

If you've missed some oil changes, don't despair. Just talk with the pros at Discovery Ford. Fess up – you'll feel better. And they can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your vehicle on the road and avoiding repairs.

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

 

 


Why People in Burlington Hesitate to Get Their Vehicle Serviced

Posted 2015-10-21 12:00:00



A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Burlington, Ontario, roads have one or more service or repair that's needed but hasn't been taken care of. Now that's a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in North America alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.

There are several reasons we hesitate to take care of recommended services, especially services that our Burlington automotive advisor recommends when we're in for something else, like an oil change.

The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don't always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your vehicle, but if you don't have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you're not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.

Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Burlington service center. People who don't know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don't want to look ignorant.

It's human nature. But there's so much to know in this world, and we can't all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It's very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it's your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Burlington, Ontario.

Your service advisor at Discovery Ford wants to answer your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.

That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don't always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.

At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Burlington service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned, and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer's maintenance schedules.

In other words, "You don't have to trust me, you can trust your owner's manual."

Your Burlington service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer's recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don't need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner's manual to know what to do.

Basically, the engineers who designed the car say, "Here's when you need to have it serviced." That's who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He's just reminding you.

Now you do need to trust your Burlington technician's experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concerns and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.

That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn't usually on either of those lists.

Look, everyone who works at Discovery Ford has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.

Service centers like Discovery Ford invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.

We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That's the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we're not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won't come back and the service center won't be around for long.

When there is a real budget concern, your Discovery Ford service advisor can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.

Let's say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That's a safety concern, so a technician can't ethically say, well, let's put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.

Ask us for more details.

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


Keeping Your 'Old Faithful' Auto Running

Posted 2015-10-14 12:00:00

At Discovery Ford we've had a lot of Burlington customers asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that's been building for several years in Ontario. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles (120,000 km) on them. It looks like it's going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Ontario folks are putting off buying a new car. 

So let's say you're one of the average in the Burlington area; you've got a nine-year-old car with 80,000 miles (130,000 km) on the odometer. What can you do to make it last another year or two?

Let's start with the premise that there's no reason that a modern car can't run for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) with proper care in Burlington. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there's no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if Burlington drivers stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some vehicle manufacturer's owner's manuals runs out at 60,000 miles (100,000 km) or so: how do Burlington vehicle owners know what to do when they're way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) for the first 60,000 miles (100,000 km), you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) after you hit 60,000 miles (100,000 km). But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it's very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at Discovery Ford in Burlington, for example, leaves an opportunity for sludge to build up. Talk to your service advisor at Discovery Ford for more details.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Burlington are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps efficiency from decreasing;
  2. it prevents repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most important thing Burlington drivers can do. A full-service oil change at Discovery Ford means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your friendly and knowledgeable Discovery Ford service advisor a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get worse. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren't scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Burlington area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner's manual and talk with us at Discovery Ford. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at Discovery Ford strongly encourages Burlington drivers to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They're fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Burlington auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles (80,000 km) as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Burlington. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

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


Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service at Discovery Ford in Burlington

Posted 2015-10-07 12:00:00


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 Burlington 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.

Burlington 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 Burlington 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 Discovery Ford 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 Burlington weather.

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


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