Archive: October 2016


What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?

Posted 2016-10-23 06:58:04

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Burlington, Ontario, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Burlington drivers don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of Burlington customers' minds. It's not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Discovery Ford in Burlington at 905.632.8696 for information about differential service, or stop by our Burlington, Ontario, auto center at 850 Brant St, L7R 2J5.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Burlington high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Burlington, Ontario area weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

The professionals at Discovery Ford will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then they’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Discovery Ford service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacture's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual. Give us a call at 905.632.8696 for more information about your differential service.

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


Let Discovery Ford Help You Keep Your Vehicle Another Couple of Years

Posted 2016-10-18 10:12:03

Burlington area residents may remember when the U.S. government's “Cash for Clunkers” program made a splash on the news scene. People were offered incentives to trade in old vehicles for new, in the interest of better and improved air quality from reduced emissions.

But a lot of Burlington drivers want to hang onto their old clunkers. They're dependable and they're paid for. Owners would love to see the odometers on those vehicles turn past 200,000 miles (320,000 km), as long as the repair bills don't get too expensive.

There are a lot of vehicles on Ontario roads that have run past the 200,000 mile (320,000 km) odometer reading. Is there something that their owners are doing that keeps these vehicles on the road? Or did they just win the “lemon lottery,” and luck out by getting a particularly good vehicle? Not surprisingly, most of these owners have something in common. They never skip an oil change. Can keeping a vehicle on the road for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) really be that easy for Burlington drivers?

Actually, it makes sense. Oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle. Clean oil ensures that the engine will run efficiently and staves off the build-up of sludge that can eventually damage engine parts. Oil changes remove dirty oil and replace dirty oil filters, keeping an engine clean and running smoothly, just like eating right keeps our hearts healthy by preventing build-up in our arteries.

But there's another reason why not skipping an oil change can result in a longer life for your car. When you bring your car in to Discovery Ford for an oil change, all of the fluid levels are checked and topped off. If these fluids are depleted, dirty or low, they can damage the engine.

If a fluid is significantly low, it usually indicates a leak somewhere, leading to an inspection of relevant parts. This inspection and the replacement of the worn part can prevent repair bills and maintain the health of the engine.

At an oil change, your technician at Discovery Ford will also do a quick check for worn belts or hoses, uneven tread wear, leaking shock absorbers and other signs of wear and tear. This advance notice allows the owner to replace parts before they break down and possibly damage your vehicle.

The oil change is also a good time to review any other service that the vehicle might need. Many car owners rely on their pros at Discovery Ford for good auto advice on check-ups and follow-up vehicle care that will keep older cars running well.

Parts wear out on older vehicles. There's no avoiding it. As the odometer chugs upward toward 200,000 miles (320,000 km), the vehicle will need several batteries, a couple of alternators and water pumps, a new set of shocks and possibly some brake rotors. But these items—all together—add up to far less than the cost of a new vehicle.

Good vehicle care and preventive maintenance are the hallmark of Burlington drivers who have kept their vehicles on the road and running past the age when most of us have given up and headed back to a car lot. We can learn from their wisdom.

So treat your car right: Take good care of it and don't skip the check-ups at Discovery Ford in Burlington. 

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


Engine Hydration for Burlington Drivers: Role of Your Water Pump

Posted 2016-10-09 10:31:02

The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.

The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner's manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers), but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers).

Water pumps don't gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they're either working or they're not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.

Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.

If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it's time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren't visible because they're under a plastic cover, so you may have to take your vehicle to Discovery Ford to know if the water pump has failed. If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles (100,000 to 150,000 kilometers). The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it's cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time. Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it's powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense for Burlington residents to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.

Replacing a water pump at Discovery Ford is a vehicle care issue that almost all of us Burlington residents face eventually. They don't last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Discovery Ford service advisor.

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


How to Get Better Gas Mileage in Burlington

Posted 2016-10-02 08:34:04

There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in Burlington can relate to is our computers. You've probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest Burlington computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.

What you're doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It's the same thing with your vehicle. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around Burlington. And you save money.

To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Discovery Ford will reduce friction and help you get better fuel economy.

Another friction related problem is underinflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it's like driving on Ontario highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At Discovery Ford, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.

Let's move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure  and in the spray pattern — that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at Discovery Ford will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.

All of these things can help you save money on gas at Burlington pumps.

Give us a call.

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


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