When you see the check engine light it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. It does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. If you ignore the warning, you could end up causing further damage. It could also be a sign that you’re getting poor fuel economy and emitting high levels of pollutants.
In any case, if the check engine light is on in your car, it’s time to schedule a service appointment. At our service centre, we have factory-trained technicians who can easily check and diagnose what’s behind your check engine light message, at a cost that is nearly always lower than a private garage.
Here’s what to do when your check engine light comes on…
• While it’s true that extreme problems like low oil pressure or an overheating engine will trigger your check engine light to come on, your dashboard has other lights and gauges to warn you of serious problems, and probably soon.
• A good rule of thumb is to always read your owner’s manual and learn about the different reasons that would trigger the check engine light to come on. It should also give you a tour of the other gauge and warning indicators on your dashboard.
• If your check engine light is on, the first thing to do is look for a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Check your dashboard gauges and lights for indications of low oil pressure or overheating. These conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine as soon as you can find a safe place to do so. On some cars, a yellow “check engine” means investigate the problem, while a red “check engine” means stop right now.
• Next, try tightening your gas cap. This often solves the problem. Keep in mind that it may take several trips before the light resets. Some vehicles have a separate indicator that warns of a loose gas cap before the condition sets off the “check engine” light.
• Reduce your speed and, if possible, the weight you’re carrying. If the check engine light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduce your speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. For example, it would be a good idea to stop towing a trailer. Have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent expensive damage.
• Even if you don’t notice an extreme problem, you should definitely still have the check engine code read and the problem fixed. If you want to diagnose the malfunction yourself, you can buy a scan tool at most auto parts stores. Prices range from about $40 to several hundred, depending on the model and the features. These tools will give you instructions on how to decipher the engine codes. If you don’t have to mechanical skills already to diagnose and fix the problem, it’s a more cost-effective decision to go directly to a service centre.
Check Engine light on? You can contact AutoMax Service Centre for diagnostics and a speedy solution! 519.332.1232
Checking your car’s oil level can extend the life of your engine. Not only is it important, but it is a very fast and simple task to complete as well. Follow the steps below to check your oil level…
• First, make sure that you are parked on level ground, for the most accurate reading.
• Next, safely prop your hood open and find the dipstick (which generally has a brightly colored handle, usually orange, and have the word OIL labeled on them).
• Pull the dipstick out and wipe it down with a towel or rag, and then replace it into the engine, making sure that it goes all the way in.
• Now, pull the dipstick back out- and be sure NOT to turn the stick upside down to read as the oil will run and you will not have an accurate reading. The dipstick will have two marks on the bottom (usually lines or holes in the stick), and you can read the oil level by looking to see where the oily section and dry section meet. If you find this mark between the two then you are all set!
If it is below the bottom mark that means that you need to fill the oil. When you do this, be sure never to fill it more than a quart at a time without checking the level again, as you do not want to overfill the engine. Most manufacturers consider normal oil consumption to be 1 liter per 1,600 kilometers; if you find you are using much more than this you might want to schedule a service appointment. Our service professionals will check to see if a little preventative maintenance can save you from having any major issues down the road.
Time to make a Service appointment? Call our friendly Service personnel for help! 519.332.1232
Changing your vehicle’s oil at the recommended intervals is the best thing you can do to ensure it has a long life. As simple as this task may sound, many people are confused about exactly how often their car’s oil needs to be changed. While you can always change your oil on your own, at our dealership we offer fast oil change service at a fair price, allowing you to go about your day without breaking your wallet.
• In the past, it was standard for oil changes to occur every 5,000 kilometers, or three months, whichever came first. Now, that standard does not always apply. Oil quality has improved over the years, and the automotive industry has begun to take driver’s travel and driving habits into account when making recommendations. As such, how often you change your oil should depend on you personal driving habits.
• If you use the car only for short trips on city streets, particularly in cold weather, you probably should have the oil changed every three months. Why? On short trip, the engine doesn’t reach its proper operating temperature, which can cause condensation of water inside the crankcase and oil can be diluted by gasoline.
• If you mostly use your car for occasional longer trips, it is acceptable to wait six months or more to change the oil.
• One thing you should absolutely consider when deciding when your oil needs to be changed is your car warranty. Many manufacturers specifically require warranty holder to change the oil based on time. If this is the case for you, it is worth it to change the oil according to the guidelines until the warranty expires. If your engine needs a warranty-covered repair in the future, your manufacturer might decline to cover it if you didn’t follow their recommended timeline for oil changes. To avoid a headache, follow their recommendations.
• Another reason why the manufacturer’s recommendations are worth considering is that the automaker has done extensive testing on your vehicle’s engine to define the recommendation. Their recommendations are based on lab and real-world driving to determine how it performs under many conditions. Through that testing, they have developed a set of guidelines for maintenance and the frequency of oil changes.
Contact AutoMax Service Centre to schedule an appointment: 519.332.1232
Replacing your windshield wipers is a quick, relatively easy task. You can find wipers at most automotive retail stores. If you are unsure of what kind to use, see your owner’s manual or ask a representative at the store. Removing the old wipers…
• To start, the old wipers must be removed. To do this, pull the entire wiper away from the windshield and it should hold itself up. (The arm is made of metal. Be sure not to scratch the glass of the windshield!)
• Use one hand to hold the arm, and the other to depress the small tab located on the underside of the wiper where it meets the metal arm.
• Slide it off by pulling from the centre toward the bottom of the arm.
• Once removed, gently place the arm against the windshield. In order to prevent any damage, make sure that it does not snap itself back.Now it’s time to put the new wipers on…
• First, line the two pieces up to ensure that it simply clicks on.
• Look at the side of the wiper that attaches to the arm. You will see that it is flat and has a curve across the top. Rotate this clip until the curve is pointing towards the wiper blade.
• Hold the wiper upside down next to the arm where they match up and put the arm in between the sides of the wiper.
• Make sure that the open end of the curve is facing the clip, and pull the wiper upward so that the rounded edge slides into the hook. Pull it on tightly to click it into place.
Repeat the process on the other side and you’re done!
Need new wipers? Contact AutoMax Service Centre to order and install them today! 519.332.1232
Octane gas is available in several different grades, with each number representing the resistance to burn the fuel has; the higher the rating, the slower the burn. The most common form of octane gas is 87octane. Generally speaking, octane gas increases the cost of fuel, and the higher the grade you purchase the more money you will spend. You can determine what type is needed for your vehicle by…
• Looking at the owners manual.
• Checking the manufacturer’s website. Most find higher-level octane gas to be desirable because they feel that it keeps their car engines running smoother and because they feel it is a cleaner fuel. The truth though is that although it may be cleaner, most engines will notice minimal difference with the higher gas grade.
There are many ways that new or used car owners can improve overall fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.The first thing that affects fuel economy is how you drive the car…
• Plan your trips: Try to accomplish multiple things in one trip. You can also try to car pool or walk to your destination. This won’t decrease fuel consumption but will help you drive less, which means less gas.
• Do Not Speed: If you are on the highway driving 100kph instead of 110kph will save you 1-2 kilometers per liter over the duration of your trip. Try using your cruise control; it reduces fuel consumption by maintaining a constant speed.
• Throttle Less: Accelerate and brake with ease. You will save on fuel as well as wear and tearon your brakes.
• Don’t warm up: Thanks to new technology most modern cars only really need 30 seconds to get warm.
• Windows up: Having the windows down on the highway can decrease fuel economy by up to 10 percent.The other major thing that affects fuel economy is the maintenance of your car…
• Oil: Use only manufacturer’s specified motor oil, and change it per factory recommendations, can improve fuel economy as well.
• Weight: The less weight in your vehicle the better fuel economy. An extra 45 kilograms increases fuel consumption by 1 to 2 percent.
• Tires: Make sure your tires are set to recommended pressure at all times this can increases fuel economy by as much as 3.3 percent.
• Filters: A clean air filter and fuel filter will allow the air and fuel to flow unencumbered and can help you save up to 10 percent on fuel costs.
• Sensors: The oxygen sensors, engine emissions system and evaporative emissions control systems if damaged can all decrease fuel mileage by 20 percent or more.
• Gas: The owner’s manual will list the correct octane gasoline you should use for your car.Purchase recommended grade of fuel, premium-grade fuel won’t improve economy in cars designed for regular grade fuel.
• If you take care of your car, it will take care of you. Is it time to schedule your vehicle for regular maintenance? Would you like your vehicle checked prior to making that weekend trip?If so, then please feel free to contact our service department. Our certified technicians will be happy to help.
Checking the coolant level in your car is a fairly simple process. The first thing to remember is to check the coolant level when the car is cold. In most cars today, there is an opaque coolant overflow tank located next to the radiator. The opaque tank is made of white plastic, which allows you to see the inside and be sure that the coolant is at a safe level. You will also find that there are markings on the side to tell you how high or low the level is.
• You should be checking your coolant level a few times per year to make sure that there are no leaks in your system.
• If you find that you are low on coolant you will need to top it off. Engines take a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water, which allows your radiator the optimum boiling or freeze protection that your engine needs. You can generally purchase this pre-mixed.
• To add the coolant, just unscrew the cap of the opaque overflow reservoir and add the mixture until it reaches the full mark.
• After that, all you need to do is replace the cap, make sure that it is on tight, and you’re ready to roll!
• Be sure to change your coolant every couple of years (following the manufacturer’s recommendations). Please keep in mind that most coolants are toxic. Coolant can be fatal to those who come in contact with it.
• If you spill any on the ground you should make sure that you wipe it up.
• Do not leave the container lying around!
• Follow the recommendations on the container to dispose of it properly.
• If you find that you are consistently filling your coolant and levels continue to be low, this may mean that you have a leak. This may be a minor fix (such as replacing the radiator hose) or it could be more serious.
If you think there may be a leak in your cooling system, or if you feel it is time to change your coolant, please feel free to schedule a service appointment. Our service professionals will check to see if a little preventative maintenance can save you from having any major issues down the road.
Checking the transmission fluid in your car is relatively simple and should be done about once per month. To get the most accurate reading you should check the transmission with the engine running and properly warmed up, on a level surface.
• First, remove the dipstick from under the hood (if you are unsure as to where it is located, check your owner’s manual).
• The handle is usually a bright color (generally yellow or red).
• Remove the stick, wipe it clean, replace, and then remove it again.
• There are labels for “Warm” and “Cold”- check the warm readings.
• If it is not full, slowly fill the fluid up a little at a time, and continue to measure with the dipstick.
• To fill the fluid you should use a funnel and pour it into the hole where you pulled the dipstick. After filling, replace the dipstick, and after a few moments remove to confirm that it has been done correctly.
• When checking your transmission fluid be sure to check it’s color. Transmission fluid is a pinkish/red color. If your fluid is brown that is a sign that there may be something wrong with the car. If this is the case, schedule a service appointment, where our experienced technicians are more than happy to help!
There are several reasons that may explain why your air conditioning system is blowing warm instead of cool air.
• The first possibility is that there is a refrigerant leak. The leak may be found in the evaporator, condenser or hose in which case you should bring your car to a mechanic to be repaired.
• Another reason that your air conditioner may not be blowing cool air is because the compressor has gone bad. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and pumps it throughout the AC’s necessary components. Because everything revolves around the compressor, if it is faulty then the air conditioning will not work correctly. Usually there will be a loud noise when you attempt to turn on your air conditioner if the compressor is broken.
• Finally, another problem that may be occurring with your air conditioning system is that there is a clogged orifice tube. This is located between the condenser in the front of the radiator, and the evaporator in the passenger compartment. If there is an obstruction in the tube then it will stop the refrigerant from reaching the evaporator, causing your system to blow warm air.
Whatever the reason that your air conditioner is not working, we are more than happy to assist you! Bring your car to our service centre today and our experienced technicians will assist you in diagnosing and fixing any problem.
Brakes are one of the most important parts of your vehicle and they go a long way to keep you safe behind the wheel. But it can be hard to determine whether the noises we hear are the result of something simple, like air in the brake line, or if they are a warning sign of imminent brake failure.
Remember, when your service technician recommends any brake repair, it should be completed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Whether you need a simple brake inspection, brake replacement,brake pad replacement or work on the brake discs, brake pads or rotors, we can help. Our technicians are trained to work on specific makes and models, and our prices are often lower than our competitors’.
For a better idea of what could be causing your brake trouble, read on for answers to common brake questions.
Why are my brakes pulsing?
• If you experience a pulsing or jerking from the brake, it is far more likely that it was caused by a defect in the brake rotor or drum than from the anti-lock system. A warped rotor or out-of-round drum can cause pronounced pulsating in the brake pedal.
• The failure of the pad to retract is not uncommon. In older drum systems, the brake shoes are pulled back from the drum by strong springs. But in a disk brake system, the pads are pulled back from the rotor (or disc) by the resiliency of rubber seals. As these seals age or are damaged by contaminated brake fluid, they can fail to do their job. The result is that the pad will ride against the rotor and wear out prematurely.
• If your rotor is warped, it can cause the pad to wear out even without a failure of the rubber seal. A warped rotor will wobble as it rotates, thereby scraping the pad as it turns. Eventually the pad wears out and the metal backing plate will damage the metal rotor.
Why is the brake pedal sinking to the floor?
• If your brakes are not as responsive as they should be or if the pedal “sinks” toward the floor, this could be an indication of a leak in the braking system. It could be an air leak (in the brake hose) or a brake fluid leak. One telltale sign of a brake fluid leak is the presence of a small puddle of fluid when the car is parked. Brake fluid looks similar to fresh motor oil, but with a less “slimy” texture.
• Another possible problem is the master cylinder. The master cylinder’s cup seals or the cylinder bore itself may be worn. Internal leaking or bypassing cup seals must be considered any time vehicles brake pedal is fading to the floor. This fading pedal with no external leak found is a common master cylinder symptom caused by these cup seals. The result will be a loss of hydraulic pressure. The vehicle will creep at stop lights as the brake pedal fades toward the floorboard.
Why are my brakes grinding?
• This loud metallic sound means that you have worn down the pads completely. The grinding or growling noise is caused by the two pieces of metal (the disc and the caliper) rubbing together. This can “score” or scratch your rotors, creating an uneven surface. If this happens, do not be surprised if your mechanic tells you that the brakes and rotors need to be “turned” (a process that evens out the rotor surface), or even replaced.
Why are my brakes vibrating?
• A vibration or pulsating brake pedal is often a symptom of warped rotors (but can also indicate that your vehicle is out of alignment). The vibration can feel similar to the feedback in the brake pedal during a panic stop in a vehicle equipped with anti-lock brakes.
• It is a sign of warped rotors if the vibration occurs during braking situations when the anti-lock brakes are not engaged. Warped rotors are caused by severe braking for long periods, such as when driving down a steep mountain or when towing. Tremendous amounts of friction are created under these conditions, heating up the rotors and causing them to warp. The vibration is felt because the brake pads are not able to grab the surface evenly. If you drive in these conditions, make sure to stop periodically to allow your brakes to cool off.
How much does a brake job cost?
The cost of repairing your brakes depends largely on what is wrong with your brakes, and which garage you choose to have them repaired at. There are often costs associated with the initial inspection of your brakes, repairing the damaged brake system, and replacing brake parts. If your entire brake system needs to be replaced, this is commonly a more expensive procedure. It is a common myth that a dealership service department is more expensive than a private garage. However, at our service centre we offer affordable and professional service performed by trained technicians.
For many owners, brake repair and a brake change is something that is often overlooked. But keeping your brakes properly calibrated and in good working order can prevent costly repairs down the line, and more importantly, help you avoid a collision.
An extended warranty is like an insurance policy on your car, it is a safeguard against unforeseen repairs. An extended warranty may be purchased at the time you buy your vehicle; it’s also possible to purchase one later. If you like to be prepared for all possibilities, an extended auto warranty may be just what you’re looking for. With the ever-increasing cost of vehicle repairs, these can make a lot of sense. In deciding whether an extended warranty is right for you, and in selecting the best plan, you’ll need to consider some things…
• To what extent is the car already under warranty and do you plan to keep the car past this period?
• Some extended warranties are transferable should you decide to sell the car before the end of the warranty. Find out the details.
• What exactly is covered? Does it cover breakdown as well as wear and tear? Under a “breakdown” warranty, coverage is extended only to parts that break. Additionally, some “entry level” contracts don’t cover ABS brakes, so if your vehicle has this feature, you should consider upgrading to this level. Take the time to fully explore the ins and outs of its coverage implications. The distinctions between the various plans might seem slight, but they can prove quite important.
AutoMax is able to provide you with our exclusive “No Fine Print” extended warranty that meets all of your needs. Please contact us! One of our sales representatives will be happy to answer all of your questions.
The process of syncing your phone to your vehicle may vary, but iPhones and Androids are generally very similar. On your phone, go to the home screen and tap Settings. Bluetooth may appear under headings such as General, Connections, or Device. When you find Bluetooth, toggle it to the “ON” position. Your phone may direct you to start a scan to locate Bluetooth-adaptable devices nearby, or it may scan automatically. (Remember, you need to be in your vehicle when you do this.) Your vehicle’s Bluetooth should become visible; tap to connect. You may also want to refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Having difficulty? The AutoMax Team is glad to help you get Bluetooth connected! Call 519.332.1232 or drop by today!
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"I have purchased 8 vehicles from AutoMax for both myself and my company 3 Phase Electrical. I utilized the AutoMax Car Finder program to purchase 3 of those as they were difficult for me to find. George helped me find one vehicle I’d been looking for over a year but couldn’t find myself.
I have been supplied with safe and reliable vehicles for myself and my staff. In the event of a breakdown AutoMax serviced my vehicle quickly while I drove in one of their rental vehicles. It does not get easier than that.
I would recommend AutoMax in Sarnia to my family and friends. In fact I have."
Bill V. ~ March 2015
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