Category Archives: CAR OWNER TIPS

5 Winter Driving Habits to Avoid

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Posted on Jan 16, 2018

Winter driving habits

5 winter driving habits you should avoid

We’re officially in the heart of winter, meaning drivers will have to be extra cautious behind the wheel.  No matter how confident of a driver you are, you likely experience at least some level of anxiety in the winter. And while there’s no way of eliminating the worry completely, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re more comfortable behind the wheel during the cold months.

Here are five driving habits you should avoid:

Slamming on the brakes

Whether it’s snowing outside or the roads are icy, it’s always in your best interest to slow down and take it easy.

Driving at a faster speed means that everything will take longer when compensating if lose control of your vehicle. Note: If you do happen to slip, make sure to stay calm and steer in the direction the rear of your car is sliding.

Slamming on the brakes is never a good idea, but it’s particularly bad in the dead of winter.

Using summer tires or all-season tires

You’ve likely heard this a number of times before, but driving with all-season or summer tires during the winter is simply unsafe.  While you may have the urge to save a buck or two – especially after the Holiday season – your safety is not an area where you want to cut corners.

At the end of the day, summer and even all-season tires are simply not suitable for the winter conditions, especially given the weather we’ve experienced over the past few weeks.

Driving with snow on your roof

It may be considered one of the bigger annoyances and driving hazards when it comes to winter driving, but it’s important that you take the time to properly clear the snow off your car every morning.

Driving with snow on your roof can be a hazard to other drivers, as well as pedestrians. If you noticed that you’re typically in a hurry in the morning, get up five minutes earlier to ensure you have enough time to clean the snow/ice off your car.

Pouring hot water on a frozen windshield

If you think that pouring hot water on a frozen windshield is a smart way to speed up the de-icing process, you’d be wrong. The temperature difference between the hot water and the icy windshield could be big enough that it actually cracks.

Stick with an ice scraper. It may require a little more elbow grease, but at least it won’t cost you a new windshield.

Don’t tailgate

Not only is it important that you slow down when the roads are poor, but it’s also crucial that you keep a safe distance between you and the other drivers. Tailgating the car ahead of you is extremely dangerous, especially when it’s snowy outside.  In general, you should be a full two seconds behind the car in front you.

 

 

5 New Year’s Resolutions for your Car

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Posted on Jan 9, 2018

New Year's Resolutions for your Car

Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for you and your car

With 2017 officially behind us, now is the perfect time to capitalize on the New Year and make improvements.  While making a resolution or two for yourself is always popular, it’s also a good idea to make a few for your vehicle – especially considering how much the average person relies on theirs.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions you should make for your car:

Maintain it regularly

You’ve likely heard this a thousand times before, but regular maintenance is the best way to ensure your car lasts for a long time. Sure, skipping out on an oil change or two may save you some extra cash in the short run, but failing to maintain your car will eventually upset the automotive karma gods who may sting you in the worst way possible.

Make a maintenance schedule and stick to it. It’s better to spend the money now, and not when you’re stranded on the side of the road.

Be more patient

Road rage and aggressive driving are two of the most dangerous problems on the road today. If another driver is getting on your nerves, take a deep breath and relax. At the end of the day, getting back at another driver isn’t worth the risk of getting into an accident.

If you know you’re an aggressive driver, try to make a point of leaving earlier to ensure you’re not in a rush and can afford a longer commute.

Get rid of excess weight

Thankfully, your car doesn’t need to go to the gym to shed a few pounds. If you find that you’re spending more than you used to at the pump, it’s entirely possible that you’re carrying too much excess weight.

Go through your vehicle and get rid of anything that isn’t essential. Shedding unnecessary weight can help improve fuel efficiency.

Keep the interior fresh

How many times have you told yourself that you’re finally going to clean your vehicle, only to find yourself still looking at the mess weeks later?

Spend an hour and completely clean your car’s interior. Get rid of any garbage, vacuum any dirt and debris, and give your upholstery a good clean. If your vehicle is starting to give off a foul odur, give it a little extra attention or consider dropping it off at the auto-spa for a good deep clean.

Get any issues diagnosed right away

Don’t wait until you or a loved one is stranded on the side of the highway somewhere – when problems arise bring your vehicle in to have it looked at and fixed. An ounce of prevention goes a looong way!

 

How to care for your car battery this winter

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Posted on Jan 3, 2018

How to care for your car battery in cold weather

How to care for your car battery this winter

When Canadian zoos bring the Penguins inside, you know it’s time to get your car battery checked…

Following months of pristine weather conditions, the winter is finally upon is, with minus double-digit wind chills suddenly becoming the new norm. As a result, it’s important that you pay close attention to your vehicle’s battery, as the cold weather could negatively affect your battery’s useful life if you’re not careful.

Why do batteries perform worse in the winter?

Most drivers are aware that winter is typically the most dangerous time for their car’s battery, but aren’t exactly sure why.

When the weather is below zero for an extended period of time, your battery will take longer to perform the necessary chemical reactions to start your vehicle. Your engine also requires more power to get it started when it’s cold out, making your battery work much harder than it would on a nice spring day.

While it typically only occurs when the weather is well below zero for an extended period of time, your car battery can actually freeze on you. It’s unlikely that your battery will freeze if it’s fully charged, but a fully discharged battery can freeze at much higher temperatures.

Both of these reasons help to explain why your battery is at a higher risk of dying when it’s cold out, as all the extra work begins to put more and more strain on it as the winter months pass.

Have your battery tested

If you haven’t had your battery tested recently, it’s a good idea to go to your local dealership to have it looked at. The technicians will be able to determine how much juice is left in the battery, and let you know its current health situation.

Signs your battery is failing

While a dead battery can sometimes come as a bit of a shock, there are some warning signs to look out for.

If your headlights or dome lights begin to dim, that’s typically a telltale sign that your battery is losing power. A rotten smell, a cracked battery case, and/or your battery warning light turning on are also indications that something is wrong with your battery.

Finally, if your battery is more than three years old, you’re running a considerable risk by failing to have it checked out.

Prepare for the worst

If you’re the type of person who likes to plan for the worst-case scenario, it may be in your best interest to invest in either a booster pack or jumper cables. That way, if your battery does end up dying, at least you’ll have a backup plan.

 

2018 Subaru Outback vs. 2018 Honda CR-V

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Posted on Dec 12, 2017

2018 Honda CRV vs Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Outback vs. 2018 Honda CR-V

If you’re in the market for a new crossover SUV, both the 2018 Subaru Outback and the 2018 Honda CR-V should be considered as potential options.

With plenty of cool features, high safety ratings and impressive fuel economy scores, both vehicles are viable choices for virtually any consumer.

Read ahead to find out which car is the better option for you:

Price

Potential customers will be happy to hear that both vehicles come at relatively affordable prices.  The 2018 Outback starts at $29,295 (with AWD) while its counterpart begins slightly cheaper at $28,988 (No AWD). No matter which option you choose, you can be assured that you’re getting good bang for your buck.

Handling & Performance

While both vehicles maneuver well, many experts believe the Outback is a little easier to handle than the CR-V. As a result, the Outback could be seen as a better option for drivers who live further north and experience the harsh winter elements on a more regular basis.

The 2018 Outback also comes with a new suspension and updated brakes, making for a much smoother ride.

Safety

Fortunately, both vehicles performed well in their crash assessments, receiving five-star scores in all tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

However, the Outback performed better according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as the IIHS chose Subaru’s newest crossover as one of its Top Safety Picks for 2018.

Fuel Efficiency

Subaru’s newest crossover SUV owns an impressive fuel economy rating of 11.5 litres per 100 km in the city and roughly 8.8 litres per 100 km on the highway. The CR-V offers pretty much the same rating, boasting a fuel efficiency score of 10.5 litres per 100 km for city driving and 8.5 litres per 100 km for highway driving.

However, the Outback has a much larger fuel tank, meaning you won’t have to make as many trips to the gas station on your commute home from work.

All-Wheel Drive

As always, Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system leads the way and every Outback whereas all-wheel drive is an upgrade option on the CR-V.

Space

If you’re part of a larger family, you’ll be pleased to know that both the Outback and CR-V are equipped with plenty of room and cargo space.

The Outback has slightly more leg and back room, while the CR-V has more space for cargo, so it’s up to you to decide what you prefer. It should be noted that the Outback also has plenty of head room, making it a more practical choice for taller drivers.

Overall, the Outback is both longer and wider, making it a better option if you’re looking for a more spacious vehicle.

Verdict

With more space, better handling, and a bigger fuel tank, the Outback is likely a more practical option compared to Honda’s new CR-V.

 

5 Pre-Christmas Road Trip Safety Tips

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Posted on Nov 28, 2017

Christmas road trip tips

5 safety checks you should perform before leaving for your Christmas road trip

The holiday season is upon us, which means it likely won’t be long before we get hit with some nasty winter weather. If you plan to go on a Christmas road trip over the next few months, it’s in your best interest to get your vehicle ready for potentially poor road conditions.

Here are five safety checks you should carry out prior to hitting the road:

Get winter tires

If you don’t already have winter tires, you need to get them now. No ifs, and, or buts. Winter in Canada is too unpredictable to rely on all-season tires; especially if you’re going on a long trip. Just because it isn’t snowing out doesn’t mean the roads aren’t slippery. Be smart and get winter tires before you leave.

Once you get winter tires, make sure they’re properly inflated. Not only will this increase your fuel economy, but it will also lower the risk of a blowout.

Check the weather

It should go without saying, but you should never drive more than a short distance without checking the weather beforehand. With snow or freezing rain capable of hitting at any time during the winter months, it’s downright foolish to embark on a long trip without planning ahead.

If conditions are really poor, it’s likely in your best interest to cancel the trip altogether.

Plan your route ahead of time

Problems can arise if you’re concentrating the majority of your energy on where you’re supposed to go, instead of focusing on the surrounding traffic. Take some time before you leave and check out your route on Google Maps. While you should still use your GPS as a backup, it’s always a good idea to stay one step ahead of the curve.

If you’re confident in where you’re going, you won’t have to worry about any added distractions.  If you haven’t heard about the Waze app, look into downloading it (it’s free!).  Waze is the crowd-supported GPS app that not only knows how to get you anywhere, it can re-route you around traffic, contruction etc.

Pack a survival kit

While it may be uncomfortable to consider the possibility, you always run the risk of getting stranded on the road whenever you’re travelling a long distance. As a result, you should always come prepared.

Pack warm blankets, food and water, a candle, phone chargers and a lighter before you leave. You could also consider bringing a shovel and sand in case you get stuck in the snow. If you don’t already have roadside assistance, you should seriously consider it.  CAA is a solid, inexpensive option for roadside assistance.

Inspect your windshield wipers

Check your wiper blades to see if they’re damaged or worn out. If you haven’t replaced them in a few years, it’s probably time for a new set. You could have a difficult time seeing the road ahead if you’re driving when it’s snowing or freezing rain and your windshield wipers aren’t in good shape.

You should also top off your windshield washer fluid (and any other fluids for that matter) before leaving.

Bonus tip: Call ahead

Before leaving on any trip, let others (ideally a few people) know your intended destination and the route you plan to take.  If problems arise and you don’t arrive – someone can check up on you or let the appropriate authorities know.

Plan ahead and be safe this holiday season!

 

2018 Subaru Forester vs 2018 Toyota RAV4

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Posted on Nov 7, 2017

2018 Subaru Forester vs Toyota RAV4

Comparing the 2018 Toyota RAV to the 2018 Subaru Forester

When it comes to small SUVs, both the 2018 Subaru Forester and 2018 Toyota RAV4 are among the most popular options on the market. While both vehicles are considered strong options, there are a few factors that make one more appealing than the other.

Before we start it’s important to call out the elephant in the room, and that’s Subaru’s clear advantage, their best-in-the-business symmetrical all-wheel drive system on every Forester model. We’ll leave that out to give the RAV a fighting chance.

Read ahead to find out which is the better choice for you:

Fuel Economy

If fuel economy tends to be one of your deciding factors when picking a new car, you’ll be disappointed to hear that the difference between the two vehicles is almost negligible.

The Forester 2.5i boasts a fuel efficiency rating of 8.4 litres per 100 km on the highway (XT model 10L) and 13 litres per 100 km for city driving. The RAV4, meanwhile, has a fuel economy score of 12.5 litres per 100 km on the highway and roughly 9.8 litres per 100 km for city driving. Add in the fact that the two SUVs have the exact same fuel tank capacity, and you’re getting roughly the same bang for your buck on the average tank of gas no matter which car you choose.

Safety

As with most Subaru vehicles, safety is a focal point in this year’s Forester.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Forester a score of “good” in five of the six crashworthiness tests and a “superior” score in front crash prevention.

While the RAV4 also received a “good” score in five of the six crashworthiness tests, it also received a “poor” score in the passenger-side test.

It’s worth noting that both cars received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Size and space

If you’re looking for a comfy ride, the Subaru’s newest mini-SUV appears to be the way to go.  The Forester offers plenty of head, hip, shoulder, and legroom for all passengers, making it a great option for the whole family.

You won’t be cramped for space in the RAV4, but you also won’t have nearly the amount of room that the Forester has to offer.

Price

If you’re looking for great value, you can’t exactly go wrong with the new Subaru. When it comes to price, the 2018 Forester simply has the RAV4 beat. The Forester starts at just $25,995 (CAD), which is just incredibly good value for a brand new SUV. The RAV4 is more expensive, beginning at $27,605.

Verdict

Although both vehicles are undoubtedly solid options, the Forester ultimately trumps the RAV4 in a number of important categories, making it the most attractive choice for the majority of consumers. Add in Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive technology and the verdict is in.

The choice is still up to you at the end of the day, but you’re unlikely to regret your decision if you elect to go with the Forester.

Safe travels!

 

Top 5 Fall Road Trip Destinations in Ontario

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Posted on Oct 31, 2017

Best Fall Road Trip Destinations in Ontario

Top 5 Fall Road Trip Destinations in Ontario

With the weather cooling down and the leaves changing colour, it’s the perfect time to go on a road trip before the snow arrives.

Fortunately, there are a number of beautiful and scenic destinations throughout the province that are perfect for weekend getaways, so you won’t have to look far to find a suitable trip for you and your significant other.

Here are five of the top autumn road trip destinations around Ontario:

Tobermory

Head on down to the Bruce Peninsula if you’re interested in escaping the busy city for a few days.  Spend a day exploring the caves, hiking, or enjoying a nice picnic by the water. If you’re looking for a nice restaurant at nighttime, you should find plenty of suitable dinner options nearby.

If you’re looking for a nice place to say, many past tourists have had nothing but good things to say about the Princess Hotel.

1,000 Islands

If you’re more focused on planning a romantic getaway, check out the 1000 Islands in Gananoque. There are a number of resorts and inns in the area, so you should have no issue finding an affordable option for two.

Whatever you do, make sure to check out the 1000 Islands Tower if you’re not too afraid of heights. It’s a sight to behold.

Hamilton Falls

If you’re looking for a great scenic spot, you can’t go wrong with Dundas Peak. Dundas Peak is one of several beautiful waterfalls located in the Hamilton region. The waterfalls may not be worthy of an entire weekend getaway, they are perfect for anyone looking for a fun day trip.

While Dundas Peak is largely considered the nicest waterfall, Tews Falls is actually the tallest in the area, standing at an incredible 41-meters high.

Forks of the Credit

If hiking is your thing, grab your boots and head on down to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. Located in Caledon, Forks of the Credit features some of the most breathtaking trails in the province. If you’re not much of a hiker, you can always bring your bike to check out some of the beautiful scenery.

As an added bonus, you should have no problem capturing a mesmerizing photo for your next Instagram post.

Prince Edward County

Few places in Ontario are as breathtaking as Prince Edward County in the fall. If you’re looking to do something during the day, there are a number of events taking place in the area throughout the month of November. If none of those tickle your fancy, you may be interested in going on a tour at one of the local wineries.

Most of the area’s tourists typically arrive in the summer, so you won’t have to worry about large crowds if you happen to travel to Prince Edward County in the coming weeks.

Safe travels!  #GetOutThere

 

 

2018 Toyota Camry vs 2018 Subaru Legacy

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Posted on Oct 24, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry vs 2018 Subaru Legacy

A bite-size comparison between the 2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Subaru Legacy

If you’re in the market for a new mid-size sedan, you’d be remiss not to include the 2018 Subaru Legacy and 2018 Toyota Camry among your options.

Both cars are sound choices for anyone looking to upgrade their current vehicle, possessing a number of unique features that should be attractive to any car buyer. Here’s a quick breakdown of the two vehicles:

Technology

If you’re someone who likes to plug your smartphone in and listen to music or podcasts while you drive, you’ll be disappointed to hear that the Camry does not support either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – two systems that are available in the new Legacy.

Toyota has decided to use a Linux-powered infotainment system instead for its 2018 model, going its own route instead of teaming up with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

The Legacy comes with “Subaru Starlink” – which ranks as one of the top infotainment systems on the market.

Fuel Efficiency

No matter which car you choose, you won’t have to worry about spending a fortune at the pump. The 2018 Legacy boasts a combined fuel economy rating of 12.5 litres per 100 km, while the Camry comes in slightly ahead, with a combined rating of 11 litres per 100 km.

At the end of the day, neither is much of a gas guzzler, especially if you do a lot of highway driving.

Price

Both the 2018 Legacy and 2018 Camry come at affordable prices for the average consumer. The Legacy starts at $24,995, which is simply incredible value for a car of this class.

The Camry, meanwhile, begins at $26,390, while the hybrid starts at $31,290.

Neither is overly expensive, especially given the expected longevity of both vehicles. However, if you’re under a tighter budget, the Legacy would appear to be the better option.

Safety

As with most Subaru vehicles, the Legacy is absolutely loaded with cool safety features, including adaptive headlights and high-beams, tire-pressure monitoring, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, to name a few.

However, Subaru’s legend was born on the back of their industry leading symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

The Camry offers a number of safety features of its own, but doesn’t have as extensive of a list as its Subaru competitor.

Both vehicles performed well in crash tests, receiving “good” scores across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Neither vehicle has been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but both cars received five-star ratings for their 2017 editions.

Verdict

While both vehicles are reasonable options for any consumer looking to purchase a new mid-size sedan, many would agree that the Legacy offers a better bang for your buck.

Considering the Legacy not only starts at a cheaper price, but also offers better safety and infotainment features, it seems like a no-brainer to purchase Subaru’s newest mid-size sedan.

 

Honda Civic vs. Subaru Impreza

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Posted on Oct 17, 2017

Honda Civic vs Subaru Impreza

If you’re in the market for a new compact car, you’ve probably considered both the Honda Civic and the Subaru Impreza as potential options.

While there are certainly similarities between the two vehicles, each offers its own unique features for their respective 2018 models, potentially making one more attractive than the other for a prospective buyer.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Read ahead to find out how the two cars match up:

LOOKS

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s really just a matter of opinion as to which car has the better style.  In all fairness, both models are super sleek and should have no problem catching the eye of a passer-by.

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza

SAFETY

When it comes to safety, few compact vehicles can hold a candle to the 2018 Impreza.

Every Impreza is filled with an abundance of safety features, including a rear view monitor, electronic traction, stability control, incline-start assist, and of course Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive – the best in the business. They also all feature front side-impact, side-curtain, and driver’s knee airbags.

The Impreza once again performed exceptionally well in safety tests, earning five stars in every crash test measured by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) made the 2018 model one of its top safety picks.

Subaru Impreza interior

Subaru Impreza interior

While the Civic is also rated highly among the NHTSA and the IIHS, there is still room for improvement. The 2018 model received four stars for front-crash safety (compared to a five-star rating for the Subaru Impreza), with poor headlights also bringing down its rating.

Although the Civic offers some quality safety features, the list is not nearly as extensive as the Impreza’s.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

Both the Civic and the Impreza offer strong fuel efficiency ratings, helping consumers to save a little extra at the pump.

While the numbers change slightly depending on the model, the Impreza uses roughly 10-11 litres per 100 kilometers, while the Civic uses about 9-10 litres per 100 kilometers for city driving. Of course, these figures improve a bit on the highway.

At the end of the day, you won’t have to worry about either vehicle guzzling too much of your pay cheque.

PRICE

Consumers will be happy to hear that both vehicles come at very affordable prices. The 2018 Impreza starts at just $19,995, while the 2018 Civic DX starts at $18,457.

While the Subaru Impreza may be slightly more expensive, it also comes with more safety features.

VERDICT?

The choice is yours. While your eyes may be immediately drawn towards the Civic because of the cheaper price tag, remember that the reason you’re looking for a 2018 model is that modern-day safety features are important to you. If that’s the case, hello Impreza.

 

How to prepare for your Fall Road Trip

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Posted on Oct 10, 2017

How to prepare for your Fall Road Trip

How to prepare for your road trip this fall

Thanksgiving just passed and Halloween is a few weeks away, meaning Fall 2017 is officially in full swing. With the leaves changing colour and the temperature starting to cool, there’s no better time than now to plan a scenic road trip.

Here are few things you should remember before embarking on your weekend getaway:

Get your car serviced

Before you go anywhere, it’s important to get your car checked ahead of time to see if it’s as ready as you are.

Change your oil, get your fluids checked, get your tires rotated, and have your air filter cleaned. Sure, it may be money you’d rather spend elsewhere, but it’s a heck of a lot better than enjoying the fall colour stuck on the side of the road.

Bring snacks

No brainer ehh?!

Update your phone

It’s 2017, which means your smartphone is likely the most important item you’ll bring. Update your contact list, create playlists for the drive, and download any apps that could be useful.  Especially an app like Waze.  Also, don’t forget to bring a charger!

Take breaks

While you may feel the urge to continue driving to ensure you make good time, it’s more important that you stop and take a break every once in a while.  If you’re with other people who have their license, don’t be afraid to divvy up the driving – especially if it’s a long trip. This will ensure you’ll be alert when you’re behind the wheel and that you can enjoy the fall colour as a passenger.

Don’t overpack

While it may seem like a smart idea to prepare for any situation, it’s better if you don’t overpack for your trip.  More room, less weight, less stuff… traveling light is the way to go.

Prep Work

Google is a wonderful tool in preparing for your roadie – you likely used it to find this blog!  Road maps, routes and tips are plentiful.  But better yet, the Fall Cololur Reports for Ontario are a very handy tool for getting your timing just right.

Bonus tip

Don’t forget your camera!

 

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