FAQ - St. Thomas Auto Repair - The Auto Guys

The Auto Guys

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Customers are always asking how to save money.

Here are some ideas that may help!

How to get up to 5 times the life from your brakes.

When your vehicle rolls off the assembly line it will require regular maintenance, starting after 5000 to 8000 kms. Putting off this maintenance will only cost you more in the long run.

Your vehicle’s brake system is included. During manufacture no external lubricants are applied to reduce costs. After a harsh winter, corrosion causes moving brake parts to seize up. This will cause premature wear. Have your brakes inspected twice a year or every 15000 kms. Annual servicing keeps the brake parts moving, minimizing wear and maximizing performance. Even if the brakes seem to work fine, have them inspected. It will save you money. Remember maintenance costs far less than repair.

Fluid exchanges prolong component life.

We always think about changing the engine oil but what about all the other fluids? Fresh fluid minimizes wear and tear and prolongs the life of the component housing the fluid. Let’s talk money. The transmission is a vital part of any vehicle. Replacement costs vary from $2000 to $10,000. A complete fluid exchange costs on average $165 to $250 depending on fluid type and quantity. By spending an average of $330 to $500 in five years, you would dramatically extend the life of the transmission. This would be a wise decision. The same would apply for other fluid exchanges.

Tune ups can minimize emissions, maximize fuel economy and performance, and improve dependability.

Todays engines are considerably more powerful and fuel efficient than those only 10 years ago. Because our driving styles are different and vehicles are driven in urban commuter traffic, they can get clogged up with harmful deposits from short trips and poor fuel quality. They all need regular maintenance to maintain peak performance. Fuel injectors need cleaning every 20,000 to 30,000 km. Intake and combustion cleaning at the same interval as well. Spark plugs also require changing well before the manufacturer interval. A little money spent on maintenance keeps engines running longer and saves you in fuel costs.

Engine timing system

A broken timing belt can stop your vehicle instantly sometimes with catastrophic damage to the engine. Vehicle manufacturers recommend timing belt replacement at specific intervals to prevent breakdown. Significant engine damage can occur if the belt is not replaced. The major causes of timing belt failure are worn tensioners , worn pulleys and cracked or oil soaked belts. Timing belt replacement costs far less than major engine repairs. By following the manufacturer’s guide you will spend less on maintenance than repair.

Tips & Tricks

Can I drive through water on the road?

Yes, providing you go slowly, and the water does not cover the tires at the bottom of the rims. Drive close to the center of the road and watch ahead for water levels. Never enter water you cannot cross on foot or water 6 inches or midway up your tires.

How do I get my car moving if I become stuck in snow or mud?

Get the vehicle rocking and resist spinning the tires, especially in the snow. Clear debris from in front of all tires to make it easier to drive out.

Am I responsible for peeling license plates?

If the lamination on your plate(s) is peeling or bubbling, please visit a Service Ontario Centre to get them replaced. You must bring both plates in for replacement, even if only one has peeling or bubbling.

Why do my turn signals flash faster then they used to?

A fast-blinking turn signal usually indicates that a turn-signal bulb is burned out on that side. Get the lights checked and repaired.

Can I change the oil myself and still maintain my warranty?

No. Most manufacturers want proof of service at a reputable shop for warranty purposes.

Do I need to have my vehicle serviced at the dealer to maintain my warranty?

No, but keep all maintenance receipts showing oil type quantity and filters used. You can have your car serviced anywhere and still maintain the manufacturer’s warranty. You can bring the car to an independent shop, or even another dealership that’s not the same car brand as your car.

Before I buy a vehicle, I should:

  1. Get it inspected by a trusted technician for rust or paint damage, inspection of the frame
  2. Look for recalls
  3. Get a buyers package from the MTO
  4. Look into reviews for the vehicle
  5. Check for any service records and repairs done
  6. Check insurance rates and are there any insurance claims
  7. How long have they owned it and why are they selling it
  8. CARFAX Report

Should you warm up your vehicle before driving?

When temperatures drop during winter, it’s a good idea to let the car run for about a minute. In terms of comfort, when you drive the car, it’s going to warm up in just a few minutes vs. idling for 15 or 20 minutes. Extended idling just wastes gas.

Does the air conditioner affect my fuel economy?

In short, yes. Air conditioning requires energy to operate. Everything you use in your car needs the energy to run. If your car doesn’t have a hybrid drive system, that energy is coming from your gas tank via your engine.

What should I keep in my car for winter driving?

Sturdy ice scraper and snow brush, Shovel, Gloves and other winter clothing, Blanket, Emergency flares or reflectors, Rock salt, sand, or kitty litter (non-clumping) First aid kit, Extra windshield washer fluid, Flashlight, Rope or chain, Jumper cables, Cell phone charger, Sunglasses, Water, and non-perishable snacks.

Do I need to rustproof my vehicle?

If you’d like to own your vehicle for a long time – or if you plan on selling it soon – rustproofing your car will make it last for years and give it more curb appeal. That’ll increase its resale value if you ever decide to sell your car. Regular washes remove harmful salt and debris to protect the finish.

What should I do if my vehicle is part of a recall?

When a recall goes out, the manufacturer will typically provide the necessary repairs free of charge. The owner, however, is responsible for scheduling the repair and bringing the car to an authorized mechanic.

Should I fold up my wipers in the event of freezing rain?

No, because it puts a strain on the wiper arm and exposes the plastic gears and other mechanical components that could be weakened or damaged by forceful wind gusts. A popular trick that can be used anytime, is plastic bags. You will need about two bags to cover each windshield wiper. Bags can also be tied around your side mirrors to prevent them from freezing over.

Can I use premium fuel?

For most vehicles, it makes no difference. For vehicles where it is recommended, it should be used, or performance issues will appear. Premium fuel does not have ethanol and does have more additives for performance. Using regular unleaded gas in a car that requires premium fuel reduces engine performance and can cause damage over time.

What should I do when the check engine light comes on?

A steady check engine light indicates a non-emergency issue, such as a loose gas cap. Flashing check engine lights warn of severe situations requiring immediate attention. Standardized diagnostic codes help identify the trouble.

How often should I change my wiper blades?

It is recommended every 1- 2 years. Remember to replace them in pairs. If one is worn out, its mate can’t be far behind. Don’t forget to check the rear wiper blade if your vehicle has one. Even though it may not get as much use as the front wipers, it is exposed to the elements. Cleaning them with rubbing alcohol will prolong them by removing dirt and chemicals.

When should I change my winter tires?

The best time is before the temperature drops below 7 C, or before the first snowfall. Many motorists install winter tires in October. I encourage people to go that route and make it an annual routine.

Do I need winter tires?

They are not mandatory but are proven to improve handling in the winter. Ontario also offers an incentive to get you driving on winter tires. This could be as much as a 5% reduction in your insurance premium.

What filters are in my vehicle?

Engine Air, Cabin Air Transmission Filter Fuel Filter, Power Steering Filter, and Diesel Filter Water.
Separator in diesel vehicles.

What fluids are in my vehicle?

Engine oil, transmission, transfer case, differential, power steering, brake fluid, coolant, and air conditioning refrigerant, window washer fluid, and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in diesel vehicles.

Do I need to get my brakes inspected?

Ideally, you should have your brakes inspected once every six months. Most people have this done at the same time as they have their tires rotated, so they don’t forget.

How much oil does my vehicle need?

If your vehicle has a dipstick (yellow or orange handle) make sure the vehicle is on level ground, the engine is off and has sat for 2 – 3 minutes. The stick should be wiped clean and put back in the engine. The correct level will be between low and high. Do not overfill.

How do I find out what oil my vehicle takes?

You can usually find the oil grade stamped on the engine oil cap, or you can find the type and grade in your car’s owner’s manual or maintenance guide. Use the proper grade and type, either conventional or synthetic.

How long do batteries last?

Most can last 3-5 years but need to be tested every oil change. If they are weak, the charging system must work harder, so don’t put off a replacement. Always use the recommended type for your vehicle.

When should I get my tires balanced and aligned?

Get your tire balance checked when the tires are rotated (10,000 – 15,000 km).
Alignments are recommended yearly or 25,000 km.

How often should I change the oil in my vehicle and what type should I use?

A general rule of thumb is:
Conventional oil – 5,000 -7,000 km
Synthetic oil – 7,000 — 10,000 KM

What kind of washer fluid should I use?

A premium fluid rated at -40 or better is best. These have good cleaners that clear dirt and salt from your windshield.

How much air should I put in my tires?

On the driver’s door pillar, there is a decal showing recommended pressures and tire size. Pressure should be checked cold.

Why does my "check engine" light come on?

This light comes on when the engine management computer gets a bad signal from one of many sensors on the engine, exhaust system and fuel system. Have it inspected right away to ensure maximum performance and fuel economy.

What is the correct tire pressure for me and how often should I check it?

All vehicles need specific tire pressures. When the Driver’s door is open there should be a decal showing the recommended tire size and tire pressures recommended by the manufacturer. Use a good quality tire pressure gauge to set the pressure. Pressures should be checked monthly.

Do I have to have my car serviced by the dealership to have it covered by my warranty?

You do not need to have your vehicle serviced at the dealer to maintain your warranty. This is where documentation is very important showing the type of oil, quantity, and approved oil filter.

How often should I have my oil changed?

If you are leasing the vehicle only go by the manufacturer’s recommended intervals because you will be turning the vehicle back in.

Regular service prevents early engine failure and oil leaks so you may want to shorten the intervals. Oil changes are a good investment in prolonging engine life. There are other fluids that need regular changes as well.

How do I check my coolant level?

The coolant level should be visible in the reservoir in the engine bay. If you need the level in the radiator checked bring it to us.

How do you know when to change your brakes?

Brakes need annual inspections to monitor wear. Regular servicing will prolong the life of the brakes. Call us to schedule an appointment if the brakes have not been inspected for a while.

Do I have to go to my dealership for all services?

Reputable shops that use quality products that are warranty approved can perform most maintenance services.

Why is my AC not blowing cold?

Most often it is because the refrigerant has leaked out causing the system to shut down. A proper inspection will find the reason. Call us to make an appointment.

How to make my car last longer?

Regular maintenance and undercoating will prolong your vehicle life.

What is the Auto Guys service area?

We service the London, Belmont, St. Thomas, Pt. Stanley and Aylmer areas. We are also the only CAA approved facility in the St. Thomas area.

Can a flat tire be repaired?

Most tires can be repaired as long as the puncture is in the main tread area. Sometimes there are leaks around the valve stem or bead which can easily be repaired.