Servicing

DSC_0113A motor vehicle service is a series of maintenance procedures carried out at a set time interval or after the vehicle has travelled a certain distance. The service intervals are specified by the vehicle manufacturer in a service schedule and some modern cars display the due date for the next service electronically on the instrument panel.

The completed services are usually recorded in a service book which is rubber stamped by the service centre upon completion of each service. A complete service history usually adds to the resale value of a vehicle.

At the auto clinic we tailor your service with driving habits, owner’s manual and of course your budget! We work with you to provide exceptional service. In addition to any regular service we offer and can arrange new car warranty procedures to be performed by the dealer when needed (while the vehicle is in our care). Drive clean emission testing, detailing, shuttle service and car rental are all things we can assist you with.

Maintenance tasks commonly carried out during a motor vehicle service Include:

  • Change the engine oil, oil filter, grease and lubricate components, check condition of the tires and brakes and suspension.
  • Check all fluid levels and their condition.
  • Check condition of belts and hoses.
  • Check service intervals of fuel filter, spark plugs and timing belt.

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Air Conditioning Service

If my A/C system is not cooling properly, can I damage it if I keep using it anyway?

Is liquid dripping from the bottom of my vehicle normal when using the A/C?

What is wrong with my A/C if it is emitting a musty smell from the vents?

Belts and Hoses

What is the purpose of the notches on an aftermarket V-belt?

 

Heating and Air Conditioning

Radiator and Cap – Radiator uses air flow to dissipate heat from coolant and the rad cap controls system pressure lowering the boiling point.
Orifice Tube / Expansion Valve – Controls refrigerant flow in the A/C system.
Accumulator / Receiver / Drier Tank – Used on low/high pressure side to filter refrigerant.
Condenser – Dissipates heat from refrigerant and changes its state from gas to liquid.
Lines and Hoses – Circulates refrigerant through the system.
Compressor with Clutch – Compresses/pumps refrigerant within the A/C system.
Evaporator – Uses refrigerant to remove heat from the passenger compartment.
Pressure Sensor – Detects refrigerant pressure in the A/C system.

 

Brakes

What does it mean when my vehicle’s brake warning light appears?

How can I change my driving habits to make my brake pads last longer?

Should my vehicle get any related brake services while the pads/rotors are being replaced?

Heating and Air Conditioning

Radiator and Cap – Radiator uses air flow to dissipate heat from coolant and the rad cap controls system pressure lowering the boiling point. Orifice Tube / Expansion Valve – Controls refrigerant flow in the A/C system. Accumulator / Receiver / Drier Tank – Used on low/high pressure side to filter refrigerant. Condenser – Dissipates heat from refrigerant and changes its state from gas to liquid. Lines and Hoses – Circulates refrigerant through the system. Compressor with Clutch – Compresses/pumps refrigerant within the A/C system. Evaporator – Uses refrigerant to remove heat from the passenger compartment. Pressure Sensor – Detects refrigerant pressure in the A/C system.

Tune Ups

It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up

Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels. The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune" the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts. As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically through the widespread use of onboard computer technology. Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles. "There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."

As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected:

  • Battery, charging and starting
  • Engine mechanical
  • Powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
  • Fuel
  • Ignition
  • Emissions
Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation, preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a friend or family member. To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. . . Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!
Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
  • Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.
  • Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual-more often (every 5,000 km’s or 6-10,000km’s for synthetics) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
  • Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 8,000 km’s . Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
  • Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Emergencies - Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.

Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure—an inconvenience anytime it occurs--can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. Besides, a well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price. Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.
  • Engine Performance - Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, etc.
  • Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.
  • Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual—more often (every 5,000 kms for standard grade or 6- 10,000 km for synthetics ) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
  • Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed , when recommended . The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase graphite (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.
  • Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.
  • Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
  • Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
  • Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
  • Carry emergency gear: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.
Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.

Brakes

Often, brakes have wear indicators that produce noise when it’s time to change the pads. Or your brakes may “feel” different when you press on them. If you think there may be a problem with your vehicle’s brakes, have them inspected .Proper servicing maximizes performance and service life of your brakes.

Oil and Oil Filters

Having your oil and oil filter changed, at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer, is likely to generate the single biggest return on your routine-maintenance investment. Replacing the dirty oil and filter will help protect the internal parts of the engine from premature wear. It’s important to use the recommended grade of oil for your vehicle for the best protection and fuel mileage. See your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval, or follow the oil-life monitoring system, if equipped. If you are unsure, the industry guideline is 5000km or 3 months or for regular oils. Remember you cannot damage your engine by changing your oil too often.

Charging / Battery

Extreme heat and cold are hard on automotive batteries. Heat from the summer increases the internal battery temperatures allowing the lead plates to corrode and deteriorate. The higher the internal battery temperature plus the number of times the battery reaches a high internal temperature affects and reduces battery service life. BAM! in comes Cooler Weather . The cooler the ambient temperature (below 26 C) the more energy is required from the battery in order to start a vehicles engine. Cooler temperatures also result in a reduction of the battery's recharge efficiency, and increasing the risk of failure. Don't get stuck out in the Cold - Have your Battery and charging system tested spring and fall.

Cooling System Service

Your vehicles cooling system is crucial to making the engine last longer and perform better. An improperly maintained cooling system can result in the overheating of the engine, which in turn can cause major component failures within. The cooling system is a pressurized circulation system that consists of 5 major pieces.

The Water pump: Which is a mechanical pump that circulates the engine coolant/anti-freeze through the radiator and back to the engine.

The Thermostat: the t-stat is a temperature sensitive orifice in the cooling system that opens and closes according to engine temperature to regulate the flow of coolant/anti-freeze through the radiator and back to the engine. This allows for the engine to be run at specific temperatures to optimize the performance and emissions levels of the vehicle.

The Radiator: The radiator is basically a finned box mounted at the front of the vehicle that the coolant is forced through so that air may pass across it and cool the anti-freeze/coolant. They are covered in fins that act as heat syncs to help dissipate the heat. 

The Cooling fan: The cooling fan is located directly behind the radiator, whether the vehicle is front or rear wheel drive. Its job is to pull air through the radiator at lower vehicle speeds to keep it from over-heating. Cooling fans can either be mechanical (belt driven on the engine) or electric (mounted on the radiator, temperature controlled)

Drive belts/hoses: All of the antifreeze/coolant in your vehicle is pumped through several hoses. Maintaining them is crucial to preventing serious engine damage from over-heating. Visually inspect the hoses for leakage, cracks or abrasions and the general integrity of the hose. Replace any that are questionable. The drive belt/belts should be inspected regularly as well.

Always follow the manufacturers recommendations on how often and which particular anti-freeze/coolant to use. For more extreme conditions it never hurts to shorten the service interval a few miles. Remember, take care of your car and it will take care of you.

Shocks / Struts

The suspension system affects your vehicle’s steering, braking power, and stability, so it’s important to have these functions inspected regularly and to replace parts when they become worn — and dangerous!. It’s also important to have other chassis items, such as tie-rod ends, control arms, and ball joints, checked periodically.

Transmission

Automatic transmissions have become more sophisticated with additional gears and computerized electronic controls and are designed to work with the engine controls for best operation. Have the transmission inspected and serviced as recommended in the owner’s manual.

Air Conditioning

There’s nothing worse in the summer than an air conditioning system that doesn’t cool you down in the car. Have yours inspected if any of the following symptoms are present: • The air blowing out of the vents is cool, but not as cold as it used to be. • Performance is spotty or intermittent—it will blow cold, but seems to cut out for a while before blowing cold again. • The floor is inexplicably wet. (The water drain hole may be plugged.) • There is excessive noise when the AC is on. • There is an odor—if it smells like a musty gym locker when the AC is on, have the system inspected right away for mold or bacteria that likes to grow in dark, damp places, like the evaporator. A comprehensive evaluation of heating and A/C system includes:
  • Examining the internal controls and blower
  • Checking radiator coolant operating temperature, hoses, pressure radiator cap and thermostat
  • Inspecting the compressor belt
  • Inspecting system and seals for leaks or various other damages.
  • A cooling system pressure test
  • Verifying the A/C pressure meets manufacturer specifications
  • Measuring the interior vent air temperature

Having the right tire is essential for safety

To begin with, the role of tires is to provide vehicle acceleration and braking at the tire-to-road contact area, to steer the vehicle predictability with control and precision, to support the vehicle load and allow the vehicle to roll smoothly. Seems like a big job for those 4 round black rubber things we all have on our vehicles doesn’t it!! Tires are the only touch points between us as the drivers of our vehicles and the highways. They provide the traction and control to navigate the highways, soften those pesky bumps and potholes, and keep us safe as we corner and pass others on the roads. And yet it seems as if we are the least educated about purchasing replacement tires and for maintaining them. Tires are specifically designed for the vehicles we own and drive. The coding for all tires is located on the outside wall and indicates the following: EXAMPLE: P195/60R16 63H M+S P - Type of tire (P=passenger) 195 - Width of the tire across the tread in millimeters 60 - Aspect ratio of the sidewall compared to the width R - Radial construction 16 - Diameter of the rim in inches 63 - Tire's load rating H - Tire's speed rating M+S - Tire is suitable for all-season driving (M=mud and S=snow) We need to determine how we drive, where we drive, and under what conditions we drive. Then we need to make sure that we have the right tires for our vehicle. The local tire dealer will be able to help you find the right tires for your vehicle. And after the purchase is made, you need to do our P.A.R.T. to care for them: -PRESSURE-Under inflation is a tires #1 enemy. It results in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, possible loss of control and accidents. A tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and not appear to be flat! Make sure your tires are properly inflated. -ALIGNMENT- Is your vehicle pulling to one side, or shaking? A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have a tire dealer check the alignment periodically to ensure that your car is properly aligned. -ROTATION-Promotes uniform tire wear. Regularly rotating your vehicle's tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle owner's manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 5,000 miles. Schedule your appointments for tire rotation and keep them. -TREAD-Measure it and inspect it. Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also check for signs of damage. Visit your tire dealer regularly. Inasmuch as 65% of all vehicle maintenance is handled by women, it is imperative that we all understand tire selection and tire maintenance and its role in creating a safe environment for our families. Having the correct tires and maintaining them also impacts fuel economy performance of your vehicle.