Car Care Tips

Mercury Rising (Hot Weather Vehicle Concerns)

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

The heat is on, and your vehicle takes a beating when it is.  Several of your vehicle's systems are under extra stress in hot weather, so here are a few to make sure are getting the care and maintenance they need.

It makes sense that the cooling system is one to make sure is in top shape.  Vehicle breakdowns in summer are often due to a problem with one of the cooling system's components.  Coolant levels have to be up to specs, the ratio of coolant to water must be correct and the hoses, pumps, belts and radiator must all be working properly in order to prevent vehicle overheating.

Summer is also hard on your air conditioning system.  You might find that no air is blowing out of the vents or maybe only hot air is coming out.  Air conditioning equipment is best diagnosed and repaired by a trained and experienced technician.  The problem could be in any number of components, including the condenser, compressor or blower motor.

You may think the battery gets a break in the summer, but heat will shorten the life of your battery more quickly than cold.  Your service facility can analyze the condition of your battery and tell you whether it's healthy or needs replacing.

Tires take a beating in heat, too.  Pavement can be scorching hot, and the sun's rays break down the rubber.  Watch inflation pressure in hot weather, too, since air expands the hotter it gets.  Your technician can check air pressure, tread depth, cupping and other uneven wear and diagnose the source of any problems. 

And don't forget brakes.  One video online says brakes on a car that were driven hard on a track reached temperatures as high as 500°C/932°F.  Heat can reduce stopping power.  A technician should periodically inspect pads, rotors, drums, lines and other components to find a problem before you lose the ability to stop.

Finally, engine oil is really put to the test when it gets hot.  Your vehicle service facility will make sure you have enough oil and the proper kind to keep your engine's components properly lubricated.  Help your vehicle beat the heat.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

The Cable Guy (Battery Cables and Maintenance)

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

If you've ever noticed your vehicle's lights are dim or not working at all, the problem could be many things.  But one possibility is your battery cables aren't doing their job.  A power outage in your vehicle is similar to one in your house and needs to be repaired to get things back to normal.

Battery cables connect your vehicle's battery to the vehicle itself.  There is a positive cable when provides the power and a negative cable that connects to the vehicle chassis and provides a ground for electrical components. 

A failing battery cable may cause your vehicle not to start.  Your starter may turn over very slowly.  Or you may just hear a series of clicks.  One other clue is on your dash—the battery warning light. 

There are many things that can cause power issues in a vehicle, but it's important to keep battery cables clean and maintained.  Salt and corrosion are enemies to any power system.  A technician can keep things in top shape, disconnecting the cables, inspecting them and cleaning their ends and the battery terminals.  Cables, by the way, are often made up of smaller strands of wire.  If they are frayed, some of those smaller wires can touch metal parts of the vehicles that they shouldn't.  The result? Electrical system malfunctions.

So if you see any of these signs that something is not quite right with the power in your vehicle, consult your service advisor and get it checked out.  Feel the power!

Lube Town offers a free battery check.  Simply drive up to any of our service bays.   No appointment is needed.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

What's in a Number? (What Tire Numbers Mean)

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

You've probably never paid much attention to the writing on the sides of your tires, but they contain a wealth of information.  There's a long combination of letters and numbers that can tell you a whole lot about what tires your vehicle was designed to be riding on.  Let's check out this example found on an SUV: P245/70R17 108T.

The first letter, P, means it's intended for passenger vehicles.  If there's no letter, it means it's a metric tire.  If there's an LT at the beginning or end that means a tire designed for light trucks.

Moving on to our example, the 245 shows how wide the tire is in millimeters from sidewall to sidewall.  The number that follows in our example, 70, means the height of the tire is 70% of its width.  The letter after that in our example, R, describes the type of tire (on this vehicle, radial).  Following that is the diameter in inches, in our SUV example, 17 inches. 

How much load the tires' sidewalls are designed to take is what that next number is all about (108 in our example).  The higher the load index, the more weight the sidewalls can take.  And the last letter is the speed rating of the tire, in our example, T.  The further along in the alphabet that letter is, the higher its speed rating.  So now you know what those letters and numbers mean.  But why are they important?

When you are getting ready to replace those tires, those numbers are telling you what the original equipment was when your vehicle was new.  Sticking with the same rated tires is always a good idea.  If you don't know what you're doing, trying different sized tires and wheels can cause real issues when it comes to performance and safety, considering all the computerized systems now found on vehicles.  When in doubt, consult your service advisor when it comes to buying new tires.  He or she knows what those tire numbers and letters mean… and a whole lot more.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

 

Differential Service at Lube Town: Viva la Difference

Monday 2nd of May 2022

 

Every vehicle on Okotoks roads has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle.  But most Alberta residents don't have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the vehicle must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Have you ever seen the large bulge in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That's the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV's have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You'd be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don't want your differential to seize up. That results in damage to your vehicle.

So you need to have your vehicle differential serviced regularly. It's not a complicated job. At Lube Town in Alberta, we've been servicing differentials for years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Alberta service center will ensure you are getting what your vehicle needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner's manual or Lube Town service advisor to find out how often your vehicle differential needs to be serviced.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

How to Radiate Cool (Radiator Care)

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

There's nothing that radiates cool like a vehicle radiator that's helping to keep your engine running at the proper temperature.  You don't have to baby it, but you can't simply ignore it, either. 

Let's take a quick dive under the hood to let you know what the radiator is doing.  It takes the heat your engine produces and moves that heat outside.  It's not an easy job and heat is an engine's number one enemy.  Now that you're thinking how nice you want to be to your radiator, we have a couple of ideas how you can take care of it.

The easiest thing is to pay attention to your vehicle's temperature gauge. If it gets in the "too hot" or "not hot enough" range, have it checked out soon.  Make sure your coolant is kept at the correct level and if you see a trend that you have to add coolant more than a couple of times a year, you might have a leak.

Ask your Lube Town service advisor when you should have your radiator fluid (coolant) replaced according to the manufacturer's recommended intervals.  In addition to cooling, coolant has corrosion inhibitors that stop working after a while.  Without those corrosion inhibitors, the inside of your radiator can literally start rotting away.  Keep in mind that the coolant level must be kept at the manufacturer's specifications since if those corrosion-preventing chemicals aren't touching the metal, they're not preventing corrosion. 

Different vehicles use different coolants, so your service facility will make sure yours is getting the correct one.  Keep your coolant system happy and one day, maybe you can order up a custom license plate, "RAY-D-8."

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

Hey Alberta Drivers, How Many Miles Are on Your Car?

Monday 11th of April 2022



Nowadays, Alberta drivers are paying more at gas pumps. For some families it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That's got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many Alberta drivers are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.

Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local Alberta, Okotoks, roads have over 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in the Alberta area can't afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a breakdown. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.

Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many owner's manuals don't publish service intervals after 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). Thus, Alberta drivers need to be better at keeping records and planning for preventive maintenance.

You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you're past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers). Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) for as long as you have your car.

Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some automotive experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners' manual or service advisor at Lube Town to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.

And keeping current with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your vehicle.

Another equally important reason is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.

And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain  additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.


With a high-mileage vehicle, a couple of relationships will become pretty important to Alberta drivers. The first is with your service advisor at Lube Town. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget and for the Alberta, Okotoks, area driving conditions. 


The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We're not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean - pay attention and get to know your vehicle. NThen you can describe the changes to your service advisor at Lube Town and head off problems. We can't do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local Calgary & Okotoks roads.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

Don't Do It Yourself (Perils of DIY Vehicle Repair)

Monday 4th of April 2022

Your vehicle is a complicated machine, and yes, it would be nice if you could take care of all of its problems yourself.  There was a time when vehicles were simpler and it wasn't too hard for a weekend mechanic to replace brakes, adjust a carburetor or perform a tune-up.  But vehicles are far more complicated these days, with traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, air bags and fuel injection just a small sample of the new technologies. 

Like a lot of things these days, technology changes in leaps and bounds.  Anyone who repairs vehicles has to stay up on the latest computers, sensors, suspensions, steering, electronics, hydraulics and more.  Many power steering, braking and heating and air conditioning systems that used to be mechanical are now being replaced by electronic systems.  Computers are an integral part of  much of the latest automotive technology, something you didn't see a lot of until as recently as the 1990s.

Today's most highly-trained technicians are able to keep up with how to perform the latest repairs and service by continuing education about their craft.  When once an auto repairman could do fine with a lift and a good set of tools, now specialized electronic analysis equipment and tools are must-haves when it comes to vehicle repair.

Because of how fast technology changes, access to the latest repair databases and manuals is also important.  Manufacturers require certain service procedures to be performed precisely, and any other way can leave a vehicle compromised when it comes to performance and safety. 

Your vehicle is capable of traveling at high speeds on challenging surfaces with ever-increasing traffic issues and unpredictable obstacles.  You need your vehicle to be working up to its engineered potential.  That's why you should leave repairs and service to professionals.  They work on vehicles every day, and years of experience with hundreds of repairs equip them to deal with the unexpected as well as the routine. 

When you develop a trusting relationship with a reputable service facility, you can have confidence that the maintenance, service and repairs are being done by people who know what they're doing.  Your safety and your vehicle's performance and reliability are well worth it.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

Drivers that "T" Us Off (Bad Driving Practices)

Monday 28th of March 2022

We've all seen drivers who do things that—let's be frank—really irritate us.  They're inconsiderate, can put people in danger and make the road a much less friendly place.  They really "T" us off.  These are the bad drivers who fit their description to a "T." 

  • The Tailgater.  You've seen this terrible driver who follows a few inches off the bumper of the vehicle ahead.  We all know what's going to happen if the driver ahead of the tailgater has to slam on the brakes.  And we've all been that driver followed by the tailgater, whose vehicle fills up your entire rearview mirror.  The tailgater is likely not in a great frame of mind and, thanks to his or her stupid driving practices, the "tailgatee" is getting pretty ticked off as well.  That's a formula for a big problem. Know anybody who respects or likes a tailgater? Didn't think so
  • The Texter. All sorts of people think they are perfectly capable of texting while driving.  It's not hard to spot them.  They're usually going more slowly than other drivers.  They may be weaving in and out of their lane.  They're looking down at their phone, not at the road.  At a stoplight, they're the ones who sit there for 30 seconds after the light has turned green.  Did you know a recent study found that a quarter of all accidents involve someone who is texting and driving?
  • The Trasher.  Their window goes down and the trash flies out.  They treat anything outside their vehicle as their personal garbage dump.  They finish up a cigarette and flick their butt out, leaving dozens a day for the rest of us to "admire." The Trasher has been around for a long time.  It's time for them to clean up their act.
  • The Turn-signal Troublemaker. They don't think they need to use turn signals because THEY know where THEY'RE going and no other driver needs that information.  They change lanes without any warning.  Or they made their move minutes earlier and have "forgotten" to turn off their signal.  Use those turn signals wisely and carefully.  And if you're not using your turn signals because they're not operating correctly? Get 'em fixed!

 

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

A New Battery in Alberta

Monday 21st of March 2022

 

Hello Alberta drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Alberta, here's some auto advice to help you.

There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.

The weather where you live in Okotoks also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the vehicle engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold Okotoks weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.

Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Lube Town in Alberta can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your vehicle. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it's a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance performed at Lube Town and good vehicle care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits are wise and can help you get the most out of your battery.

Stop by any of our locations to have your battery test for free.  No appointment is needed.

 
Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com

 

Fall and Spring Inspection at Lube Town

Monday 21st of March 2022

Good vehicle care for us Alberta residents has always meant taking our vehicles in every spring and fall for a check-up. Vehicles needed routine maintenance to prepare them for the changes in weather. Today's vehicles aren't quite as sensitive to seasonal changes. Older vehicles required different weights of oil for summer and winter. But today's engines can run on the same oil all year. Both the engines and the oils have been improved.

Antifreeze—or coolant as it's also called—protects the engine from both freezing and hot temperatures and thus is required by the engine year-round. Modern coolants don't have to be changed as often as they did in the past, but your owner's manual has a recommendation for when it should be replaced to extend cooling system life.

There are other advantages to spring and fall maintenance for Alberta residents. Springtime signals the advent of warmer weather. Although modern coolant is designed to last longer than one season, it's a good idea to check it regularly to ensure you have enough. 

Summer is the time when most of us Alberta residents take vacations or go on road trips. So a spring check-up for our vehicles can lead to a stress-free summer and better memories on the road.

Fall, of course, signals the advent of colder weather in the Alberta area. This is a good time for a routine battery check. The hot weather of summer takes a toll on battery life – then comes winter. Cranking up a cold engine takes a lot more battery power than starting a warm one. So before that cold weather hits, it's a good idea to check your battery and replace it if necessary. But your tires aren't completely adapted to changing weather conditions. If you live where temperatures drop below 45°F (7°C) in the winter, or if your commute frequently takes you through snow or ice, you may want to consider changing to winter tires in the fall.

A fall check-up at Lube Town, just like a spring check-up, can keep you on the road no matter what Okotoks weather brings. Consider how much a worry-free summer vacation and a less stressful Alberta winter commute are worth to you. Then, spring and fall, reset your clocks, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and take your vehicle in for a check-up.

Locations
 
4007 Macleod Tr SW  403-457-3500
10 Parkdale Crescent NW 403-283-3393
181 North Railway St, Okotoks 403-995-9565

http://www.lubetown.com