Since we can’t keep our service centres open 24/7, we’ve created a one-stop shop full of tips and advice that’s always open for business. Stop by every other week for fresh ideas on how to pamper your ride and keep the car love alive.

Safe Winter Driving

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A large portion of Canada has seen snow by now, and it’s sure to be around for a while! With that being said, the roads are a lot less safe to drive on. This week we’re going to take a look at just a FEW of the precautions you can take to stay safe while driving this winter.

Avoid driving in blizzards or other bad weather if you can!

The best strategy is to all-together AVOID driving if you don’t have to. If visibility is low and the roads have yet to be cleared, there is a MUCH higher chance that you could be involved in an accident. It is much safer if you can wait until visibility improves or crews cleared the road and layed sand.

Brush off your vehicle and scrape the windows

Brushing off your vehicle before you drive is extremely important, and in some parts of Canada is law (more or less). Getting all snow off your hood ensures that wind won’t blow it off and into your windshield, which can be extremely dangerous. However it is ALSO extremely important the brush the snow off of the roof of your vehicle so it doesn’t blow off while driving and obstruct other driver’s views. Also fully scrape and defog your windows to ensure you have a full view, the winter is when it counts most!

Don’t drive tired or under the influence

Obviously, it is NEVER acceptable to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, people often over-look fatigue and tiredness. A study in 2005 determined 20% of Canadians admitted to nodding off at the wheel in the last year. Winter can make it worse because of the decrease in daylight, however winter driving calls for increased attention. That is why it is EXTREMELY important to be fully alert when driving in the winter!

Increase distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you!

In ideal driving conditions it is best to keep 3 or 4 seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. However, when weather takes a turn for the worst it is best to increase that distance to 6-8 seconds. This gives you enough time to react and safely apply the brakes.

Plan your trip!

Planning is the key to safety! This means checking road conditions and avoiding any unsafe roads accordingly. This means safer roads and possibly a less stressful trip. Also, plan to leave earlier than you normally would when road conditions aren’t ideal. Give yourself time to drive slower and safer. This can also lead to a less stressful drive and set yourself up for a positive day!

 

 

Winter care for your battery

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When the snow falls and the temperature drops, your battery can be affected many different ways. The electric current created by a battery is produced when a connection is made between the negative and positive terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction takes place, generating electrons which deliver current to the battery.

Keep the charge high!

As temperatures drop it is extremely important to keep the charge full, or at the highest possible charge. The lower your charge, the more susceptible the battery is to freezing, which will make the vehicle hard to start without a charge, but will ultimately damage the plates and battery container. You can stop this from happening by keeping your battery warm. Try buying a battery cover which will help insulate your battery from the cold, or keep your vehicle in a garage- making sure the electrolytes don’t freeze.

Start your car every once and a while

The longer you leave your car out in the cold, the harder it will be to start. Starting your battery from time to time not only allows the alternator to recharge the battery, but it gets the “juices” flowing again to prevent freezing. The colder a vehicle gets, the thicker the oil becomes over time (unless you’re using synthetic oil), making the vehicle work harder. If your region is experiencing unusually cold temperatures try starting and running your car before bed for 10 minutes to keep everything fresh.

If your car won’t start

If you try to start your vehicle in the cold and aren’t successful it could be for a number of reasons. If your car doesn’t turn over or even make a clicking noise it is most likely that your battery has completely lost it’s charge. A boost may help in this situation, depending . The best thing to do is test the charge at a shop or parts store, or at home with an amp/voltmeter. If the charge is low it may be time for a new battery. The other cause is the battery could be frozen, so bringing it in overnight may help before attempting a boost. If your vehicle is turning over slightly or making a clicking noise it it much more likely that a boost will help as the charge is probably low, not completely gone.

Remember, if you have any further issues to call your local Integra Tire.

 

Preparing an emergency winter kit for your vehicle

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 Winter is definitely showing it’s face, bringing new dangers to the road for drivers who aren’t prepared. If YOU have ever been stuck on the side of the road you know how important it is to be prepared!  So this week, we’re going to go through some must have items for your winter emergency kit.  Be sure before winter hits that you’re carrying your spare tire, a lug wrench, and jack. If it is safe to do so, you’ll be happy to have your spare and all necessary equipment. But remember, if temperatures are dangerously cold or if conditions are otherwise unsafe- please do not put yourself in harms way- call a tow truck.

In the case that you are stranded, you’ll need an emergency kit. Fill yours with the following:

1) Food and Water

Go with something that won’t spoil easily. Energy bars are great as they generally last a long time and will give you the calories you need to keep going. Keep water in plastic bottles that will not break when they freeze.

2) Jumper cables

Serve the excellent purpose of boosting a dead battery. You don’t want to be caught in the cold trying to find someone to help you!

3) Blankets and Extra Clothing

Always keep a heavy blanket in your kit. In the case that your battery is dead and heat isn’t an option this will definitely come in handy! Tow trucks can take a LONG time in the winter, or you might even be in a case where you’re stuck for an extended period of time. Also keep extra clothing handy, especially gloves and toques in the case that you have to walk. And BOOTS! This is especially important for the ladies who brave the cold in heels or flats.

4) Small Shovel and Scraper

In the case that you are stuck you will be extremely happy to have these. Remember to ONLY attempt digging yourself out if it is safe to do so. The cold can be deadly, and in the case that you are stuck you will have to conserve your energy.

5) Wind up flashlight and Emergency Lights

Get yourself a wind-up flashlight! Batteries in regular flashlights can die over time, especially in temperature fluctuations. Emergency lights/flares are great for signalling other drivers or even signalling help in an emergency.

6) First Aid Kit

Very self explanatory and ALWAYS a good idea to keep with you.

6) Road Map

What happens if you need to find your way with a dead phone and no GPS? You’ll be happy you went old-school and brought a paper road map!

Some other important items

Extra phone charger, candle, matches, whistle.

 

 

Remember to stay safe this winter, and have a plan of action in the case of an emergency on the road.

 

 

Why is proper torquing and re-torquing so important?

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Have you ever had an entire wheel fall off while driving? Hopefully not – however without proper and accurate torquing and retorquing you, your passengers, and other motorists could possibly face an extremely dangerous situation.  And it happens more than you think! That’s why we stress bringing your vehicle to a professional when removing the wheels.

What is torquing?

Torquing is the process of specifically tightening your lug nuts at the proper pressure. Each vehicle has different manufacturer specifications for how the lug nuts should be torqued.

Let’s take a look at why proper torquing is so important.

Under and overtorquing

The studs your wheel is secured to are actually designed to have a specific amount of “stretch”. The proper torque stretches the stud JUST enough for it to securely lock with the bolts. An under-torqued lug nut will not lock correctly and an over-torqued lug nut will over stretch the stud, both cause stress.

  • Broken studs- The extra movement caused by a loose nut can stress the stud and cause it to fail. The overly tightened lugnuts can over stretcha nd stress the lugnut, causing failure as well. Replacement will be needed immediately and this can also cause the wheel to fall off while traveling.
  • Expensive Brake Problems- The biggest issue with over torquing is warped brake rotors. This is often caused by mechanics who tighten lugs improperly using a pneumatic gun.  This can cause uneven tightening accross the hub surface of the rotor. Because one or more wheel nuts is not as tight as the other the rotor pressure is unbalance when you apply the brakes. Once a rotor warps it can be difficult and costly to undo.
  • Stressed bolts- Without proper torquing to stretch the wheel stud, you are putting extra stress on the bolt and the hole the stud passed through. This is seen while driving, as it stresses the wheel assembly. This can also lead to a wheel falling off.
  • Extra stress on steering system- Under torquing can cause the wheel/tire to slightly “wobble” while driving and can cause the car to pull to one side while driving. All in all, this puts extra stress on the steering system.

Torque Pattern

The torque pattern means the order the lug nuts are tightened. Professionals will never tighten wheel nuts in a circular pattern, but a star pattern. This ensures one side of the wheel won’t tighten before the other side, causing uneven pressure. Uneven pressure can cause all the problems listed above and more!

Re-torquing

Retorquing after the first 100-150km of a tire/wheel change is important. This is necessary due to the possibility of the metal compressing/elongating or checking for thermal stress affecting the wheels as your tires. Re-torquing also gives your tech the opportunity to verify the accuracy of your original installation.

 

 

Why are winter tires better than all-seasons?

severe_snowflakeLike it or not, that time of the year is coming! Pretty soon, the snow is going to be falling. And although the winter does bring skiing and hot cocoa, it also brings some treacherous road conditions. Soon you’re going to be trekking your ride through the snow, slush, and ice. But it doesn’t have to be so bad with the right set of winter tires. Many may ask, why do I need winter tires? What makes them any different than my all-seasons? Well, although this is often said by people who haven’t experience winter tires, we’re going to take a look at WHY winter tires are the better option.

 

 

1) All-season tires are a compromise:

And like any compromise, it cannot offer the best and safest solution for everything, only a half-way solution. Winter tires are a whole different science than summer tires, made up of different types of rubber compounds, tread designs, and sipes. It is impossible to fully protect your vehicle for every season with one tire.

 

 

2) All-season tires are not made for low temperatures

Many people believe winter tires are only needed for snow and ice- WRONG!  All-season tires lose their grip on road when the temperature drops below 7°C. So even though there may be NO snow or ice on the ground, you are still in danger of losing grip on the road and facing a potentially dangerous situation.

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3) Tread Pattern

The tread makes a huge difference on the way your vehicle grips the road. Winter tires typically feature a unidirectional tread. This means the grooves are specifically designed to sweep slush and water out of the way better than all-season tires.

 

 4) Sipes

Winter tires also feature more sipes (tiny slits/holes in the tread block) than all-season tires. These sipes help the tire work better on wet-pavement by providing suction to the road. The more sipes, the better control and handling.

Overall, it is best to not risk your safety, your ride’s safety, and costly repairs for all-season tires. And once you’ve experience winter tires in a Canadian winter, you will probably NEVER go back!

If you have any further questions, feel free to call your local tire expert at Integra Tire. Until next time, remember to show your ride some love- and it’ll show you love back.

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Why do you need a Wheel Alignment?

Most have heard that you need to get a wheel alignment when taking your vehicle to a mechanic. But do you really know why you need one done to your vehicle?

Let’s start by explaining why you may need a wheel alignment. Your vehicle has many indicators that show a mechanic that you need a wheel alignment, including:

· Uneven Tire Wear – if there is more wear on one side of your tire

· Drifting – if your car seems to drift to one side of the lane while you are driving

· Your Steering Wheel Vibrates

· Overtime – with time you should get a wheel alignment. Check your owner’s manual to see how often your vehicle should have a wheel alignment and then take it in for servicing.

The Benefits:

· An alignment will ensure that your car drives straight and handles properly.

· Better gas mileage as your tires will be properly aligned with the road.

· Get less and a more even wear on your tires.

Visit our Automotive Services page for a list of services that Integra Tire and Auto Centre offers and for more automotive tips!