ROAD-WORTHY TIPS TO AVOID A DEAD END
Road-worthy tips to avoid a dead end
Servicing your vehicle now avoids summertime sadness later
The sky is clear, the mercury is rising and the beach is calling. Our Canadian summer is in full swing, and not a moment too soon.
Yet before Calgarians head off on that much-deserved summer vacation, it's important to make sure their vehicle is ready to tackle those busy Alberta's roads, says GSL GM City service manager Jarrett Brosseau.
"It's important to get your car inspected well before heading outside Calgary, and not waiting until the last minute," he says. "It can be both challenging and expensive to address a problem it if it's the day before a family vacation."
Brosseau suggests regular preventative maintenance as the best way to ensure a smooth ride to those summertime vibes. He offers tips on what to look out for, and suggest drivers take advantage of GSL GM City's 45-point inspections in advance of your upcoming road trip.
Early indications of brake failure include a squealing sound, delayed response time, the vehicle begins pulling when braking or the pedal pulsates when engaged. Brosseau recommends getting a proper vehicle inspection where a technician will remove the wheels to accurately measure the thickness of the pads and inspect the rotors for warping. He recommends having this done semi-annually - ideally during tire rotations or seasonal changeovers.
The winter tires should be long gone by this point, so the focus is now on monitoring treads (i.e. those grooves in your tires) to make sure they're not worn out. Most new tires will have treads ranging from 8/32" to 12/32" deep. Brosseau suggests replacing them once they reach or are below 3/32".
Also, if you're planning on towing anything, make sure the tire has the proper load rating. A P-Series tire on a typical passenger car or light SUV is generally rated to tow only between 800 and 7,300 pounds. If you're hauling a 10,000-pound trailer, make sure you're using the right vehicle with tires that have higher load ratings.
GSL GM City offers a free drive-thru wheel alignment check and tire tread report. Drivers don't need to schedule an appointment. Just drive up and a technician will be able to quickly asses the tires.
For Calgarians towing anything from a trailer to watercraft, their vehicles' transmission, brake and driveline fluids will be working overtime this summer. Once these fluids heat up, they degrade over time. GSL GM City's inspections will check for levels, but Brosseau recommends also checking the manufacturers' recommended service schedule to determine how often you should be changing these fluids.
You'll want to keep it calm on the way to the beach or beyond, which means not waiting if you notice your vehicle's air conditioning unit is not cooling as quick as before. If it's losing its charge, then it can usually be traced back to a leak, says Brosseau. Most vehicle's heating and cooling system also need to be serviced or re-gassed anywhere from one to five years.
In any situation, Brosseau recommends having a conversation with a certified and trained GSL GM City technician who will get a better understanding of your vehicle and how you use it.
"Calgary drivers use their vehicles for different things and in different ways. Depending on how you use your vehicle, it will have different service needs," he says.
To schedule a vehicle inspection or a service visit, call 403.265-7690 or fill out a service appointment form online.