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Use your Senses

  • What do you see?
  • One of the easiest ways for a driver to identify a car problem is if they see it for themselves. A puddle beneath the car or smoke rising from the hood are classic signs that vehicle maintenance is required.
  • White smoke from the car’s exhaust can indicate water or antifreeze has leaked into the vehicle’s engine cylinder resulting in a failed head gasket.
  • If black smoke is coming out of the vehicle’s exhaust, there may be problem with the fuel injection system, the fuel pump, the engine computer, or the carburetor.
  • Blue smoke coming out the vehicle’s exhaust may mean a failing gasket, O-ring, or seal.
  • White smoke from under the car’s hood may mean the vehicle has a leaky water pump or
  • radiator.
  • Black smoke from under the car’s hood can indicate burning oil, which may mean the vehicle has a leaking gasket.
  • A puddle of bright green, slippery fluid under the car may mean the vehicle’s radiator is leaking.
  • A brown oily puddle under the car may indicate the vehicle has an engine oil leak or a lubrication leak.
  • A pool of red fluid under your car can mean the vehicle has a transmission or steering fluid leak.
  • A clear puddle may be water from the car’s air conditioner or a power steering fluid leak.
  • Blue fluid beneath the car usually means a leak in the vehicle’s windshield washer system.
  • What do you smell?
  • You smell rubber burning under the hood: One of your hoses may have come loose and landed on a hot part of the engine. Rescue it before it melts through.
  • You smell something burning with the hood closed: Feel your wheels. If one is hot, a brake shoe or pad may be dragging, or you may have left the parking brake on. If neither of these checks out, an overheated clutch of a manual transmission car may be the cause.
  • You smell oil burning (a thick, acrid odor): First, check the oil dipstick. You may be running out of oil or your engine may be overheating, and your temperature gauge may be broken. If neither is the case, look around the engine for oil leaking onto the engine block or exhaust manifold. If the oil situation seems to be okay, check the transmission fluid dipstick.

Sometimes a faulty vacuum modulator can siphon the fluid out of the transmission and feed it to the engine, where it’s burned. Also, if the transmission fluid is very low, it can be burned in the transmission because the gears aren’t lubricated enough and are getting very hot.

  • You smell oil or exhaust fumes in the passenger compartment: The cause could be burned oil from the engine area, but it also could be a faulty exhaust pipe under the car that lets exhaust gases into the vehicle through the floorboards.
  • Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, so if you smell oil or exhaust inside the car, be sure to keep your windows open at all times and have the problem checked out as quickly as you can.
  • You smell something sweet and steamy: leaking coolant? Check the temperature gauge or light to see whether your engine is overheating.
  • You smell rotten eggs: The smell is probably coming from the catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system. The converter may be malfunctioning, or you may have a problem with your engine or possibly over charging of the battery.
  • You smell burned toast (a light, sharp odor): It may be an electrical short circuit, or the insulation on a wire may be burning. Check around under the hood. Driving is a bit risky, so get to the nearest service station or have roadside service come to you.
  • You smell gasoline: If you just had trouble starting the car, the engine may be flooded. Wait a few minutes and try again. If the smell comes from under the hood, check your fuel injection system or carburetor to make sure that it isn’t leaking fuel. Also check your fuel pump (if it isn’t hidden inside your fuel tank). Leaking gasoline will wash a clean streak across it, which can be seen with the naked eye. Then check all visible fuel lines and hoses that lead to the fuel tank. If they’ve rotted or are disconnected, you’ll smell fuel vapors without seeing any leaks. Taking a look under the vehicle after it has been parked overnight may help, but remember that fuel evaporates quickly, so the clues may be stains rather than wet spots.

What do you hear?

  • Whether driving a gas, diesel, electric or hybrid car, motorists should instinctively know how their vehicle normally sounds. Should a strange vehicle sound be detected, drivers should look to have the problem diagnosed and rectified without delay. A well maintained car will last for hundreds of thousands of kilometers if properly maintained.
  • A car backfiring. This is one car sound that is difficult to ignore. When loud enough it can even sound like a gun shot. A car backfiring is indicative of a too-lean engine air-fuel mixture or severely worn valves.
  • Drivers who hear a squealing sound while driving should take their car to a garage immediately. This is a sign that your alternator belt or power steering belt may be loose or
  • stretched to near breaking point.
  • Drivers who hear a clicking or popping reverberating from the front end of their car when turning should get their vehicle’s drive shafts (which is more likely in front wheel drive vehicles) or constant velocity joints fixed immediately. Constant clicking or droning noise from the car’s wheels while driving may mean the vehicle’s bearings are defective.
  • A metal on metal knocking sound from the vehicle’s engine that varies with driving speeds may be a sign of internal engine problems. Motorists who hear this should check the car’s oil level. In the event of overheating, motorists should switch off the engine and seek professional breakdown assistance.
  • A grinding or squealing sound could be your brakes
  • Motorists who experience shudders when braking their car may have a problem with their vehicle’s suspension. This is a common complaint from motorists’ who have hit a pothole when driving at speed.
  • A shudder when braking can also be the brake rotors
  • Motorists who feel a pulling sensation while driving their car may have a tire inflation problem.
  • Blue fluid beneath the car usually means a leak in the vehicle’s windshield washer system.
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In 2014 Manitoba Announced a Winter Tire Financing Program:

Manitoba Announces Winter Tire Financing Program:

Manitoba residents will soon be able to take advantage of a program that helps with the financing of a new set of winter tires.

A new winter tire financing program will be launched in Manitoba late 2014 . This will be a pilot program initiated by Manitoba Public Insurance, making winter tires more accessible to Manitoba motorists.

Tire dealers in the province will want to make sure they have enough product on hand to meet the likely increased demand this year. According to AIA Canada, currently about only 18 per cent of Manitoba motorists use winter tires.

The Winter Tire Financing Program will help Manitoba Public Insurance customers finance the purchase of winter tires. Starting Sept. 29, 2014, the program will provide low-interest financing for up to $2,000 towards the purchase of winter tires and associated costs, including rims, mounting, balancing, taxes and fees.

Only tires displaying the peaked mountain and snowflake symbol will be eligible for the program.

“This is an opportunity for our customers to access winter tires, which can help them to stop more quickly and avoid sliding on icy roads. In a cold weather climate, that’s important,” said MaryAnn Kempe, Manitoba Public Insurance’s Vice-President, Business Development, Communications and Chief Product Officer. “This program also provides retailers with the option of offering their customers an additional way to pay for a product to help keep our roads safer.”

Retailers will be able to quickly and easily initiate financing authorization through the Manitoba Public Insurance website after signing up as a participating vendor. Retailers will then fax the customer’s application form directly to an Autopac agent, and will be paid directly by Manitoba Public Insurance for the applicable amount of the transaction within 30 days.

Display materials will be provided to participating vendors to promote the program to customers. In order to participate, retailers must register with Manitoba Public Insurance. Move information will be available in the coming months.

What do you think BC?

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Hit the Road with Saftey

Hit the road with safety and reliability

(NC) Whether you embrace winter with weekend trips to the slopes, driving the little ones to hockey practice or visiting relatives over the holidays, there’s one thing to prioritize this season – and that’s commuting safely and securely.

Driving smoothly, staying alert and looking ahead are a few of many driving tips that will help you handle the winter season with ease. Carl Nadeau, professional race car driver and Michelin driving expert notes that the first step to conquering those harsh winter roads is equipping your vehicle with four winter tires like the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, to be installed once the temperature approaches freezing. While all provinces recommend winter tires, they are mandatory in Quebec and, new this year, must be installed by December 1st.

“Contrary to popular belief, all-season tires don’t provide the performance that winter road conditions require,” says Nadeau. “Winter tires are made of a rubber compound, allowing them to remain flexible in cold weather and provide better grip and traction than all-season tires.”

Nadeau also advises looking for the “Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake” on the sidewall of the tire, which confirms the tire passed a specific snow traction performance test set by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.

In addition to having the proper driving equipment, it’s also important to note how you drive. Nadeau stresses the importance of the proper driving position with both wrists at the top of the steering wheel, a slight bend in your elbows with your knees slightly bent while pressing the gas.

Even the most experienced drivers can find themselves stressed behind the wheel, which is why he urges drivers to remain calm, avoid sudden braking and always look around slowly from left to right, using peripheral vision to help prepare for what’s down the road.

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Winter Road Safety

Winter road safety starts with the right equipment

(NC) Winter can be one of the most unpredictable seasons. Some regions receive the blast of cold and snow as early as October, while others may not receive any snow at all. Despite this, there are a few things all drivers should be looking out for each winter to keep safety and performance at its peak.

This starts with ensuring you have the right equipment. Even if you’re in one of those regions that may not be prone to severe snow or any snow at all, if the temperature is consistently approaching freezing, then winter tires are a must. 

“While all-season tires are designed to be driven and perform well in a large range of conditions, they may not be sufficient to handle severe winter conditions of heavy ice or snow. Further, when the temperatures approach freezing, the rubber in all-season tires stiffen, making them less effective,” says Carl Nadeau, professional race car driver and Michelin driving expert.

Winter tires, however, are made of a specific rubber compound that allows them to remain flexible in cold weather. Nadeau suggests the Michelin X-ICE Xi3 winter tire, which year after year continues to be rated by consumer specialized reports as among the best in its category. It provides ultimate winter confidence and safety over many kilometers.

The best traction possible is what you are looking for from your tires, and well-maintained ones are integral to road safety during the winter. “Air pressure is a good place to start, and you should be checking your tires at least monthly in cold weather,” recommends Nadeau. “The reason is simple – when the temperature drops, your tires’ air pressure does too. And a well-inflated, narrower tire can bite through snow down to the pavement where the tire can get better traction.”

The right equipment is only half the battle. Before taking the road, make sure that your car and tires are in perfect condition, so you can get safely to your destination.

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Caution is King when it comes to Winter tires

Caution is King when it Comes to Winter Tires

(BPT) – With the winter in full swing, ensuring your tires – the last line of defense between your vehicle and harsh conditions – are in working order may be the difference between an enjoyable or stressful travel season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17% of all vehicle collisions take place during winter conditions, many of which can be attributed to underinflated, over-worn or out-of-season tires.

“Being on the side of the road due to a preventable vehicle issue is both inconvenient and dangerous,” said Brandon Sturgis, product manager, BFGoodrich Tires. “Before winter arrives, make sure that your car is in its best condition to handle winter weather.”

Below are a few simple tips from BFGoodrich Tires to help ensure your vehicle and tires are better prepared for safe driving this winter.

Tire pressure will change with the weather

Many drivers neglect their tires until it’s too late and experience a tire issue, an inconvenience that only increases during the winter months. To avoid a winter accident caused by unsafe tires, drivers should proactively take measures to maintain their tires. An easy first step is to check the air pressure of all four tires at least monthly. This is especially important during the colder winter months as a drop in temperatures can cause tire pressures to decrease below a vehicle’s recommended inflation levels. To find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, look at the decal in the driver’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

Checking your tread should be routine

Many drivers try squeezing as much life out of their tires as possible and run them even after the tread has worn below 2/32 of an inch – the minimum tread deemed safe under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If this is you, be sure to stay honest about checking your tread. To do so, find a penny and insert Abraham Lincoln headfirst into the lowest tread on your tire. If any portion of Abe’s head is covered, your tread depth is sufficient. If Honest Abe is still fully visible, your tread is below 2/32 of an inch and the ability to perform in wet and winter conditions is substantially reduced.

The importance of seasonal tires

Understanding your driving environment is as important as understanding which tires best suit your circumstances. Geography is the most intuitive factor playing into one’s driving environment, but certain locations create a more nuanced experience. Do you know which tires are best for your situation?

For example, all-terrain tires such as the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 are suitable year-round tires designed to give you superior grip both off and on the pavement thanks to innovative tread design, tough sidewalls and long-lasting durability.

If you drive in an environment that is regularly below freezing with snow and ice, winter tires may be your best choice. For those yet to treat their vehicle to winter tires during the cold months, consider the BFGoodrich Winter T/A KSI a good starting point. Offering extreme traction in winter conditions and reassuring steering control and durability, your next set of winter tires may keep you from becoming another winter driving collision statistic

“Tires play a key role in your winter weather mobility. Knowing what kind of tires you have on your car and knowing their condition are