OpenRoad Presents: Car COVID Safety Tips

OpenRoad Auto Group is continuing to do its part to keep dealership staff and customers safe during this unprecedented time by creating a COVID-19 safety video for vehicle drivers and passengers. The short video tailors public health recommendations specifically for privately owned vehicle owners and their passengers by outlining a few simple steps to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

OpenRoad's favourite summer driving routes

It’s summertime, and the driving is scenic. Well, if you head out of town, anyways. Do yourself a favour and find a weekend or day off to escape the city’s road closures, construction and rush hour traffic by enjoying one of the many roads beautiful B.C. has to offer. Pick a car, pack some snacks and don’t forget your favourite playlist. Here’s OpenRoad’s three favourite summer driving routes:
 

Lougheed Highway    

If you’re thinking about the parts of the Lougheed Highway that touch Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam, then it’s really not that exciting. But follow the more than 100 kilometres of pavement and it will take you through the municipalities of Kent, Mission and eventually Hope. During the cruise you will be rewarded with views of the Fraser River, rolling hills and greenery as far as the eye can see.

West Coast Road

This one requires a trip on the BC Ferries, but it’s worth it. After you arrive at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on Vancouver Island, take Highway 17, also known as the Patricia Bay Highway, for roughly 30 kilometres and get off at exit 7 towards McKenzie Ave. Follow exit 14 towards Sooke that eventually turns into West Coast Road. If you like twists and turns, this is the drive for you. Running parallel to the majestic Strait of Juan de Fuca, West Coast Road intersects several natural sightseeing spots like Jordan River and French Beach. Stop in the rustic community of Port Renfrew for a coffee or meal.

Highway 1

As is the case with Lougheed, the stretch of Highway 1 in the Lower Mainland isn’t much to write home about. Go eastbound and that’s another story. I recently did this exact drive and the closer you get to Golden, the more spectacular the scenery becomes (i.e the Rocky Mountains). If you aren’t in a rush, pay a visit to some of the towns along the way including Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke to get a taste of just how different other parts of B.C. can be.

Is your car road trip ready?

Before you head out on the road, make sure your vehicle is ready for those summer roads.

Summer Tires

Ensuring you are driving with summer tires is important; their base rubber compound is softer than all-seasons and not only helps you grip the road better, but improves fuel economy as well.

Tire Pressure

Checking your tires is especially important in the summer, especially when your car is packed to the max with fuel and supplies for road trips. Don’t forget to check your spare tire’s condition as well!

Top-up Fluids

Check your car’s oil and coolant levels. If you have not changed your coolant in the last three years, now is probably the time to do it. Over time, dirt and other engine contaminants can build up in the fluid rendering it less effective.

Wash & Wax

Washing and waxing your car has other benefits aside from aesthetics. With summer weather comes bugs and splatter, which is both unsightly and acidic. Left unprotected and unwashed, the acid will eat through your car’s paint in the summer heat. Washing and waxing your car before a road trip protects adds some extra protection before you hit the highway.
 

Need help getting your car ready for summer driving? We’re here for you at every turn. Book a service appointment with an OpenRoad Service Advisor today. Earn 15% back in points every time you service your vehicle at any OpenRoad store as a Club OpenRoad member. Learn more about Club OpenRoad here.

How to properly take your summer vehicle out of storage

There’s nothing better after a long cold and damp season than the smell of cherry blossoms, the sound of birds chirping and the sight of shiny sports, classic and luxury cars emerging from garage hibernation. Before you fire up the engine that has been idle for the last few months, here is a checklist of how to properly take your summer wheels out of storage.

Battery check

When tucking a vehicle away for the winter, using a battery tender is ideal. This helps the state of charge stay at maximum as a continuous drain hurts overall battery life. If you haven’t, get access to one and charge to full before turning the key. Examine the cables and terminals as well for corrosion and oxidization — dip a small brush in water and baking soda to fix up any dirty parts to ensure a proper connection. For batteries that were unplugged or became completely discharged, the onboard infotainment system may need to be reset afterwards via a code found in paperwork included with the car or obtained from your dealer.

Oil change

Regardless of whether the engine oil was changed prior to storage, a fresh replacement is recommended as condensation and contaminants may have formed while sitting. A new bottle of oil and filter is a small price to pay for the long-term health of the mill. At the same time, inspect the other fluids to see if anything else requires a top-up. When pumping gas for the first time, use a high-grade octane to smooth out the rough starts often accompanying the initial handful of cranks.

Pump up tires

Tire pressure will have slowly dropped over half a year, so an infusion of air is necessary to bring the psi back up to normal levels. Open the driver’s side door and see what the sticker in the doorjamb indicates is the appropriate pressure and fill accordingly, using a gauge to measure as you go along. Also perform a quick visual check for any irregularities like cracks, nails or bulges, and see if there’s enough tread to last through the summer and early fall.

Listen for noises

It’s normal for a little brake squeal to happen on the maiden drive, as surface rust on the rotor or drum is cleaned off during operation. If braking continues to cause unusual sounds, or you feel that something doesn’t feel right, schedule a service appointment right away.

Happy motoring!

6 Tips to Prepare Your Car for Spring

We’ve seen everything this winter in the Greater Vancouver region, from record breaking snow and rain, to unseasonably warm days. But fear not, spring really is just around the corner, and we have tips to prepare your car for spring.

Canadian winters are the harshest season for cars. Our vehicles really have to go through a lot with brine solution, salt and sand on the roads, along with ice, potholes, and temperature variances.

You can wipe away the grime and set your car up to look like new again this spring.
 

Tips to prepare your car for spring

1. Swap out your winter wheels/tires.

There are unquestionable benefits of winter tires over all-seasons at temperatures under 7 degrees Celsius. Their stickier softer rubber compound allows significantly more grip at lower temperatures, helping to keep us on the roads and out of the ditches.

However, your winter tires on too long at higher ambient temperatures will result in excessive wear, worse handling, and increased fuel consumption (due to higher rolling resistance). Don’t forget to check and adjust the tire pressures on your all-season or summer tires when it’s time to swap them over.

Remember to give the spare tire a quick once over as it is usually the most neglected tire and also arguably the most important one.

When the winter tires are off the car, inspect them for damage so that you’re not caught off guard next winter.
 

2. Vacuum your car and clear out the trash.

Sand and salt have almost definitely made it into your car due how much the road crews dump onto our roads every winter. Now’s a great time to start vacuuming the dirt and those little pebbles out of the crevices. While you’re at it, clear out any of the junk that you’ve been dumping on the floor or back seat.

If you have leather seats, now would be a good time to do a quick clean and condition as well due to the dry winter months wearing out the leather prematurely. Your car dealer’s parts department will likely have the appropriate manufacturer-approved products, or at least can make the proper recommendation as to what you need to buy.
 

3. Clean the windows.

Notice your windows fogging up really easily? This is partly due to the film of dirt that has clung onto the glass. Moisture loves to bind to something and that in turn becomes fog on the inside of your windows.

Use a high quality non-ammonia based car window cleaner and some newspaper or lint-free cloth. The ammonia in household cleaners will cause the windows to fog up even worse so stay away from it. If you have aftermarket tinted windows, ammonia-based household cleaners can also damage the tint film.

Be sure to use a soft microfiber cloth and not newspaper if you have aftermarket tinted windows because the paper fibres can scratch the tint film.
 

4. Change your wiper blades
.

Salt spray, dirt, ice all result in torn-up wiper blades at the end of the winter months. You don’t want to be caught blinded by ineffective windshield wipers if there is a sudden downpour.

If your blades are relatively new but already streaking, try adding a small amount of nail polish remover (acetone) on a paper towel and then wiping both swipe sides of the wiper blade with it.

This will slightly dissolve the top layer of rubber and may prolong the blade for another few months. However, be sure not to get any of the remover on your paint!
 

5. Replace your cabin air filter (if your car has one).

The cabin air filter is the last line of defense between the air you breathe in the car, and the pollen, dirt, plant material in the air outside your car. Change your filter at the end of every winter season and you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year. Contact your dealer’s part department as the Original Equipment part is frequently of better quality and not necessarily more expensive.

Be sure to check for any fallen and decomposing leaves in the cabin air intake system too as they may be obstructing airflow.

 

6. Wash and wax your car.

Wipe down the inside of the door sills and the rocker panels to keep your pant legs clean. Use a high quality car wash detergent to wash your car. Never use dishwashing detergent as that strips wax from and dulls the paint.

Invest in a high quality microfiber or real sheepskin mitt, or a boar’s hair brush. All 3 will trap the surface dirt deeper in the fibres/hairs and prevent them from scratching the paint. Stay away from sponges for the opposite reason. Remember to rinse the mitt or brush frequently with clean water.

Wear a disposable surgical or waterproof garden glove inside the mitt if the water temperature is still cold. This will help to keep your hand from freezing too quickly.

Be sure to hose off all the accumulated salt and dirt from the inside of the wheel wells and on the undercarriage of the car to prevent rust. Going through an automated touchless car wash that has a high pressure underbody spray may be a good idea.

Since it may still be a bit too cold to do a complete wax/polish job on your car, try using some spray wax quick detailer with a microfiber cloth after washing  and drying the car.

This will add some temporary protection till warmer temperatures arrive to do a full clay bar/polish job for the summer.

Five tips for driving safer in rain

Driving in the rain doesn’t have to be dangerous if you take a few precautionary steps.

Tune into any local radio traffic station after the first big rain of the season, and there will inevitably be reports of accidents all across the city. Avoid being a statistic by learning how to drive defensively in the wet.

Mind your speed

A big reason for losing control in rainy conditions is simply driving too fast. The amount of available grip drops dramatically when the roads become slick from a mixture of water and vehicle fluid runoff. Slowing down prevents water building up in the small channels of the tire tread, and provides more room between you and the car in front if you need to brake suddenly or make a last-minute steering manoeuvre.

Check your blades

You can’t drive safely if you can’t see. Before the rain falls, double check to see if your wipers can clear the windshield properly without squeaking or rubbing, and make sure the blades aren’t cracked or disintegrating. Replacements are inexpensive and most dealerships will help install them after purchase.

Light up

All too often I’ll be driving in the rain on a dark road, and notice the car in front of me just has his running lights on, or worse, no lights at all. Make it a habit to turn the headlights to the on position in inclement weather for a two-fold benefit: you will be able to see what’s in front of you better, and you’ll be more visible to other motorists.

Avoid puddles

While splashing through a miniature lake on the road sounds like a fun idea, you don’t know what’s beneath so go around if possible. Generally, avoid puddles unless they’re shallow enough that you can still see the asphalt at the bottom. If you must go through, drive slowly so water doesn’t potentially splash up into the engine bay and onto delicate and/or expensive parts.

Don’t cruise

Try and avoid using cruise control during stormy conditions — you want to be alert and ready to hit the brakes or gas pedal if something goes awry. If your tires hit a big puddle and begin to hydroplane (skim uncontrollable over the surface of the wet pavement), cruise control may cause the car to suddenly accelerate once the situation gets grippy again.

Road Trip: 5 Things to do Before Heading Out

Summer is in full swing and road trip season is happening! Following the next 5 steps will help you to drive safely and avoid any mechanical issues all summer long.

Wax the car

Many drivers like to take their car out and about during the summer. There is nothing like a great coat of fresh wax to rejuvenate how your vehicle looks. A fresh coat of wax also makes removing dirt and bug guts that much easier.

Since the main idea behind a wax is to protect and preserve the paint, you always want to thoroughly wash your car before you apply a wax. There’s no sense in trapping dirt and water underneath the protective wax, so be sure to do a through job with quality car washing liquid and a microfibre or sheepskin wash mitt. Avoid using a sponge as the pores can trap dirt and drag it along, scratching your paint.

While washing and waxing is very popular in the summer, be sure to avoid doing it in direct sunlight. Why? Because when the temperature is high and you’re in direct sunlight, noticeable water spots can form only to then be sealed in by the wax, making them even more noticeable.

The evening is probably the best time to wash and wax a car. Once the sun starts to go down, begin to wash your car and wax it once the temperature drops a little bit. See “How to wax your car in three easy steps.”

Windshield Sunshade

You may be surprised to find out how high temperatures can soar within the interior of a car during a hot, sunny day.

A sunshade (aka UV Heat Shield) helps to reduce interior temperature and protect the interior from damaging UV rays that penetrate the front windshield.

Many manufacturers offer custom-patterned windshield shades that fit the outline of their vehicles’ windshields. Check with your dealership’s part department to see if one is available for your vehicle.

Check tire pressures

Checking your tires is crucial in the summer. Remember, the contact patch of most tires is only about the size of your hand and it has to handle a lot more weight and force than the shoe that is on your foot.

Long road trips with humongous loads and high temperatures can stress your Michelins to the max. And, obviously, if the tires go, you go!

Make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all five tires. Why five? Because most cars have a spare tire and even the space saver spare tire needs to have its pressure checked!

Inflate your tire to the level recommended by what your vehicle manufacturer recommends, which should be listed on the side of the driver’s door, on the fuel filler cap door, or in the owner’s manual. Don’t confuse the “maximum tire pressure” listed on the sidewall of the tire with the “recommended tire pressure” provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

While it’s okay to inflate your tires to the “maximum tire pressure” number, “Recommended tire pressure” is the ideal pressure you want in your tires. If you’re carrying an extra heavy load, follow the recommendation for “heavy loads,” which is usually listed in the manual.

Pack Smart

Check your vehicle’s load capacity to make sure you aren’t putting too much weight in the car. On most new cars, the total weight you can carry is printed on the door placard inside the driver’s door jam. This load rating includes all the passengers and cargo.

With extra weight comes extra fuel consumption, so try to carry only what you need and some emergency supplies. If you’re not using the roof rack, remove it (if possible) as it can significantly worsen your fuel economy.

If you have to carry a roof top cargo box, fill it only with light bulky items as adding items on the roof increases the vehicle’s centre of gravity and heavy loads on the roof can make the vehicle more difficult to handle in emergency situations.

Schedule a check-up

Schedule a check-up before you head out on the road. Performing basic maintenance on your vehicle before you head out such as checking wipers and fluid levels can help you to avoid issues while away from home.

If it is almost time to get the oil changed, do it before you leave. A long trip can put additional stress on your motor. Also don’t think that adding extra oil by yourself will work like an oil change, because that does not get rid of the sludge from old used oil. You may not realize this due to the fact that your continuously adding new cleaner oil which makes it appear as if it’s clean oil.

Now that you’ve followed all 5 of these steps, just roll down the windows, turn on the radio and enjoy the open road!