With summer fast approaching, road trips are definitely going to be on most people’s bucket lists this summer. Price shouldn’t deter you from going on an adventure so we’ve listed down the most affordable cars (all under $33,000) you can take on your next long drive.
With gas prices at an all-time high, here are the best tips to squeeze as much as you can out of every litre.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’re officially well into spring, but it certainly doesn’t appear that way some days here in the Lower Mainland. So it’s still too early to shop for a convertible, right? The answer is most certainly not, especially if you pick the right vehicle capable of being comfortably used all year round. Here are three picks, all with different features ideal for daily driving.
Representing the spiritual successor for the two-door 3 Series, the beautiful 4 Series knocked a lot of people’s socks off when it first debuted in 2013. The convertible version released shortly after is no less impressive, utilizing a fully powered, three-piece hardtop that can fully open or close in 20 seconds, and at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour, meaning drivers are ready for rain or shine by simply pushing a button.
The weatherproof top has an advanced headliner designed to soak up noise and provide insulating properties making occupants think they’re in a regular coupé. When stashed in the trunk, a load and unload assistant can pivot the folded roof to accommodate bigger items like luggage or equipment.
The Audi A5 family entered just its second generation a couple of years ago, completely updated and culminating in the new Cabriolet model. The two-plus-two seater comes packaged with a quick 2.0-litre TFSI motor producing 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission or grin-inducing six-speed manual. Although running a soft top, it uses thick thermal fabric and is operable when the car is travelling up to 31 miles per hour.
Most importantly for colder seasons, the automaker’s legendary Quattro full-time all-wheel drive system is standard equipment, which sends power to all four wheels. Grip and traction are always available helping maintain vehicle stability in all road conditions, and especially around corners.
The roofless VW Bug gains a more robust powertrain for 2018, in the form of a bigger and torquier turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder engine replacing the outgoing 1.8. A Coast trim is all new and comes with a unique Deep Sea Teal exterior paint colour option, surfboard-wood look dashpad, houndstooth cloth-covered seating surfaces and Monster Mats thick rubber floor mats that can contain all the dirt, mud and slush dragged in during the fall and winter.
Other all-season attributes include the quickest articulating top of the bunch, taking only 9.5 seconds to go between the two positions, and a predictable front-wheel drive setup giving those behind the wheel a sense of confidence in inclement weather operation.