Winter Road Trip Destinations 2015

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Whistler, B.C.
Calgary, AB
Moose Jaw, SK
Canmore, AB
Whitefish, MN

 

Whistler, B.C. (Travel time from YQR = 19 hours)
You may think that travelling long distances in the winter seems a little odd for those who want a stress free getaway. However, once you get to “Beautiful British Columbia” you will have realized it was all worth it. Indulge in the beauty Whistler has to offer from the top of the gondola while you hit the slopes, or if you want the best of both worlds – check out the Fairmont Chateau Resort for ultimate relaxation. The good news is that there are stop worthy destinations on your way to B.C. – keep reading for information on Canmore, AB.

Canmore, AB (Travel time from YQR = 9 hours)
Looking for a winter getaway that doesn’t involve many stops? Head west on Highway 1 and you will know when you’ve reached sunny Canmore, AB. Canmore offers various indoor activities such as rock climbing, brewery tours and dinner theatres are sure to help keep you warm. Not to mention the stunning views of flowing waters and delicious cuisine will help you beat the winter blues. Visit www.tourismcanmore.com today!

Moose Jaw, SK (Travel time from YQR = 45 minutes)
Most Canadians know what Moose Jaw has to offer, as it is one of the most historic cities in Canada. As winter brings us those plummeting temperatures, opt for a stay at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa to keep warm and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet on Sunday mornings. Looking for some entertainment? Visit the Western Development Museum to go back in time to view (and step inside) those old fashioned planes, trains and automobiles.

Calgary, AB (Travel time from YQR = 7 hours)
If cabin fever is starting to hit you, it may be time for a little retail therapy. In my opinion, Calgary is one of the best cities for ultimate shopping. I was fortunate enough to live in Calgary for two years and trust me I was never disappointed. From the Chinook Centre which holds over 250 stores to the luxury shopping mall located downtown called the Core – TD Square & Holt Renfrew, YYC has a lot in store for its visitors. Be sure to keep warm by stop at Good Earth Café for the best hot cocoa in town.

Whitefish, MN (Travel time from YQR = 10 hours)
If you are looking for a little fun south of the border, Whitefish may be the destination for you. From dog sledding to the scenic views at the Glacier National Park, Montana will never disappoint you.

Wildlife and Driving

At some point in our driving careers, all drivers will encounter wildlife. Here are a few tips on how to be cautious about wildlife while driving and what to do if you encounter animals on the road.

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  1. Be aware of the road signs – The signs are there for a reason, typically you will see them on highways or rural areas. Slow down and make sure you are checking your surroundings regularly.

 

  1. Drive defensively – Take an opportunity to warn other drivers if you happen to see deer or moose while driving. At night, be aware of your headlights reflecting against the eyes of an animal. Flickering your headlights at ongoing drivers can help them become aware that wildlife may be approaching.

 

  1. Use your vehicle – Make sure your brakes, headlights and taillights are in working order. Also, topping up on your wiper fluid and inspecting your wiper blades can be self-assuring and help keep other driver’s safe while on the road. Use your high beams at night when you are not meeting oncoming traffic.

 

To swerve or not to swerve?

 

Swerving can be dangerous, not only to the driver but oncoming traffic. If you have time to react to wildlife on the road, consider using your brakes instead of the possibility of colliding with ongoing traffic.

 

If you encounter a small deer, and have minimal time to react, using your brakes not your wheel is usually the best response, especially in harsh weather conditions.

 

If however, you encounter a larger animal such as a moose, swerving to avoid the animal may actually cause less damage as a moose can weigh up to 1200 lbs. Moose carry significant risk of injury and death to motorists every year.

 

What if a collision is inevitable?

 

  1. Brake firmly and quickly – try and steer your vehicle to hit the animal on an angle.
  2. Ease up on the brakes just before you collide. This causes the front end of the vehicle to rise, which can help prevent the animal from going through the windshield.
  3. Look in the direction your want your vehicle to go, not where the animal is coming from. This can help prevent your vehicle from going in the direction of oncoming traffic.

 

What to do after a collision?

  1. Turn on your hazard lights.
  2. Pull onto the side of the road. Pulling onto a side road instead of being parked on the shoulder of the highway, can reduce the risk of another driving hitting you.
  3. Illuminate the animal with your headlights if possible.
  4. You can approach the animal with caution to see if it is dead or injured. Injured animals can be very dangerous, back-off if that is the case. You are not required to put an injured animal out of misery.

 

Driving Tips for New Drivers

downloadWinter is here and car troubles are bound to happen especially for newer drivers. Although these tips can be used year round they are crucial in the winter.

Alert Others:

Turn on your 4 way hazard lights to alert others. Having a flash light or a flare triangle will come in handy if you run into issues late at night. Place your flare triangle about 50 feet away from your vehicle.

Call For Help:

It’s extremely rare for someone to not have a cell phone these days so in the case of a break down or emergency call for help. If you are in-between cell phones or on the rare occasion you forgot yours at home have someone who stops call for you. Many dealerships have road side assistance; these are numbers you should have in your phone. However if you don’t you can call your dealer and ask them for this number. If you have a CAA membership call them as they will assist you for free.

Stay in your Vehicle unless it’s Unsafe:

It may seem like a good idea to get out of your vehicle and attempt to identify the problem it’s safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help to arrive. If you must exit your vehicle use the door that is on the opposite side of the roadway to prevent walking into oncoming traffic. By getting out of your vehicle you put yourself and others at risk of an accident. If it is winter staying in your vehicle will keep you warmer for longer, if you open the door you will be letting the warm air out of your vehicle. Be sure to have a survival kit with you at all times and warm clothing and blankets.

Here is a chart of how long the average adult can be outside in specific temperatures:

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Stranger Danger:

Lock your doors and roll up your windows. If you don’t trust someone offering you help don’t open the door. You may roll down your window a crack to speak to them which will be safer than opening your door.

Tire Trouble:

If you get a flat tire try to pull over onto a flat even surface so that you can safely use your jack. Flat tires are more common than you think. Makes sure you have the correct tools in your trunk as well as warm clothes in the freezing cold winter.

 

Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement

How long do bla965d9e1063d610058b3810145edef087des last?

This all depends on the weather where you live:

Heat- heat really wears on your rubber windshield squeegees; therefore frequent replacement will be required.

Rainy & Snowy Climates- The more you use your wipers the shorter their life will get.

General Wiper Rule:

If your wipers smear water or snow and obstruct your view it’s time for new blades.

What happens to my Blades as they wear out?

As your wiper blades endure blistering heat, freezing snow, rain, and tons of use like most things they wear out. They start to lose their flexibility and become brittle with rubber cracks and tears. You will be left with blades that streak effecting your visibility and safety. If you let your wipers wear out past the point of just smudging they may wear down to metal and ever scratch your window.

Wiper blades are one of the most important components of your vehicle when it comes to your safety. However, they are exposed to the nasty weather conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Talk about a tough job trying to keep your visibility clear no matter what the weather brings. Have your windshield wipers replaced at a convenient time such as when you are getting your oil changed in the Capital Ford Quicklane.

5 Ways to Save on Gas This Winter

Even if your vehicle is consistently “fuel efficient,” here are five alternatives to help you save your cash this Christmas season.

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1. Lighten up – Removing ski racks and other accessories from your vehicle (if possible) will cause you to guzzle more gas – try to only use these items only when necessary.

2. Brush it off – Scraping your windshield and brushing off that powdery snow will alleviate some weight and drag off of your vehicle.

3. Check your tires – Low tire pressure creates resistance and causes your vehicle to work harder, which means you will use up more fuel. Tires will lose pressure quicker in the colder months, so it is important to keep a gauge handy and check your tires regularly.

4. Idle less – Did you know idling for more than 10 seconds can waste more fuel than restarting your vehicle? Next time you want to go through the drive-thru, you may want to make the short trip inside to help savor your $.

5. Give yourself a break – Gusting winds, blowing snow and freezing rain deterring you from visiting Safeway to purchase your holiday turkey? Here is our advice – stay home and enjoy a nice warm cup of hot cocoa by the Yuletide fire. The sloppy weather forces your vehicle to work harder and not to mention you could hit those dreaded traffic jams. If you have to brave the weather and road conditions, visiting your furthest destination first will allow your engine to properly warm-up. This can help your engine to perform at its best all day.

Holiday Humor

The five day count-down is on, so to lighten the mood and get into the Christmas spirit – some classic Christmas jokes are in order… Enjoy!

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How much did Santa pay for his sleigh?

Nothing, it was on the house!

 

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?

Ice Crispies.

 

What do you get when you combine a Christmas tree with an iPad?

A pineapple.                                                                                                                              

 

What kind of motorbike does Santa ride?

A Holly Davidson!

 

Why does Santa go down the chimney on Christmas Eve?

Because it ‘soots’ him.

 

How was the snow globe feeling?

A little shaken!

 

How do you know Santa is in the room?

You can sense his presents.

 

What do Santa’s elves drive?

Minivans.

 

Which reindeer is the best cleaner?

Comet.

Did Rudolph go to school?

 No, he was Elf-taught!  

What is your Exhaust trying to tell you?

1158Even if your vehicle isn’t showing any warning lights if your exhaust changes from its regular color this could mean something is going wrong with your vehicle.

Blue Exhaust:

This means that your engine is burning oil. The valve guide seals or piston rings are most likely warn out and the oil is leaking past where it should be lubricating. The oil is going to the combustion chamber where its being burned up with the fuel. Burning oil can cause rough starts as this can ruin your vehicles spark plugs.

If your vehicle is turbocharged it is also possible that the blower is in need of rebuilding or replacement.

Gray Exhaust:

There are many reasons for gray smoke:

  • Fluid getting burned up in the engine
  • Faulty transmission
  • Vacuum modulator

Its best to have gray exhaust checked out by a trusted mechanic.

White Exhaust:

Thin White:

  • This is probably the result of normal condensation buildup inside the exhaust system

Thick White:

  • This can be caused by the engine burning coolant that can result in a serious issue like a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head, or cracked engine block. These are all costly repairs.

Black Exhaust:

This means the engine is burning to much fuel. You should check your air filter and other intake components like sensors, fuel injectors and the fuel pressure regulator.

It may also be a clogged fuel return line. Black smoke is very easy to have diagnosed. However, Burning unnecessary fuel will affect your fuel economy so make sure you get it checked out as soon as possible!

Any exhaust coming from your vehicle means it is in distress. Pay attention to what your vehicle is trying to tell you in order to ensure many years of adequate driving. Drive safe!

Smart Tips for Winter Driving

Smart Tips for Winter Driving

winter_driving

SGI provides our customers with some simple, yet knowledgeable tips that drivers should be reminded of during each winter season.

Make sure to remove all ice and snow from your windows before you drive. Do not being driving until the windshield is totally defrosted. Don’t forget about clearing off your head and tail lights to ensure they are visible by other motorists.

Always check road conditions before you leave your home. You can call the highway hotline at 1-888-335-7623 toll free in Canada, or visit this website to view current road conditions.

Do not brake or accelerate too hard on icy roads, this can cause you to skid and lose control. Applying gentle pressure to your breaks instead of slamming them will help you to avoid skidding and maintain control of your vehicle.

Using your cruise control during variable road conditions is not recommended. You will need to have full control of your vehicle and adjust speed as needed. Using CC could cause you to lose control in the event of slippery road conditions.

Winter time means it is time for a regular tune-up, especially before a road trip! Come visit us at the Quick Lane to have your vehicle inspected before you hit the road.

How Far Can You Drive on a Spare Tire?

As a driver, you will unfortunately encounter a flat tire at some point. So how long can you really drive on your spare? In this article, we shed some light about this topic to enlighten those customers who are unsure.

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Full-Size Spare

If you are lucky enough to have your vehicle come with a full-size spare, obviously the durability and time you can drive on the tire will increase. These tires require extra space for storage and therefore if you are a truck/SUV owner, you will be one of the few to have an extra tire this size. Most service centers will recommend that you get a new tire put on as soon as you can, due to the fact that the spare has not been used as much as the other tires. This may cause the wheel to operate differently which could be dangerous.

Donut Spare

Most vehicles will come with a “donut spare.” A wheel that does not resemble your other tires and is a lot less durable. The idea is to have this tire put on only to allow you to get to your closest service center to have a new tire put on. It is not recommended to drive more than 100 kilometers to your destination or reach a speed of over 80 kilometers per hour.

In the end, regardless of the type of spare you have, you will need to purchase a new tire. Don’t put yourself and others at risk because of finances. You can’t put a price on safety!

Should you buy a Manual Transmission?

016Ford_Mustang_2015_35832726_Although automatic vehicles are becoming more and more advanced each year manual transmissions have their place in the automotive world too. There is no better feeling than having total control over your vehicle.

Perks to buying a manual:

  • Manual Transmissions are more affordable than automatics.
  • Manual Transmission repairs are considered to be less costly.
  • In many models especially older vehicles a Manual Transmission gets two more miles per gallon of fuel than the automatic model.
  • There is a sense of accomplishment with the perfect up shift and knowing a skill that not many others do.
  • You will always know what gear your car is in, unlike an automatic, which might have geared up once or twice, and won’t deliver power when you need it.

Drawbacks to buying a manual:

  • Your friends or family may not be able to drive your car. In some ways this could be a blessing but in the case of an emergency this is not ideal.
  • Often manual transmissions are reserved for the basic trim level and don’t have many luxuries.
  • They may be harder to sell as less people drive manual transmissions although with the right buyer they may pay premium price.

The savings in the purchase price and fuel economy of a manual transmission are significant advantages. It may be time for a change, so why not learn how to drive a manual transmission and feel the power and control beneath your feet.