We live in such a disposable society. It's amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days Ontario folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough - they had to do without. Most Thorold car owners couldn't afford new cars very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.
It's a good thing that cars are more reliable these days for Thorold drivers. They just don't break down as often. And the good news for us Ontario penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Thorold car owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedules.
Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and clog passages. Then some SUV parts don't get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged - one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning - really everything on your schedule.
It is probably even more important for older SUVs. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.
And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Thorold at Hartzel Automotive & Marine, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It's like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service professional help you keep track of the rest.
Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Hartzel Automotive & Marine is cheaper than a a costly new car payment for Thorold motorists. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol - you don't want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.
Hartzel Automotive & Marine On Your Serpentine Belt
Posted on December 03,15 by napademo
Today we’re going to be talking about serpentine belts for our Thorold, Ontario customers. Let’s start by talking about the accessories that are driven by the serpentine belt. First is the alternator. That’s the important device that makes electricity to power the SUV and recharge the battery. Then there’s the air conditioning compressor that makes cool air for you while you're driving around Ontario in the summer.
The power steering and power brake pumps are driven by the serpentine belt in most Thorold auto owners' vehicles. Those pumps provide essential pressure that assists your steering and braking.
In many SUVs, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. The water pump is what circulates the coolant that protects your engine. In some cars around Thorold, Ontario, the water pump is driven by the timing belt.
The radiator cooling fans on some SUVs are also driven by the serpentine belt. Some have separate electric motors. That’s really a lot of essential work for one belt.
But modern engine design has a single belt that snakes around the front of the engine and drives most if not all of these accessories. Serpentine belts do a lot of important work, but they’re tough and can last Thorold car owners for thousands of miles.
Just how long will they last? That’ll vary for each individual car in the Thorold, Ontario area. Your automobile manufacturer will have a recommendation for when it should be changed, but it could need it sooner. The good news is that a visual inspection at Hartzel Automotive & Marine can detect a belt that’s getting close to failing.
Your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service professional can look at the belt: if it has more than three or four cracks per inch, it needs to be replaced. A deep crack that’s more than half the depth of the belt - replace. Frayed, missing pieces, a shiny glazed look? Toss it.
What’s involved in replacing the belt at Hartzel Automotive & Marine? First the old belt is removed. Then a new one is fitted around all the pulleys for the accessories and the drive. There’s a special pulley called a tensioner.
This pulley is mounted to the engine block with a spring loaded arm. Its essential job is to apply the correct amount of tension to the belt to keep it from getting loose and maybe slipping off. Because the spring in the tensioner pulley wears out, AutoNetTV and the automotive professionals at Hartzel Automotive & Marine recommend Thorold car owners replace them at the same time as the belt. It just makes sense.
What are the warning signs that there’s a problem with the serpentine belt? You may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating around our Thorold streets. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound.
What do you do if your belt breaks? If you’ve actually had that happen on a busy St Catharines freeway, it can be a little scary. The first thing Thorold motorists usually notice is that they have no power steering or power brakes. Don’t panic – you can still steer and brake, but you’ll have to do the work. It’ll be harder to steer and you’ll need more time and effort to stop, so plan accordingly.
Your dashboard will light up will all kinds of warnings. You’ll see a warning about your cooling system if you have a water pump that’s driven by the serpentine belt. This is critical because without your cooling system working, your engine will overheat. If you don’t stop you’ll have massive engine damage, maybe to the point that you need a new engine. Open your windows and turn the heater on full blast to provide a little engine cooling. Pull over as quickly as you safely can!
The battery light will come on because the alternator isn’t working. If your car’s water pump isn’t driven by the serpentine belt, you’re not in danger of overheating so you can drive a little further if necessary. But the battery will run down to the point where the car will just shut off. You don’t want that to happen while you’re driving in our local Thorold, Ontario traffic.
Remember, Thorold motorists can avoid this stressful scenario if they replace their SUV serpentine belt on schedule. Ask your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service advisor to check your belts and hoses from time to time so you can take care of them if they need to be replaced prematurely.
Hartzel Automotive & Marine 96 Ormond St. S. Thorold, Ontario L2V 4V6 905.684.0050
Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In Thorold
Posted on August 20,15 by napademo
Every Thorold car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter's dirty.
Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your pickup owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Thorold technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.
So between your owner’s manual and your Thorold technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved for Thorold motorists.
Now, most air filters purchased in Thorold, Thorold, Thorold, or Thorold don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that Ontario people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Hartzel Automotive & Marine can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Thorold.
Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Thorold home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your pickup, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive Ontario gas to move your vehicle around Thorold roads.
Your pickup actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Thorold at Hartzel Automotive & Marine. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll get better fuel economy, have better performance and protect your pickup engine.
The Importance Of Thorold Drivers Following Service Intervals
Posted on July 21,15 by napademo
Today in our Hartzel Automotive & Marine blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your pickup isn’t the only aspect of your life in Thorold with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?
Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.
Clearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Thorold takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.
So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our pickups? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Thorold neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.
From a practical standpoint, Thorold people don’t need to memorize their pickup owner’s manuals. You can let your Hartzel Automotive & Marine advisor remind you of the guidelines established by car makers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your pickup. You really can rely on Hartzel Automotive & Marine professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.
For Thorold drivers who want to be more proactive with their pickup care, here are some simple ways for Thorold auto owners to remember what has a maintenance interval.
First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.
Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don't forget brakes and shock absorbers.
And what makes your pickup go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Thorold car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Hartzel Automotive & Marine for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.
And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy fuel economy, your pickup doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.
Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.
I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In Thorold
Posted on July 14,15 by napademo
About 90% of our driving decisions in Thorold are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely essential.
Most Thorold auto owners have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our pickup windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 auto owners across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.
It seems like our wiper blades are always at their worst when we Thorold drivers need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Thorold area. 78% of car owners only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.
Thorold car owners need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as an important pickup safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.
Thorold car owners really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of Ontario, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.
Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Thorold conditions, if your pickup has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.
Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering Thorold sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the pickup windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard for Thorold motorists; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire pickup windshield – that's a costly consequence for neglecting such a small part.
AutoNetTV and Hartzel Automotive & Marine recommend Thorold auto owners replace worn blades right away. Your Thorold service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Hartzel Automotive & Marine, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.
Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their vital work. Even though Hartzel Automotive & Marine will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Bring it with you if you’re heading out on a road trip.
Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t clean your windows as well.
So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road.
Find us at:
Hartzel Automotive & Marine 96 Ormond St. S. Thorold, Ontario L2V 4V6 905.684.0050
The Maintenance Free Myth
Posted on June 17,15 by napademo
Sometimes we hear Thorold auto owners say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Thorold auto owners don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.
Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize and show how essential it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and cash. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.
The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in Ontario and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.
Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the Ontario safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Thorold inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the bucks. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little income on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Thorold car owners: don't skip your critical annual inspections. The irony is that many Thorold service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.
Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was dynamic enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.
Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer's maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.
The team at Hartzel Automotive & Marine in Thorold recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and is more economical to operate in Ontario. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to your Thorold or Thorold service center or Hartzel Automotive & Marine in Thorold for an inspection. Take care of unperformed critical routine maintenance sooner rather than later.
Hartzel Automotive & Marine 96 Ormond St. S. Thorold, Ontario L2V 4V6 905.684.0050
Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Thorold
Posted on May 14,15 by napademo
There’s a segment of the Thorold population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Ontario area over time. Many Thorold motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.
Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Thorold drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.
Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.
Now, the ignition system in your pickup is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Hartzel Automotive & Marine for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.
Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Thorold have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.
Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your pickup will perform better and return better fuel economy.
Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern pickup engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.
And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.
For example, your pickup engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.
Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Hartzel Automotive & Marine, we have been taking care of all those little things for 18 years. Your pickup still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Thorold did not go away.
Hartzel Automotive & Marine and the Maintenance Mindset
Posted on April 29,15 by napademo
When it comes to their vehicles, some Thorold drivers don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Thorold drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their pickups.
For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. There are other things that Thorold residents are diligent about. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Thorold doctor for a checkup before school starts.
So Thorold car owners really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, most of us learn our lesson and shape up.
Unfortunately, Thorold auto owners too often learn a hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Hartzel Automotive & Marine on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a costly breakdown.
So how can Thorold car owners get into the habit of taking care of their pickup? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.
Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service advisor will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Hartzel Automotive & Marine, we check to see if your pickup auto manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage. The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done. The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that pickups are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their operation. Without them, the pickup won’t run at all.
So when you come in to Hartzel Automotive & Marine for an oil change, you get an inspection from your knowledgeable service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service professional can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and helping you avoid expensive breakdowns.
Following Recommended Intervals For Your pickup
Posted on March 24,15 by napademo
If you're reading this article in Thorold, Ontario, then you probably care about your car and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine service advisor tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say "no", you might be harming your pickup or risking your family's safety.
At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner's manual. But it is not like you want to keep your pickup auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.
Cars are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Thorold car owners to keep them running well. That is why manufacturers have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your pickup performing efficiently and prevent pricey breakdowns. In a typical owners manual you'll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning, and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks - yeah, it is a really long list!
Fortunately, this isn't a test: Thorold drivers don't need to have it memorized. Your knowledgeable Hartzel Automotive & Marine tech has access to your automobile manufacturer's recommendations. Don't be surprised when your service specialist at Hartzel Automotive & Marine reminds you something vital is due. Your car maker has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Hartzel Automotive & Marine help you stay on top of important maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We'll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.
Severe Service Requirements
Posted on December 12,14 by napademo
A lot of Thorold motorists have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners' manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She's been in the automotive business for 24 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.
Cricket says there's so much confusion on this topic because, "Most owners' manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called 'regular service' and 'severe service'. Sometimes they're simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time."
Foreign and domestic car makers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn't one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners' manual, Thorold automotive repair centers (including Hartzel Automotive & Marine) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules schedules for every vehicle - so they can help Thorold car owners know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.
Most trips are less than four miles
Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
You drive regularly in very hot Ontario weather
The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the highway)
Stop and go driving
You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier around Thorold
It's common sense for Thorold drivers: Just a few minutes at highway speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it's very cold in Thorold, don't allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving around Thorold means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.
The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owners' manual, or talk with your Hartzel Automotive & Marine service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Hartzel Automotive & Marine is located at 96 Ormond St. S., Thorold Ontario.
Here is what a fleet manager said recently: "Since Thorold miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the automobile manufacturer's severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science."
Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly Ontario highway driving in moderate weather, you'll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Thorold motorists just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.
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