Category Archives: Vehicle Maintenance

When Should I Put On My Winter Tires?

The white stuff has begun to fall in Winnipeg and that, unfortunately, means that winter is fast approaching.

While we have yet to experience our first ‘permanent’ snow, we have seen flakes start to fall and even collect, albeit briefly, on some surfaces. We’re also seeing the thermometer dip below the dreaded 0.

Now this means, of course, that Winnipeg drivers are going to start panicking in their driving habits and there may be a few more incidents on roads in our fair city, which leads to the question of when we should switch over to our winter tires.

Generally speaking, the time to make the changeover is when the temperature is 10 degrees or less consistently; so looking at the forecast over the next few days in Winnipeg (though it will inevitably change), the temperature is going to be in the mid-single digits most of the week, save for Friday when we’re slated to hit 9 Celsius.

While the outlook beyond Friday is looking cooler and cooler, and there is expected snowfall over the next 7 days, the temperature could still shift up and down so be sure to keep an eye on this before deciding to change your tires.

For more winter driving tips in Winnipeg, keep an eye on our blog over the coming weeks.

What to do if the “Check Engine” Light Comes On

Today’s automobiles are sophisticated machines.  The engine might provide the power, but at the heart of the vehicle is a computer monitoring numerous systems, making compensations for everything from engine temperature to exhaust temperature to the habits of the driver.

When the computer detects a condition that it cannot correct, it will inform the driver, usually by displaying the “Check Engine” light.

Many people don’t notice this indicator on their dashboards, or worse, they ignore it.  “Check Engine” could be displayed for anything from a loose gas cap to failure of a critical engine component that could, if not addressed, destroy the engine.

If your car displays this warning, find out why!  Check any other gauges or warning lights that your car has for other signs of trouble, especially concerning temperature or oil pressure.  Drive the car to a safe location and check to make sure there’s no smoke, steam, leaking liquid, or other signs of trouble.  If you’re comfortable doing so, check the oil level.  Be careful, components under the hood can be extremely hot, especially if there’s been a malfunction.

If you don’t find any signs of immediate problems, it’s likely okay to drive the car (preferably to a mechanic for service).  If you’ve found any of the above problems, or anything else that suggests that something’s not right with your car (noises, smells, etc.) then don’t risk damage – call the experts at Dr. Hook Towing and Recovery for roadside assistance.  A uniformed, trained professional will be dispatched to your location, and will be able to help diagnose the problem further.  If possible, you can continue your journey.  Should your vehicle require towing, Dr. Hook can arrange for speedy and safe transport for your vehicle to wherever you choose.  To reach Dr. Hook, Call 956-HOOK (4665) or Toll Free 1-800-561-4665.  To enroll in the Guaranteed Roadside Assistance Program, which assures speedy service even peak usage times, visit this link.

Is Your Car Ready For the Summer Heat?

When winter sets in, people are generally very concerned about their vehicle’s readiness.  They check their antifreeze, and make sure they have everything they need to deal with snow and ice.

People are more carefree when it comes to preparing for the summer.  Unfortunately, more car problems occur in warmer months, because we tend to drive a lot more when the weather is nicer.  Here are some tips that can help you ensure that your summer travels are as trouble-free as possible:

1. Coolant level. Make sure that your radiator is full, and that your car’s cooling system is working properly.  Nothing is harder on an engine than overheating.

2. Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and maintained.  Tire pressures will rise in the heat, which can turn a slow leak into a sudden problem.

3. Windshield Cleaning Fluid and Wipers. Dirt and insects can build up very quickly on a windshield, reducing visibility (especially in the sun).  Make sure you can clean them away effectively.

4. Lights. Make sure your headlights are working, and that the lenses are clean and free of “chalking”.  Makes sure signal, brake, and taillights operate properly.  You want to be certain that you can see and be seen out on the road.

Despite your best efforts the unforeseen can occur, and breakdowns can happen.  Take your phone with you, and enroll in Dr. Hook Towing and Recovery’s Guaranteed Roadside Assistance program.  You’ll know that no matter what time of day or night, an experienced professional will be dispatched to help you get on your way.  Dr. Hook offers program members accurate information about timelines and guaranteed access to service.  Your call will always be answered.  For more information visit this link.

Do You Need Four-Wheel Drive?

While most of us are accustomed to having the option of upgrading a new automobile to four-wheel drive, recently, many makes and models are coming standard with four Wheel drive. Honda and Volkswagen are the first makers to bypass the idea of giving an option to customers and are only putting four-wheel drive on some models. Other makers are extending this traditionally SUV/truck option to their smaller, sedan models. Many still question whether this is actually a needed feature or just a way for car companies to make more money. There are many advantages and disadvantages to having four-wheel drive.

(1) Lack of crash tests studies
Although four-wheel drive increases traction, control and handling, it is a feature that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not fully tested. Although “all”-wheel drive is considered a safety feature in many publications, NHTSA has not officially named “four”-wheel drive as a safety feature.

(2) Most people DO NOT need it
With a price tag close to $2000, four-wheel drive is a feature that rarely pays for itself. Unless you live in extreme climates or environments such as mountains, you will likely never need this feature. Typically, automobiles with front wheel drive fare just as well as four-wheel drive in snow. Blizzards and ice storms may require four-wheel drive, but most people do not leave the comfort of their home (and aren’t recommended to leave) during these conditions.

Before you decide on a new model and its features, realistically consider the situations you will find yourself. If you happen to be a park ranger in a mountain community, then four-wheel drive is required. If you are a commuter in a northern environment, most often, you will require a simple front-wheel drive automobile.

What To Do After A Car Accident

Eventually, the majority of drivers will, at some point, be involved in an automobile accident. When, and if, a car accident occurs in Manitoba, the first priority is to assess any injuries and attend to the hurt and injured. This means checking in both cars and for injured bystanders and calling emergency services if required. Some injuries may not be apparent when still under the influence of adrenaline, be sure to have any pain checked out by a medical professional.

After the proper medical assessments, the damage sets in and steps must be taken to appropriately report a claim. There are situations that require reporting to the police. Accidents that involve injuries, collisions with an combined damage amount of more than $1000, and any vandalism, theft, hit-and-run or other criminal collisions.  The driver has 7 days to report the incident to the police.

The next step in reporting is reporting any claims for damages, losses or injuries. When safe, move the vehicle from traffic. Report the claim immediately to the Manitoba Public Insurance. Even if the cars do not have serious damage, Manitoba Pubic Insurance should always be notified as a precaution to future injuries or claims that resulted from this accident. Manitoba Public Insurance suggests reporting any and all claims to the police department.

When reporting, have your vehicle registration, drivers license of the driver of your car, details of the accident and details of those involved, including witnesses. After arranging for towing, automobiles are estimated for damage and rental cars will be distributed accordingly.

If your car is not drivable and the office of Manitoba Public Insurance is closed, drivers are allowed to arrange for their own towing. Dr. Hook is a safe, reliable and reputable towing company that is honest and helpful when drivers are hit with surprises of the road.