Plan for a Safe Ride Home this Christmas

Plan for a Safe Ride Home

It’s now the end of November, and you know what that means! With the watering restrictions of summer a distant memory, and the federal election long behind us, and Halloween costumes packed up for another year, it’s finally time to turn our attention to holiday planning, and more important, holiday partying.

For many people, the holidays are a time of great indulgence, more so than Halloween or even birthday parties. For this reason, drinking and driving becomes an even larger concern across the province, so it’s never too early to start planning a safe ride home. Read More

How to Restore Your Vehicle’s Headlights

VW Headlight

Can a car or truck ever be considered totally shiny and clean if its headlights look dull? At Searles, we don’t think so!

Dull-looking headlights might sound like an oxymoron, but they exist. Headlights appear to look dull when the polycarbonate plastic components of most headlights degrade over time, usually due to general oxidation and powerful UV rays—yes, we do get enough sunshine in Victoria to do considerable damage to headlights. Other things that can degrade the look of your headlights include dirt, salt, pollution, water vapour and road damage. This breakdown in plastic creates a cloudy-looking fog or haze over the light’s casing. Read More

How to Choose a Roadside Assistance Provider

Roadside Assistance

It used to be that you’d be hanging out with your buddies in downtown Victoria, and if someone accidentally locked their keys in their car, someone else would know somebody with a BCAA membership. Problem solved.

But these days, BCAA is no longer the frontrunner in the roadside assistance realm, as it seems like every man and their dog is offering some sort of roadside assistance package.

Consumers can now purchase their plans through big box stores, local towing companies and ICBC. Even banks, credit card companies and cell phone providers are throwing in roadside assistance packages to sweeten their deals. Read More

How to Make Sure You’re Not Being Scammed By Your Repair Shop

Car Mechanic - Explaining to Customer

When it comes to auto repair, people tend to feel vulnerable. And why shouldn’t they? The vehicle repair industry is not regulated in British Columbia, which means there is no official association or governing body protecting consumers specifically from shoddy work done by some repair shops.

Pair this with the fact that most people are overwhelmed by what’s under their hoods, and you’ve got a nervous consumer base when it comes to getting their vehicles repaired. This feeling is intensified by the fact that now more than ever, cars and trucks are getting fancier and fancier, with their multiple built-in cameras, sensors, gizmos and gadgets.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know how it all works just to save yourself from getting taken for a ride at the repair shop. Just follow our tips for making sure you’re not being scammed when it comes to maintaining your vehicle.

Know What to Look For

First, start by recognizing the ways you might fall victim to a scam. Read More

How to Clean and Protect Your Car’s Leather Upholstery

cleaning leather car upholstery

So you’ve invested in a leather interior for your car. Good choice! We love leather for how sleek it looks and how good it feels, but we admit we love it mostly for the fact it is so much easier to clean than its fabric counterpart. No bulky shampoo machines required.

The key to keeping your leather upholstery looking as good as it did the day you drove away with it is regular cleaning. Same goes for a lot of things in life, right? Cleaning is the root of all things looking good! Read More

8 Things to Look For When Buying a Classic Car

Searles Classic Cars

Ah, summer! Arguably everyone’s favourite time of year. What’s not to love? The sun is shining, the BBQ is fired up, beaches are getting lots of attention, and everywhere you look there’s a beauty on the road with her top down, all shined up and putting on a show.

It’s almost enough to want you to go out and buy a classic car of your very own.

Whether it’s been a dream of yours for years, or you’re just starting your search, buying a collector takes a little bit of research, a can-do attitude and the willpower to resist buying the first one you fall in love with. Read More

10 Steps to Change a Flat Tire

Changing a Flat Tire

If you don’t know how to change a tire, getting a flat can be a nightmare. Depending on where you are, how much traffic is flying by, and whether or not you have a roadside assistance package it can be a very stressful experience.

Like parallel parking, and knowing which streets in Downtown Victoria are one-way, changing a flat tire is a handy and necessary skill for all drivers. Read More

When Should You Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Windshield Wipers 2

The unassuming windshield wiper cleans away splattered insects, brushes away heavy piles of snow, scrapes away ice and frost and clears the view at a furious pace during rainstorms — sometimes for hours at a time.

History of the Windshield Wiper

Modern windshield wipers were the brainchild of a country girl from Alabama who visited New York City in the winter of 1902. Mary Anderson was riding in a trolley car and the driver had the front window half down as the falling sleet constantly blocked his vision. Read More

10 Items to Keep in Your Car If You’re Leaving Civilization

Road Map

If you’re considering a road trip off the beaten path, your first job is to make sure your car is in good working order. After that, it’s time to consider what to bring along.

Even if you’re not planning on leaving civilization, there are items that are always good to have at the ready.

Take a look at these 10 items to keep in your car if you’re leaving civilization and ask yourself if you might want to toss a few of these things into your car today — who knows? They could end up saving your life.

  1. Clothes, blankets, plastic bags

You don’t want to overload your vehicle, but putting an old sleeping bag and sweater into the trunk won’t make a significant difference to your gas mileage and their possible uses are numerous.

In addition to keeping you warm, a sleeping bag might become a makeshift shelter and a sweater could be refashioned into a bag. While you’re at it, grab some plastic garbage bags, too. They are surprisingly handy.Lighter

  1. Lighters

With smoking rates plummeting, the old question, “Do you have a light?” is increasingly being answered with a “no.” But lighters are great time savers.  People on TV rub sticks together to make fire … but trust us, it’s not as easy as they make it look.

Having a couple of lighters in your glove box or trunk could mean warmth and light in an emergency, and they sure beat sticks!

  1. Liquids

Water is heavy. A 20 gallon jug of water is going to affect your gas mileage. What’s more, in cold temperatures water will freeze and the container could crack. In searing heat, water left in a hot car gets rancid pretty quickly.

One workaround is bottled water — grab a couple medium-size bottles from the supermarket, and rotate them out when you go grocery shopping. Read More

Buying a Preowned Car? Here’s 5 Essential Tips

The words “used car” strike fear into some folks, but finding and buying a pre-owned car that’s reliable and suits your needs is easier than it seems. Before you sign on the dotted line, though, check out these five tips for navigating your way to the car that’s right for you.

1. Consider Your Others’ Experience

It’s easy to get excited when you see a decently priced 20-year-old BMW, especially if that particular model has always appealed to you. But have you ever driven a BMW? Let alone one that is several-decades old?

The older BMW might be a good buy, but if you don’t have any BMW experience, you might want to consider doing your research and asking around to friends and family who do have experience with BMWs. Also, do research online and read reviews to find out about common issues with that particular model.

Old BMW

2. The Price isn’t Always Right

Cheap cars are cheap for a reason. It cannot be stressed enough: there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap used car. In fact, when a car owner won’t budge much from their original asking price, there might be a good reason — it might be a good car.

Find out the general value of the model you’re looking for and don’t consider vehicles priced significantly below that benchmark as that’s how you end up with a lemon. Read More