All-Season, All-Weather, or Winter Tires – What’s the Difference?!

winter tires victoria bc

Now that we are well into Fall, Thanksgiving 2016 is all but a distant memory and Halloween has now arrived. While these dates on the calendar give us plenty of reasons to celebrate the onslaught of fall, they also make it all too easy for us to avoid the looming task of switching to our winter tires before the weather truly turns nasty.

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8 Important Things to Stock in Your Car Emergency Kit

Car Emergency Kit from Canadian Tire

Have you ever noticed that whenever a small earthquake shakes Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, out come all the emergency preparedness headlines? The only reason these reminders exist is because few people are prepared for disaster around here, and the media knows it!

The truth is, it’s not that people are too lazy or too cheap to think about preparing for an emergency, it’s just that most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of something bad happening. It’s just not something we place on the top of our minds—same goes for taxes, rising food costs, climate change and the like. So, items in our emergency kits remain on the store shelves, waiting to be assembled.

Well, I’m here to tell you that experiencing an emergency while on the road is a lot more likely than a tidal wave or the Big One coming for us, and that preparing for a roadside emergency takes very little effort and space inside your vehicle. In fact, there are emergency car-care kits available at stores that have included some or all of these components for you already. It’s just a matter of picking one up, or putting it on your birthday wish list. Read More

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 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

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

5 Everyday Things That Are Throwing Your Wheel Alignment Out of Whack

 

Wheel AlignmentFor many, wheel misalignment is seen as one of those pesky problems that comes along with car ownership. And while yes, wheel misalignment can occur naturally over time, it’s more likely that there’s a specific reason behind your wonky tires. Like your driving habits. Or your tendency to neglect your car. Or that time you bumped a curb in the parking lot.

When your tires are out of alignment, it basically means  they aren’t pointing in the right direction. You may notice  your vehicle pulling to one direction or vibrating as the wheels pull against each other, or that your steering wheel is crooked even though you’re driving straight. This all negatively affects your steering, suspension and tires, but more importantly, it compromises your safety on the road. And that’s never a good thing.

Are you familiar with these common causes of wheel alignment problems?

Hitting curbs

Everyone hits a curb at one point or another. Whether it’s a gentle bump as you pull into a tricky driveway or a bad jolt from hitting one of those concrete parking spot dividers (not technically a curb, but close enough), it can be enough to throw a tire or two out of alignment. Read More

The Top 5 Most Dangerous Intersections in Victoria BC

dangerous intersection victoria bc

Victoria BC has some great roads. Epic, really. From winding coastal roads to mountaintop vistas to leafy tree-lined streets, your new favorite drive is just around the corner.

But…we also have some really awful roads. So bad, in fact, that 7 out of the top 10 crash intersections on Vancouver Island are located right here in Victoria. The helpful folks over at ICBC compiled some stats on these intersections, including how many crashes happened at each one in 2013.

Here’s a rundown of our fine city’s most dangerous spots for drivers:

#5. Burnside Rd W & Tillicum Rd

Crashes: 49

Here, you have all sorts of drivers and they don’t always get along. There are people just coming off the highway, people heading to the highway, impatient commuters trying to avoid the Douglas St. crush, mall shoppers who are in no hurry whatsoever, and the occasional parent who can’t find the Little League field. You’ll see every speed and every disposition, not to mention an endless stream of pedestrians to brake for. Not pretty. Read More