Check Engine Light | What to Do

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re driving along, when all of a sudden Mommy says: “UH-OH!  Check Engine Light?!  Wonder what that’s all about…”

A “Check Engine Light” can mean many different things.  From a loose gas cap (sometimes Daddy calls me that) to bigtime engine trouble.  A blinking light means you need immediate attention.  If the light is steady it’s not an emergency, but you should schedule an appointment here at Searles ASAP

While you don’t have to pull over, your car could be wasting gas and polluting the air.  That would be yucky, and no one wants that.  Since way back in the 1980’s – long before I was born – computers have helped monitor things like engine speed, fuel mixture and ignition timing.  In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory to help our highly-trained technicians identify the problem by performing a (Big Word Alert) “Diagnostic Assessment”.

If the check engine light comes on, check to see if dashboard gauges indicate low oil pressure or overheating.  Try tightening the gas cap.  This often solves the problem, but it may take a while before the light resets. Reduce your speed, and if you’re pulling a trailer?  Park it as quickly as possible to reduce any additional strain on the engine until you can bring it in.  How’d I get to be so smart?  I spend a lot time at the shop.  As Dad says “Hold my wrench, I’m just getting started.”

Chris Wylie: “A faulty oxygen sensor can cause too much gas to be used – cutting mileage by up to 40%.  Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve mileage by 3%, and replacing a clogged air filter?  Can save you as much as 10%“

Thanks Dad!  So to recap: Well-maintained vehicles, with regular oil changes & properly inflated tires are going to use up to 87 litres LESS in gas per year – which saves you money every time you fill up.  That brings us to NAPA’s latest maintenance offer: Now until August 31st, book your vehicle’s Spring & Summer Maintenance package and you’ll be entered to win one of 75 STIHL® Lithium-ion Blowers & Trimmers.

Searles Spring & Summer maintenance package includes: Oil, lube and filter, tire rotation, and a comprehensive multi-point visual inspection.  It’s True.  (See what I did there? 😉  Don’t forget:   You don’t need snow tires or chains after April 1st to go up the Malahat again, and you can always store them with us until next fall.

Now back to my blog: While no one’s thinking “Air Conditioning” just yet, your A/C has been asleep for months!  (I love doing this by the way)  Turn it on FULL BLAST!  Check for “funny smells” coming out of the vents and make sure it’s cooling properly.  If not, it may need a tune-up.  That’s when you’ll find out if you’ve got a leak or not.

Lastly, a good ol’ fashioned car wash will help you forget about all that snow we got this year!   If you’re doing it by hand, buying a good quality micro-fibre wash mitt will keep you from damaging the paint on a car.

Now just because it’s warmer out, doesn’t mean you can put away the first-aid kit!  BCAA recommends keeping a fully-stocked kit in the car at all times, and a blanket.  If you break down, it can help to keep you warm without having to run the engine.  Other must-haves include: Reflective vests, jumper cables and a fully-charged cell-phone.  A fire extinguisher, flares, flashlight and a whistle, plus food & water, and…an ACTUAL MAP!  Reason being?  GPS isn’t going to help you if you’re lost with no cell service or a low battery.

At the first sign of trouble, pull off to the shoulder as far away from traffic as possible.  But make sure you can be seen by all other drivers, by turning your hazard lights on.  Once you’re safely off the road, call for help. Be sure to tell responders where you are, what your car looks like, and if there are any special circumstances. They’ll ask you all sorts of important questions like:

Are you OK?  How many passengers are with you?  Are there any kids with special needs or pets in need of medical attention?  Regardless of whether you call 911 or roadside assistance, you should also call any friend or family member who might be waiting for you.  You don’t anyone to be worrying about you at home – especially when you heading Up Island to Grandma and Grampa’s house.

Until next time, be sure to put: in your favourites, and like Searle’s Auto Repair on Facebook.

“Back-2-Skool” Already?!

Back to school

Hey everybody! Mayson here and I am SO EXCITED to be “GOING BACK” to see all of my friends!

Whether you take the school bus like me, or Mommy & Daddy drop you off, you’ve got to get there safely.

My Daddy knows all about that, so he’s offering this awesome Fall/Winter Maintenance Special:

Chris Wylie:  Thanks Mayson.  Right now, anyone who books an oil, lube and filter, tire rotation and comprehensive multi-point visual inspection will be entered-to-win: One of 75 Arlo Home Security Systems from our friends at NAPA AutoPro. Did you know we’ve been part of the NAPA AutoPro Group for 25 years now?

Mayson: That’s great Daddy, but this is “Mayson’s Blog”, not yours! “JOKE ALERT”: “Why do they call it The Malahat?  Did someone named “MALA” drop a HAT on the road?” BAH-HAHAHA! OK, let’s get serious.  If you’re travelling on the Malahat this year, don’t forget: you’ll need to get your winter tires on by October 1st.  Searles can help with that too.

“The Wheels on the Bus go round & round, round & round, round & round…”

School bus

National School Bus Safety Week is October 22nd to 24th.  Most accidents happen when kids are getting on the bus, or leaving to cross the street. So here are some great tips to remember to stay safe:

  • Be at the bus stop on time, and wait in a safe place well back from the edge of the road.
  • Enter one at a time, and be sure to hold onto the hand rail.
  • Find a seat right away and stay seated facing forward at all times (Dad says that’s a tough one for squirmy-worms like me…Hey that’s not nice – Worms are CUTE!
  • Do not place things in the aisle, because your friends could trip and fall.
  • If the windows are open, be sure to keep your arms and head inside the bus.
  • Never distract the bus driver. Always follow his or her instructions.
  • If you drop something near the wheels, never try to pick it up because chances are the bus driver can’t see you! Ask an adult or the driver to help, and always be polite.

When crossing the street to get on or off the bus:

  • Walk at least 10 BIG STEPS in front of the bus, along the side of the road and look at the driver for a signal before crossing.
  • Always look “ALL WAYS” before crossing the road. And if someone’s waiting for you, WALK towards them – never run, because that could be very dangerous especially if it’s raining & the road is slippery!

Whether on a city street, highway or county road, and no matter how fast you’re going – all drivers have to STOP when approaching a school bus with flashing red lights.

And never pass a school bus on either side…that’s not only super dangerous, it’s also ILLEGAL!

Now that I’m going to school for the whole day, my baby sister misses me BIG TIME!  But she’s not the only one. So do my DOGS!

After being surrounded by their favourite people all summer long, it can be awfully lonely for them, and quite a change in routine.

Here’s what I do to make sure they KNOW how much I love them: I give them a kiss on the forehead, and a special toy or treat just before I leave in the morning.

Sometimes, Mommy hides their favorite pet treats around the house, so they can find them throughout the day.

Rubber Kongs or hard hollow bones can be stuffed with a little peanut butter (yummy) or cream cheese (yucky for me, but yummy for them) and it can even be frozen if you like.

Then when I come home, I take them out to play right away. We play “fetch” or “cat & mouse” as a family for a while before starting any after school activities.

And after dinner?

You can usually find them right at my feet while I’m doing homework.

Yup, I’m only in Grade 1, but we’ve lots of reading to do.

If I’m lucky, maybe one day, I’ll be able to say: “Sorry, the dog ate my homework!!”  Just kidding.

These are just a few of the fun, pet-friendly things you can do to help keep your pets happy at this time of year.

By the way, my favourite subject is ART, and this fall’s after-school activities include: Swimming and Gymnastics.  So Daddy makes sure our vehicle is in tip-top shape – because as he says: “Mayson’s social calendar is busier than ours!”

You know it!

Oh, there’s the bell…gotta go, recess is over!

‘Til next time, if you have any “Grown Up” questions about NAPA’s Fall/Winter Special or any of the things you read about today, call us at (250) 475-2000, or book an appointment online at:

See you after class!

Your friend, Mayson.

Mayson’s Blog: “Are we THERE yet?!…”

Summer Road Trip

Hey everybody! Thanks for stopping by.  Summer’s finally here I’m ready for a Road Trip! The first thing you should do is book an appointment for Searles’ summer maintenance. I asked Daddy about it, and he said: “it’s best to call (250) 475-2000 and get the car in at least 2 weeks before leaving. This service includes an oil-lube & filter change.  We rotate your tires and do a comprehensive multi-point visual inspection, all for  $99.95 plus tax. But that’s not all:  Everyone who books before August 31st will be entered to WIN one of 75 Toro Lawnmowers.”

VROOM! Now that’s cool.  OK, I’ve got lots more great advice for you, so let’s get started. Remember: It’s VERY HOT inside all cars at this time of year.  I like wearing shorts, we all do…but sometimes, the seats are just too hot to sit on!  Car shades stick on any window and can help keep you cool.  So can a windshield visor.  These same visors can also be turned around to help stop frost build up in winter. WINTER? OOPS!  I can’t believe I just said that…silly Mayson!

WOOF! WOOF!  (Ted and Dobby) remind pet parents everywhere: When temperatures reach the mid-20s outside, it can FEEL like mid-40s in your vehicle – even with the windows down in the shade! So for everyone’s safety, please repeat after me: “I promise, to never, ever leave puppies (or kids) alone in a parked car!”

Let’s talk “CAR SEATS”

You can switch to a front-facing car seat, when you’re “2” or when you reach the seat’s weight or height limit.  And the safest place to put it…is in the “centre” of your back seat.  Dad says “I’m growing like a bad weed!” I think that means: I’m such a big girl, that I’ve outgrown mine. So I’m all buckled up in a Booster Seat now!

True or False? If my baby brother starts crying while Daddy’s driving, it’s better to take him out of the seat for a while.

Answer: FALSE.  Kids should never be taken out of their car seats – not even for a minute – while the car is moving. Our safety depends on being properly restrained at all times.  You should always find a safe place to pull over…then hit the road again when everything’s A-OK.

Lastly, don’t forget to double-check the car seat  Mom says kids can get “fidgety”.  It’s true, we don’t mean to but we like to push buttons and play with car-seat straps, especially on long trips. Each time you strap us back in, double-check to see whether the straps have loosened or that the harness buckle is still in the right place. The harness system should be tight enough around us, so you can’t pinch a portion of the strap between your fingers.

Got it?  Good.  Now onto the really important stuff: SNACKS & DRINKS and ENTERTAINMENT!

Mayson’s Top Summer Travelling Tip: “Kids Need Water!”

Sometimes when it’s hot, I get tired.  That’s when I know it’s time to get out of the sun and drink more water!  Mom makes sure I start my day with a full glass of water.  Juice, milk and lemonade is good too but not coffee.  Coffee’s yucky and full of caffeine, which is (big word alert): dehydrating!

This next part is super important: Pack suitcases and strollers in the trunk the night before, but keep fun stuff like toys, bottles, sippy cups & snacks, colouring books and movies close by – because the last thing you want to hear is: “Are we there yet?”

Speaking of Snacks: Why not pack a lunch and have a Picnic along the way!  Vancouver Island has some beautiful places to visit heading up to Nanaimo, and all the way to Tofino.  Mom always packs healthy snacks like carrots, grapes, cherries, pretzels & trail mix…and I like fresh popcorn too!

“I’m bored…there’s nothing to do!!”

I know from experience, that’s something Moms & Dads don’t like to hear at all.  So here are some games to play along the way:

I Spy: Start with: “I spy with my little eye and the color is….” or how about “The Animal Game”: One person thinks of an animal, and others take turns guessing what it could be.

The Alphabet Game: Look for letters on road signs and billboards, starting with the letter “A” and make your way all the way through the alphabet.  “A” is for APPLE! “B” is  for “BEE”…and the last one who gets to Zed…WINS!  That’s a toughie, because I don’t see too many Zebras out there, hahaha.

The License-Plate Game: Try to spot license plates from as many provinces and states as you can. Whoever spots the most wins.

Name That Tune: Hum a nursery rhyme or a Disney Song and see who can guess the fastest!

And older kids like The Question Game!  Ask things like: “If you won a MILLION dollars, what would you do with it?”…OR: “If you could pick only one food to eat FOREVER, what would it be?”

Last year, Daddy even wrapped “surprises” for us from the dollar store.  Then if we were good, he’d call out our names and we’d get to pick something out of the “magic suitcase” once an hour!  This year, I’d like a Hula Hoop!  Just kidding, hula hoops are too big to pack. Besides, we need room for pool noodles bathing suits, water-wings, flip-flops, sunglasses and sunscreen!

Be sure to put our website in your favourites and check back often.  And of you have any “Grown Up” questions about your vehicle, you can always book an appointment at: or call us (250) 475-2000. ‘Til next time…we’ll see you at The Beach!

Mayson On Why Every Family Needs a Minivan

I really, really want a minivan! Dad said no and mumbled something about it “cramping his style”.  Silly Dad! Since when are parents supposed to have style?

I knew the minivan was the coolest vehicle around, but it was going to take some convincing to get dad on board. That’s why I asked nicely for some computer time so I could make write this list of reasons why our family needs a minivan! 

why every family should get a minivan

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Mayson’s Traffic Safety Tips for Moms and Dads

Hi! Mayson here with another blog! This time I’m talking about something really, really important – traffic safety!

Traffic Safety for Moms and Dads (and Kids)

I love going for walks with Mommy, but walking beside the road can be scary – especially when you’re small and hard to spot like me! That’s why I printed off ICBC’s Traffic Safety Tips for Parents and Drivers and put it on the fridge for everyone to read.  Here’s what I learned!

traffic safety tips for kids

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Mayson’s Guide to Road Trip Activities for Kids

We’re going on a road trip! According to Daddy that’s a really, really long car ride – at least an hour.  Maybe even TWO hours!

My parents are going crazy packing suitcases, and snacks, and even my PJs! (Does this mean we’re going to Disneyland?) I asked Daddy what we do during the road trip.  He said there are lots of fun things! We can talk, and listen to the radio and there’s always lots to look at out the window.

Uh, Daddy? That’s boring…

I started to get a little worried about this whole ‘road trip’ thing, so while my dad took the family car in for pre-trip tune up, I pulled out my crayons and came up with some of my own ideas. It turns out there are a lots of fun things for kids to do on a long car ride!  Read More

We’re Having a Party for Customer Appreciation Day

Put the date in your phone, write it on the calendar – or if you’re really OLD like DAD 😉 tie a string around your finger!  Saturday, June 24th is Customer Appreciation Day at Searle’s Auto Repair and everyone’s invited – kids too!  Look for the Big Bouncy Castle here at 517 Kelvin Road starting at 11AM, and come hungry.  Grilled to the Mac’s food truck will be serving up delicious Mac ‘n Cheese!  DJ RON will be spinning awesome tunes, and you’ll also be able to take a Selfie inside Four Frames Photo Booth!

Tour the shop, make a donation in support of our friends who take care of all the animals at Broken Promises Rescue and you’ll be entered-to-win, and you’ll be entered-to-win great prizes like Searle’s Gift Cards!  So let’s recap:

Who:    Searle’s Auto Repair

What:   Customer Appreciation Day

Where: 517 Kelvin Road

When: Saturday, June 24th from 11am-‘til-4pm

Why:    Because we LOVE Mac ‘n Cheese…Puppies…and YOU!

Come meet the pros who care for your vehicle, as if it was their own.  Call (250) 475-2000 for de-tails (puppy tails, get it?) and join me in the Bouncy Castle!

I’m Mayson Wylie, and I Approve this Blog!

Kids and Car Seats – Advice from Mayson

Hi, my name is Mayson!

I’m 4 years old (ALMOST “5”)  and THIS is my very first “BLOG!”  That’s a funny word, huh?  My Daddy (Chris Wylie from Searle’s Auto Repair) says it means I get to type with all of my fingers really fast!  And when I’m as old as HE is, I’ll have written about hundreds and hundreds of awesome things like…

Car Seats!

I don’t always like sitting in my car seat, but today I learned just how important it really is!  It basically saved my whole life!  Mommy’s a really good driver, but when something fell into the middle of the road, she had to swerve out of the way.  If Mommy hadn’t buckled me in properly, I could have gotten really, really hurt!  Until I get bigger, I will be happy to sit in my car seat for me from now on!

Daddy told me someone named ICBC says, “When car-seats are properly installed, our risk of fatality is reduced by 71%, and serious injury is reduced by 67%”.

Sounds like pretty big numbers to me!

But did you know car seats aren’t just protectors – they’re the law!  And if you don’t use them, you could get in BIG trouble.  Mom says that when I was born, the nurses at the hospital checked to see that I was going home in a car seat. They do that for all the babies!

Choosing The Right Size Of Car Seat For Your Child

So, how do you know what size and kind to buy? It’s easy!  Moms & Dads just have to read the labels – they’re good at that.  When I was a baby, my car seat was rear-facing.  But now that I’m 4, I switched to a front-facing seat.  Mine is called a “convertible”.  Which means, it can change with you, so you don’t have to buy a new one every time you grow!

I asked Dad how they picked my car seat, and he says the guide from ICBC goes like this:

Infants: For babies less than one year old and less than 20 lbs. (9 kg), a rear-facing seat is the only way to go. Rear-facing seats support your baby’s neck and head during sudden stops, fender benders, and crashes. Car seats for newborns come with a harness that, when done up snuggly, only allow mommy or daddy to fit one of their fingers between the harness and the baby’s collarbone.

Then, the rear-facing seat goes in the centre of the back seat. Don’t even think about putting the seat upfront with you, especially if your car has airbags that could injure a tiny body when deployed.

Toddlers/Preschoolers: When your baby grows to be older than one year and is between 20 and 40 lbs. (9-18 kg), you have to adjust their car seat. Keep on using the rear-facing position for as long as possible. When us wee ones start to get curious and want to see more of the world around us, we’ll let you know by kicking a fuss, don’t worry.

For everyone with a convertible infant/child seat, all you have to do is modify the seat for toddlers. You saved the instructions that came with the unit, right? If the seat isn’t a convertible, it’s time to buy the next size of seat. It should come with a tether strap for added stability.

Children Under 9: Young children who weigh more than 40 lbs. (18 kg), but are less than 5-ft. tall need sit in a booster seat when they are in the car. Booster seats elevate the child so that their seat belt fits properly – nice and snug.

Thanks Dad!  Here are a few other things you might be wondering about:

Is It Okay To Buy A Used Car Seat?

My parents bought a brand-new one, because they said “all car seats have an expiry-date…and they go bad just like my yogurt!  (Hahaha!)  Because car seats get messy and cleaners can make them soft, they only last between 5 and 9 years.  So if you don’t get a new one, be sure to find out how old it is and whether or not it’s broken, or been in an accident.

What Brand Of Car Seat Is Best?

There are a lot of different car seats out there, so I really can’t tell you which one to get…if I did it would be PINK!  Dad says to make sure to find a seat that complies with Canada’s Safety Regulations and meets the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards  – whatever that means.

I saw some nice ones made by Britax, Frontier, Graco, and Sunshine Kids.  Mom even got mine registered so she’d know if it needed to be returned, replaced, or if anything was wrong with it.  Then we went to a car seat clinic here in Victoria to learn how to put it in properly!

….And finally:

Always Replace Your Child’s Car Seat After An Accident!

Let’s pretend that mommy wasn’t able to swerve in time, and we had  a small accident today.  Even if everyone was ok I’d still have to get a new car seat – even if it looked ok – just to keep me safe.  If my seat was ever damaged, that could really be dangerous for me!

Well, that’s it for now!  But sure to put in your favourites, and if you have any “Grown Up” questions about your car, truck, van (or Ladybug) you can always call us (250) 475-2000, or book an appointment online at: