7 Mistakes to Avoid on Your BC Driver’s Test

Driving Test

The team of auto mechanics at Searles sees a lot of cars come in with N’s on their bumpers, so we figured it was time to write a post geared towards new drivers.

The reason a lot of new drivers keep their N for longer than they are required to is sometimes financial, sometimes not having the time, but in a lot of cases it’s due to nerves about having to take another road test. The key is to relax enough so you don’t end up making these top seven mistakes that are commonly made on driver’s licensing tests across British Columbia.

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3 Car Problems to Stay on Top of This Winter

car battery victoria

Happy New Year, everyone! Now that the holidays are officially a wrap, it’s time to get back to the daily grind, and for some of you, the daily commute. If one of your resolutions for 2017 was to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule a little bit better, this post ought to help out with that.

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Searles Presents: How NOT to Drive in Winter Weather

winter driving stuck in ditch

Here one day, gone the next. That is almost every Vancouver Islander’s attitude when it comes to snow and ice on the roads. It’s no wonder why drivers all blame each other for “not knowing how to drive in this crap.” Unfortunately, the City of Victoria also gets needlessly blamed for not responding fast enough…

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The Top 5 Ways to Wreck Your Car

Car in Pothole

More often than not, drivers are guilty of ignoring warning signs or doing certain things to their vehicles that lead to an earlier trip to the repair shop than they had anticipated. At Searles we see it all the time: early on-set damage to vehicles that we know could have been prevented.

Sure, accidents happen, and potholes and icy patches can come out of nowhere, but in many cases, paying more attention on the roads and to your vehicle itself will help prevent you from having to see an auto mechanic practically every other month.

However, if you really want to come and see us more often, here are five of the worst things you can do to damage your car: Read More

Getting to Know Your Vehicle’s Exterior Sensors

vehicle exterior sensors

As much time as you spend taking care of your car, it spends a great deal of time taking care of you. And I am not just talking about getting you from point A to point B in a timely fashion. I am talking about all of the many ways it keeps you safe on the road.

Have you taken a newer car on a test drive lately? How safe did you feel? Very? It’s no surprise. Many vehicle makes and models out there now come equipped with advanced safety features in the way of exterior sensors. These exterior radars and sensors alert you when objects creep into your blind spots. Depending on the type of system, your car might also apply the brakes on your behalf. Whoa, Nelly!

These advanced safety features are considered add-ons for the majority of makes and models out there and are marketed under various trade names. This means each system’s capabilities will vary by manufacturer and model. For example, right off the top there is Acura’s Collision Mitigation Brake System, Cadillac’s Automatic Collision Preparation and Volvo’s Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, which are just a few options out there. Read More

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 Much Do You Really Know About Airbags?

Airbags

Airbags. We hope to never see them and we don’t know much about them, yet we trust them with our lives.

Does that seem a little strange to you? Then maybe it’s time to up your airbag IQ.

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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