What Is a Turbocharger? Capital GMC Service Corner

What Is a Turbocharger

The 6-cylinder engine is in decline. Fewer and fewer cars and SUVs are being outfitted with inline and V6s in response to tightening fuel economy regulations and cost savings. V8s are even rarer. Across the industry, these gas-loving engines are being replaced by turbocharged four cylinders that offer similar power and better fuel economy. But, for those who have been harangued by an 02’ Civic with a petulant exhaust, the word turbo may connote something obnoxious or inefficient. Let’s take a look at what a turbocharger is and why you shouldn’t worry if you’ve got one under the hood.

How Does an Engine Work?

Here is the simplest (the simplest!) explanation of what’s going on in your engine. In a standard engine, a combination of fuel and air go into the combustion chamber. A spark ignites the mixture and the explosion drives the piston down. The motion of the piston rotates the crankshaft and, for all intents and purposes, “drives” the engine. When the piston is pushed down, exhaust (a wasted byproduct of combustion) is also released from the engine. The piston rises again and the process repeats. But turbocharged engines do not waste the exhaust. 

What Is a Turbocharger?

Instead, the released fumes spin a turbochargers turbine as they leave the combustion chamber. The turbine forces the induction of more air into the combustion chamber allowing the allowing the engine to generate more power with less fuel. A turbocharger is a really simple machine, when you think about it. But how effective is it?

Fuel Economy

Adding a turbocharger to a traditional engine improves its fuel economy by roughly 2 to 6%. That sounds insignificant, but only because we’re now comparing two engines with different amounts of power. It makes more sense to compare a smaller turbo engine to a larger, naturally aspirated engine that generates the same power.

So, if you consider that a turbo four is replacing a traditional V6, the fuel savings are greater. Four cylinder engines are lighter and smaller than their six cylinder counterparts, making the vehicle more fuel efficient overall. This is the main reason we’re seeing turbo fours in the majority of passenger vehicles.

Any Downsides

In the public discourse, turbochargers are associated with short engine life and engine failure. Why? If you take fewer cylinders and force them to complete more combustion cycles they won’t last as long. But this was mostly a problem for engines with aftermarket turbochargers. Considering most manufacturers have common sense, they only pair turbochargers with engines built to withstand extra force. That means lots of high-strength steel.

Another problem of older and aftermarket turbos is cooldown. Turbochargers can spin up to 150,000 rpm and they get extremely hot! If you drive your turbo hard and then shut it off immediately, oil would coke and ruin your turbocharger. But modern engines feature water cooling and cool much more effectively so you usually don’t have to worry about things like idling your vehicle before your shut it off.

Ultimately, the turbocharger is a useful innovation for getting more power and using less fuel. They’re no longer just for modified Civics with race decals, and they won’t destroy your engine.

 

The 2019 Sierra: A Pickup Worthy of It’s Own Badge

The 2019 Sierra

GMC’s 2019 Sierra has finally been revealed. It boasts a first carbon fibre box, pro trailering tools, standard 22” wheels, and much more. Let’s take a closer look at the professional-grade pickup!

The 2019 Sierra

Whenever we’re talking about the Chevrolet Silverado or the GMC Sierra, one question always comes up. Why does GM sell the same truck under two names? Quite often, the models have been distinguished by little more than a badge and grille. If GM simply unified the two brands, they could boast much stronger sales. But, for the 2019 model year, with full redesigns, GM has promised that the two trucks will be markedly different.

And, at least ostensibly, GMC has delivered. The new Sierra is bigger, taller, and lighter. On the inside, that translates to best-in-class headroom and legroom. On the outside, it translates to a pretty impressive profile. The front-end is clean and imposing, aided by the sharp C headlights, elevated hood, and tall grille. It looks much

Power

The Sierra will feature a choice of three powertrains. The first is a 3.0L Duramax turbodiesel inline-six. It’s good to see GM addressing customer support for diesel pickups, despite the consumer concern that have followed the illegal emissions cheating from Volkswagen, Jeep, and RAM. Additionally, there will be two V8s, a 5.3-litre and a 6.2-litre variety – just like in the previous generation. However, both will be more efficient thanks to the inclusion of Dynamic Fuel Management which replaces Active Fuel Management.

Dynamic Fuel Management

In the simplest terms, a small number of cylinders generate a small amount of power more efficiently than many cylinders. So, in low performance demand situations, GM’s Active Fuel Management shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders (a predesignated block) to save fuel. The technology had not been dramatically altered since 2004, so the advent of Dynamic Fuel Management is exciting news.

Dynamic Fuel Management is capable of shutting down any of seven cylinders at any given time as a live response to the demands. That sounds complicated, but it just means that your V8 can be reduced to single-cylinder function when you’re driving very slowly. While Active Fuel Management improved fuel economy by 5.5%-7.5%, Dynamic Fuel Management pushes those numbers to as high as 15%.

High Strength, Low Weight

But the flashier fuel-saving measure, is the construction. Ford has gone all-in on aluminum – and met significant resistance for it (largely from GM). Instead of following the lead, GM is using what it calls a “mixed materials approach.” GMC will make the Sierra’s swing panels (hood, liftgate, doors) out of aluminum. Fixed panels on the body will continue to use steel. Most impressively, GMC is introducing an optional carbon fibre pickup box. It’s the first in industry history and it’s 62 lbs lighter than the steel one it replaces.

The 2019 Sierra distances itself even further from the Silverado with a ton of incredible technology like the MultiPro Tailgate. But we’ll cover the best innovations in a separate post.

 

 

The 2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 XT4

Gasoline engines continue to become more efficient as fuel prices remain stable. Consequently, buyers can get bigger vehicles with more interior space for less money. That’s why Cadillac, like nearly every major automaker, is in the midst of shifting its attention toward crossovers and SUVs. In one sense, this is a shame because Cadillac has a stable of excellent driver’s cars. But if they can synthesize those great driving dynamics with the luxurious comfort of the Escalade, the forthcoming XT4 will be a massive success.

Cadillac’s SUVs

Cadillac’s utility lineup has been in drastic need of reinforcements. The imperious Escalade continues to be the full-sized SUV against which others are measured. At the other end is the XT5 crossover, Cadillac’s biggest seller. These are both objectively excellent and commercially successful vehicles. They’re easily identifiable on the road, drive well, and pack a compelling suite of luxury features. The problem is that they’re Cadillac’s only SUVs. That’s why Cadillac is preparing to bolster its utility lineup, starting with the XT4.

The Cadillac XT4

As the name suggests, the XT4 is smaller than XT5, making it a sub-compact crossover. Admittedly, building an attractive sub-compact SUV is difficult, a fact to which BMW and Audi must readily attest. Planting a body on a smaller platform, but making it taller can lead to some awkward proportions. However, what we’ve seen from spy shots of the XT4, shows that success is possible.

The XT4’s lower stance actually helps Cadillac incorporate some of the great stylings from its sedans. It has a squarish architecture and an athletic stance much like the ATS. But the front end is actually more reminiscent of the Cadillac Escalade. The result promises to be one of the best looking CUVs we’ve seen yet. Of course, we’ll have to wait until Cadillac pulls the camouflage off to be sure. The whole picture is, of course, accented by some relatively giant wheels.

Under the Hood

Presumably, the engines will be turbocharged four cylinders. That’s the industry’s en vogue powerplant thanks to its compact size, low weight, and relative power. And it just makes sense for the XT4. The ATS sedan has a powerful 2.0L Turbo with 272 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. It would be a good candidate for the XT4 and should promise confident power. The low stance should allow Cadillac to impart it with some compelling driving dynamics like its sedans. The thrill of driving is sometimes lost in taller SUVs with less “planted” weight.

On the Inside

Rightly or wrongly, buyers judge premium crossovers primarily on their interior quality. But, based on the standard set by the rest of Cadillac’s lineup, that shouldn’t be a problem. By now we’re used to genuine leather, aluminum, hand-stitched details, and the latest technology like wireless charging. And it’s fair to expect most of the elements in the XT4. What we know for sure has been gleaned from a recent spy photo. You’ll notice a fairly spacious cabin with a characteristically sturdy steering wheel and a large touchscreen complemented by minimalistic piano key buttons. We’ll have to reserve judgment until we’re afforded a more complete view.

When can expect to see the XT4 without its camouflage? Cadillac will be unveiling the 2019 XT4 at the New York Auto Show in March. Rumours indicate that Cadillac will be offering virtual reality walkarounds, so that prospective buyers can experience the XT4 in person.

Drive into Spring: Routine Spring Maintenance for Your Vehicle

Spring maintenance

Spring Maintenance

It may not look like it, but spring is nearly here. And now that it’s not -30 °C, you can stand under the hood of your car for more than 30 seconds without suffering frostbite. It’s a good time to inspect your vehicle and see if the winter weather has forced any spring maintenance. 

Tires

Do not wait too long to remove your winter tires. Winter tires are made of soft rubber that remains pliable in extreme cold. But when temperatures warm up, the rubber gets even softer and becomes susceptible to premature wear. But when is the right time to switch your tires?  

You should put your three-season tires back on when the temperature is around seven degrees. That is usually early April, but I don’t want to come back and edit this post when global warming further erodes our average temperatures, so let’s say late March.

If you need new tires for the season, Capital GMC Service can help. We’ve got a massive selection of name-brand tires in all sizes. Use our tire finder to help find the perfect set. You should also consider using Capital GMC’s tire storage service. Our facility is temperature-controlled and low-priced. You don’t have to worry about hauling your tires out of storage, we’ll have them waiting for you when you bring your vehicle in.

Filters & Fluids

Spring is also a good time to make sure that your vehicle isn’t running short on important fluids. With an owner’s manual and moderate savvy you can check your washer fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant. If you let any of these fluids run low, you can put yourself, and your vehicle, in unnecessary danger. If you bring your vehicle for an oil change at Capital GMC Service, we’ll make sure to check your fluid levels as part of our inspection.

Alignments

Over time, driving in any conditions can affect your vehicle’s alignment. And driving on ice and through snowdrifts can make those problems arise even more quickly. An improper wheel alignment causes imbalanced tire wear and will “pull” your vehicle to one side of the road, which is obviously dangerous.

Experts recommend you check your wheel alignment at least once a year, so spring maintenance is the perfect time. Book an appointment and we’ll make sure your vehicle is perfectly aligned. Better yet, bundle your wheel alignment with the rest of your routine maintenance like a spring safety inspection, tire service, or oil change.

Wipers

Do your wipers squeak, drag, skip, or leave huge streaks? It’s probably time to replace them. In fact, you probably should have replaced them before or during winter, but oh well. This is a pretty easy piece of maintenance you can do by yourself. If you’re shopping for wipers on your own, just make sure you measure them beforehand.

Battery

Did your battery die during the winter even though you were running your vehicle regularly? If it’s over three years old and it’s required a boost, you should think about replacing it. Bring your vehicle to Capital GMC Service and we’ll test your battery and show how much longer it can be safely be used before being replaced. Next season, you’ll be at less of a risk of being stranded.

The 2018 Yukon: GMC’s True Heavyweight Contender

The 2018 Yukon in its natural habitat.

The 2018 Yukon

The GMC Yukon is celebrating 25 years on the road at the top of the GMC food chain. The professional-grade full-sized SUV brings rugged performance, seating for up to seven, and some undeniably good looks. Plus, with the Denali badge, the 2018 Yukon becomes an uncompromising luxury vehicle with a genuine chance of unsettling the Cadillac Escalade’s preeminence.

What’s New for 2018?

GMC has refined rather than remade the 2018 Yukon. Perhaps the greatest highlight is the new transmission, a smooth 10-speed automatic exclusively paired with the 6.2L EcoTec3 V8. Tire-pressure monitoring system has been improved with an alert that will tell you when you need to fill up the tires. It’s only available with the 6.2L V8 engine reserved for the Denali and Denali XL models. On the outside, there’s a new Satin Steel metallic paint colour and chrome grille. On the inside, GMC has added new wood trim options for Denali models.

Finally, GMC has introduced a Denali-exclusive Ultimate Package which bundles the following:

  • Power sunroof
  • Automatic running boards
  • Adaptive cruise control w/ collision warning; exterior paint accents
  • 22” Wheels
  • And more

You can check out a more detailed breakdown of the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali right here. But for now, let’s take a look at what customers can expect as standard equipment.

Professional-Grade Standard

The Yukon SLE is the base model in the family and comes with an MSRP of $56,175. That might be tough to swallow, but that price is competitive with other full-sized luxury SUVs. Plus, even the base model comes with a good balance of “premium” features including Rainsense automatic wipers, 18” aluminum wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Performance is pretty solid, too.

The standard engine in the 2018 Yukon is a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 delivering 355 horsepower and 383 lb/ft of torque. GMC pairs that engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission which delivers power capably (though not as capably as the Denali’s 10-speed). 4WD, of course, is available on every trim level. In any configuration, the Yukon is solid. It can tow and haul without breaking a sweat and is pretty enjoyable to drive. But performance and driving dynamics are not the Yukon’s greatest assets.

The area in which the SLE really excels is entertainment. An 8” infotainment screen is standard. And with standard OnStar 4G LTE WiFi, you can stay connected with music, messaging, and navigation. SLE buyers also get a Bose 9-speaker sound system paired with the audio brand’s exceptional Active Noise Cancellation. The combination delivers crisp and encompassing sound that surprises in a vehicle so large.