Winter Tires: What, Why, & When?

 

Winter tires vs. the rest
If you live in Saskatchewan, alternating winter tires and three-seasons (formerly all-seasons) is vital.

Why Do I Need Winter Tires?

Why are winter tires important? Well, let’s start by talking about your summer tires. Summer tires are very firm. During the warmest months of the year, the heat of the pavement and the rubber, as well as the friction between the two, causes your tires to increase in elasticity. So, to maintain a good grip, your tires must be naturally stiff.

Inversely, cold temperatures causes rubber to contract. If you use summer tires, they will become even stiffer, reducing the amount of rubber in contact with the driving surface. Less contact means less grip. On the other hand, winter tires are naturally soft and are typically inflated to a lower pressure than their summer counterparts. Despite the cold temperatures, winter tires remain pliable, and give you more surface area in contact with the road. Subsequently, you get better grip (50% better than three-seasons), shorter stopping distances, and a decreased likelihood of sliding.

All-Weather Tires

All-weather tires are not the same as all-season tires. They’re best for urban areas that routinely see mild winter weather. Before you ask, a two-foot Saskatchewan blizzard is not mild winter weather. All-weather tires don’t perform very well on ice or snow packed snow. However, they are very competent for fresh, light snow; rain, and dry pavement. Consequently, all-weather tires have become popular tires for urbanites to use throughout the entire year. They are much more effective in winter than three-season tires. However, they will not outperform winter-specific tires.

When do I need winter tires?

Winter tires aren’t just for snow. They perform much better on dry pavement in cold temperatures, too. How cold? Well, according to the Canadian Tire and Rubber Association (which exists for reasons I can’t fathom), you should switch to winter tires when the temperature dips below 7℃. In Regina, the average temperature for September is about 11.6℃, dropping to 5.1℃ for October. So, if you want to maximize your grip on the road, and preserve the tread life of your all-weather or summer tires, put your winter tires on at the beginning of October.

Tire Storage

Once you have two sets of tires (possibly on two sets of wheels), you’re going to need somewhere to store them. If you have a shed or garage, you might end up lugging your tires back and forth twice a year. Or, you can use Capital GMC’s tire storage facility. When we change out your seasonal set we’ll put the other tires in our temperature-controlled storage. Once it’s time to switch back, we’ll have your tires waiting for you.

Conclusion

Basically, if you want the best traction and performance in winter, get winter tires. While it seems more expensive to buy two sets of tires, using one set during the improper season will cause it to prematurely wear. Alternating two sets of tires will save you money in the long run. However, if you refuse to get two sets of tires, remember to go with all-weather tires, not three-season (all-season).

 

How To Use IntelliLink Voice Commands

GMC IntelliLink in the new 2017 Yukon Denali

The infotainment systems available in modern vehicles have become drastically more sophisticated over the past few years. But they’ve also become much more complicated. Which means they’re more dangerous to drivers. Yes, I concede that’s kind of a slippery slope argument. But the fact is this: you’re more likely to get distracted from the road swiping on a touch screen for the correct Bruno Mars song than you would by switching between radio presets. Admittedly, touch screens have been getting a little more responsive. That means drivers will spend less time concentrating on them. But the most important improvement to these systems, by far, is the introduction of voice commands. Being able to adjust the route of your navigation system without taking your eyes off the road is invaluable. But figuring out the right commands for your onboard assistant can be difficult. That’s why we’re going to run through some of the most important commands for your GM IntelliLink software.

IntelliLink Voice Commands

The first step is simple. To prepare your IntelliLink system for a voice command, press the voice command button on the steering wheel. Now you’re ready to use one of the command key

Audio

Say “audio” to bring up the audio controls menu. From there, you can cycle through options with manual controls, or continue with voice commands. The “play” command is very important. Saying “play” followed by an artist name, album name, song name, genre name, playlist name, audiobook name, or podcast name will launch the appropriate media from a USB or Bluetooth device compatible with IntelliLink. Of course, you can also use voice commands to control the radio. Say “Tune to (station frequency number) FM” to change the station.

Phone

The IntelliLink system can also control a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. To connect your phone, first say “Pair phone.” To change the connected phone, say “Change phone.” Once your phone is connected, you can use IntelliLink to make a phone call. Use commands “Call” or “Dial” followed by a contact name or the phone number in single digits: eg., “three, zero, six, five, five, five, one, two, three, four.”

Navigation

One of the most important applications of the IntelliLink system’s voice command is navigation. Fumbling with Google Maps or tapping at your touchscreen while trying to navigate is extremely dangerous. Touch the voice command button then say “Navigation” or “Destination” to begin. From there, you can say “Address,” followed by the complete address of your destination; “Contact,” for directions to a person’s address; or “Point of Interest,” to bring up options about interesting locations. Finally, you can say “Cancel Route” to… cancel the route.

Highlights

  • “Audio” – bring up the Audio menu
  • “Play” – followed by artist, album, song, genre, playlist, podcast, or audiobook
  • “Tune to” – followed by station number + “FM” or “AM”
  • “Call” or “Dial” – followed by contact name or phone digits
  • “Pair phone” – connect your phone via Bluetooth
  • “Change phone” – select a different phone to pair with Bluetooth
  • “Navigation” or “Destination” – followed address, contact name, or point of interest
  • “Cancel route” – stop navigating

Many new GM vehicles are equipped with IntelliLink functionality. However, many drivers don’t use it to its full potential. Mastering voice commands will help you stay focused on the road. That’s vitally important in a time when distracted driving is one our roadways’ greatest dangers. And, as a bonus, you get to feel a bit like Knight Rider.

The Ultimate Guide to Buying GMC Used Trucks in Regina

It's the used trucks buying guide.

Used Trucks in Regina

The streets of Regina (increasingly those in international markets) firmly belong to trucks. Why? First, Saskatchewan drivers work hard. Whether it’s construction, farming, or something else, you need a vehicle that can keep up with you. Second, drivers in Saskatchewan need to conquer some tough road conditions. Black ice, potholes, and a couple feet of snow are just a few of the things you might run into on a given day. So, for safety and comfort on the road, you need something versatile and rugged. Finally, given the volatile price of gasoline, and the increasing emissions standards, you need fuel-efficient used trucks, too. Is it even possible to get everything? In short, yes – and even on sale.

Trucks Work Hard

Obviously, performance comes first for most buyers of used trucks. Knowing that, automakers are continuously building trucks that are lighter, stronger, and more fuel-efficient, year after year. Even with adequate horsepower and torque, hauling or towing can be dangerous jobs. So, to avoid hazards, you need to be confident your truck can maintain its grip and balance. That’s why 4X4 is basically a necessity for most pickup drivers. In Canada, it’s even more important. Four-wheel drive is an effective tool against ice that coats our roads for nearly half of the year, preventing slippage when it matters. Also, it’s essential for any driver who likes to take their truck off-road.

Understanding the Cab

The smallest available cab is the regular cab. It comes with two or three seats in the front row. Regular cabs feature no second row of seating, making it good as a raw workhorse, and not much else. Above the regular cab, is the extended cab, or double cab. These have small rear-seat benches accessed usually through reverse-hinged doors. For drivers planning on carrying more than one passenger on a regular basis, the extended cab isn’t the most practical solution. Quite simply, passengers in the second row won’t find much comfort. The biggest format for most pickups is the crew cab. Crew cabs feature roomier second-row seating accessed through standard, front-hinged doors. Obviously, the extra cabin space makes a crew cab more practical as a daily driver. But, buyers should understand the extra space will cut into the length of the bed.

Premium Features

Buyers of used trucks have traditionally needed to sacrifice some level of comfort. But, with the rising popularity of luxury vehicles, and luxury trims, many truck drivers are opting for an elevated pickup experience. Heated, leather seats; large aluminum rims, and a full suite of infotainment technology are just a few of the things you’ll find in the average truck on today’s roads. Further, with the wealth of available safety technology in modern trucks, additional comfort can be found in peace-of-mind. Features like collision alert, and lane-keeping assistance are quietly revolutionizing the way we drive. And, one of the best advocates of that revolution is GMC.

GMC

GMC offers two primary consumer trucks: the full-size Sierra and the mid-size Canyon. The Sierra is powered by a standard 4.3L EcoTec3 V6 engine. That engine delivers 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque. Customization options are pretty broad Drivers who want a little more power can upgrade to the 5.3L or 6.2L EcoTec3 V8. Those engines bring 355 and 420 horsepower, respectively. The base model Sierra comes with a starting MSRP of $31,070. Of course, if you’re buying pre-owned, you can get it for much less. As the flagship of GMC’s “Like a Pro” mantra, the Sierra is built for performance above all else.

GMC Canyon

Meanwhile, the GMC Canyon, which touts itself as the only premium midsize pickup, offers a bit more flexibility. The Canyon is powered by a 200-horsepower, 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. Drivers with also have the option of upgrading to a 3.6L V6 with Active Fuel Management. Active Fuel Management automatically switches the engine from six to three cylinder operation when performance demands are low. Consequently, your engine will consume a lot less fuel. Finally, there’s also a 2,8L Duramax Turbo Diesel for Diesel enthusiasts. But the Canyon’s appeal doesn’t really shine on the spec sheet.

Instead, most drivers will appreciate how the Canyon blends the practicality and power of a truck with convenient size. It’s as comfortable towing a boat as it is parallel parking downtown. And, with a standard rear vision camera, available forward collision alert, and lane-departure warning, the Canyon is fairly civilized. Not only can the Canyon fit into the city, but it can fit into a budget, too. With a starting MSRP of $22,930, the price matches the truck’s size. Of course, pre-owned buyers could pay even less to experience “the first smart-sized luxury pickup”. But, how can you make sure you’re buying a quality used truck?

Assessing Condition

Arguably, buyers of used trucks should be more cautious than buyers of other vehicles. Pickups are normally driven pretty hard. Towing a boat, driving off-road, or hauling construction materials will age a vehicle quicker than placid commuting. Those hard kms won’t be reflected on the odometer. So, how do you tell if a used truck is still in good condition? Well, here are a few inspection tips to get you started.

Exterior

When you check out the exterior used trucks, look for any scratches or ding on the body panels. Look for any overlapping or misaligned panels at the places where they meet. That would suggest the truck had been in an accident and had panels replaced. Of course, you should be able to learn about any major accidents from a service like CarProof that provides vehicle history reports. But inspecting the rest of a vehicle can be a bit more demanding.

Engine

However, you can inspect under the hood without being a mechanic. Look for signs of fluid or corrosion where they shouldn’t be. This indicates leaks which can lead to a host of other problems. Even if you can’t see fluid, you should inspect any visible hoses for damage. At the same time check the belts. They should be flexible and display no undue signs of wear. If they are brittle or cracked, they will need to be replaced before catastrophic engine failure arises.

Tires

Having a worn set of tires isn’t the worst expense a prospective vehicle owner could incur. However, you’ll want to make sure you factor the state of the rubber into any negotiation. Stick a toonie into the treads. If the tread extends into the gold ring in the center, then at least half of the tread life is remaining. Most importantly, you should consider the pattern of wear on the tires. If most of the visible wear is present only on a single side of the tires, it could indicate a more serious problem like a bad wheel alignment.

Obviously, the best way to assess the condition of used trucks is to let a professional inspect them. Most mechanics offer relatively inexpensive pre-purchase inspection. Compared to the amount of money your new truck could cost you, it’s a small investment. And it can help steer you away from vehicles that are in bad condition.

How do you shop for a pre-owned truck? Any tips we missed. Leave us a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Capital GMC’s 9 Road Trip Tips

Summer: Road Trip Season!

Summer road trip season is upon us. That means it’s time to reignite your passionate contempt for your closest friends and family while anaesthetizing your thighs on the rear bench of a Plymouth Grand Voyager. But before you take off on that grand voyage, consider these road trip tips.

Capital GMC's top nine road trip tips.

#1 Safety First

Before you take off for Wawota, you should make sure that your vehicle is in good shape. A mechanic inspection can be a good safety measure. Short of that, you should personally inspect:

  • Fluid levels – don’t run out of washer fluid during mosquito season
  • Air filter – unless you enjoy breathing in desiccated grasshopper essence
  • Air conditioner – because sitting still for six hours shouldn’t provoke heavy sweats
  • Tire pressure – properly inflated tires prevent flats and deliver better fuel economy

#2 Are You Not Entertained?

Don’t throw yourself upon the mercy of small-town radio. That can put a strain on your marriage and make a two-hour journey feel like eight. Instead, make a road trip playlist with universally adored jams, like Franz Schubert’s “Erlkönig”. If you drive a relic, put it on a cassette or CD. If you’re using your smartphone, make sure you download the playlist. Music streaming can quickly turn into costly data overages.

If you’re likely to get bored of music, download some podcasts or a good audiobook. Nothing captures the spirit of sunshine and the unity of mankind like Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

#3 Plan For Construction

There’s nothing worse being stuck at an alternating, single-lane construction site on a hot highway. And, it’s Saskatchewan; if it’s above freezing, construction is happening somewhere. But, with the internet being readily available, there’s no excuse not to plan alternate routes around construction.

You can check out major roadway construction projects in Saskatchewan here.

#4 Don’t Get Stranded

Believe it or not, there are people in the age of smartphones that cannot change a flat tire. Before you begin any sort of road trip (or start driving anywhere!) learn how to change a tire. Provided you have the right equipment, it’s easy and quick. Of course, a spare tire can only get you so far. If you’re travelling a great distance, or in a remote area, you might want to invest in some form of roadside assistance. CAA and manufacturer services are both good options to help you avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

#5 Bring Your Road Trip Documents

Having appropriate documentation is important when you’re driving near your home, so it’s doubly important when you’re far from it. Obviously, you should have your license with you. However, you should also make sure your registration and insurance information are on hand. If the unexpected happens, this will make your life significantly easier, and help you get back on the road more quickly.

#6 Have Kids?

If possible, leave them at home. Children are expensive and troublesome. Just kidding. Make sure you pack some unique entertainment options and let them get some exercise whenever you stop. Snacks help, too – as a distraction as well as an antidote to hunger. Also, it’s a myth that sugar causes hyperactivity, so don’t punish your children with Wheat Thins.

#7 Get Some Sleep

Fatigue accounts for hundreds of thousands of yearly traffic collisions. A good night’s sleep will help you remain alert and focused on the road. If you’re leaving early in the morning, or you had a late night, you should take some extra precautions for alertness. You can jury rig your neurons and synapses with caffeine and fast food. But the health and safety benefits of this method are debatable. Alternating between driving and napping with your passenger, or just pulling over are much safer solutions for tired drivers.

#8 Protect Your Stuff

A car full of road trip possessions is like a sunken treasure chest for thieves. Except that it’s not even sunken – it’s just parked at the Swift Current Mr. Sub. So, if you’re leaving your vehicle, take valuables, and essentials like I.D. with you, or lock them in the trunk. On the small chance you encounter highway bandits, you’ll have a little extra peace of mind.

#9 Save Some Gas Money

If you’re taking off for a long weekend, make sure you fuel up a day or two early. Gas stations will raise prices in anticipation of the urban exodus. Also, make sure you use cruise control. Cruise maintains your speed much more smoothly than you can. Each time you accelerate to resume your ideal speed, you lose fuel efficiency. That also means you should coast toward red lights (rather than jamming on the brakes) and accelerate more slowly. But the most important element for road trip fuel saving is reducing overall speed.

Most vehicles hit their peak fuel efficiency between 55 and 95km/hr. But some people assume that there is linear decrease in fuel efficiency with increased speed. That would mean the rate of increase in fuel consumption between 55 and 65km/hr is the same as the increase between 95 and 105km/hr, but that is not the case. The drop in fuel efficiency is exponential, meaning there is a speed at which your fuel economy will drastically worsen. That point is somewhere between 95 and 100km/hr. Experts have shown that every 10km/hr over 90km/hr will result in roughly 10% more fuel consumption. That’s no small number. If you make a habit of driving 120, you better get the most out of that time you’ve saved.

Have fun and be safe this summer! If you have any road trip tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below. 

Winter Maintenance Tips: Frozen Fluids

Winter maintenance tips: frozen fluids

Winter Maintenance

When it’s extremely cold outside, a cup of warm coffee can freeze in the air. I’ll admit that antifreeze is designed for slightly higher performance than a cup of Tim Hortons. But, at the same time, most vehicle fluids aren’t designed for Saskatchewan winters. Here are a few things you should know about fluids as you perform your winter maintenance:

Antifreeze

Its name can be a bit misleading because pure antifreeze only has a freezing point of about -8C°. The freezing point is only lowered by the addition of water. Most of the antifreeze you can purchase comes pre-mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio. That balance will be sufficient for most temperatures, except the extremes. During the coldest months, increasing the ratio of antifreeze to water (approximately 65/35) will lower the freezing point of your antifreeze dramatically while keeping the boiling point from dropping too low. Take note, however, that modern vehicles are calibrated to read their internal temperatures with a 50/50 blend.  

Winter-Blend Gasoline

You may not know it, but the gasoline you pump in June is different from the blend you pump in December. The difference hinges upon the Reid Vapor Pressure rating (RVP). The higher the RVP, the more easily the fuel evaporates. Summer blend gasoline has a lower RVP to prevent evaporation and decrease excessive pollution. Winter-blend fuel has a higher RVP so that enough gasoline can evaporate even in freezing temperatures. Fortunately, refineries take uncertainty out of the equation for consumers and supply winter-blend gasoline only during the appropriate months. So, this technically isn’t a winter maintenance tip, but it’s still good to know.

Oil Viscosity

For most drivers, remembering to have their oil changed regularly concludes their thoughts on the subject. They rarely consider the type of oil they’re using. Engine oils have a number of distinguishing features, but only viscosity is relevant to cold temperatures. Viscosity is the oil’s thickness, and different oils retain optimal viscosity at different temperatures. That’s why it’s important to pick the right oil for your climate. In the rating 5W-30, 5W is the winter rating (30 is the high-temperature rating), tested at 0°F. The lower the number before the W, the quicker oil will flow in your engine when it is cold.   

Bottom Line

Regular maintenance is essential to keeping your vehicle on the road and avoiding costly repairs down the road. No matter what time of year you need it, our service specialists are here not only to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape but to help you learn best practices when it comes to maintaining a healthy vehicle. Call us today at 1-866-789-3032 or better yet, come in and see us!