Most vehicles today have an air conditioning system that comes standard. Whether it’s in your vehicle, home, office, or even your refrigerator, their purpose is to cool and dehumidify the air. Simply put, your vehicle’s air conditioning system removes heat from the vehicle’s cabin and releases it to the outside air through a three-step process that includes pressurization, condensation, and vaporization. Think of when you step out of a shower or bath—your skin begins to feel cool regardless of the outside temperature as the water on your skin starts to evaporate, drawing heat away from your skin. The process of vaporization removes moisture and heat from the air in your vehicle, circulating cooler air from the blower fan.
One important point to note is the dehumidifying function of the process. Your vehicle’s air conditioning system needs to be in working order even when outside temperatures do not require cooling, as the system dries the air introduced into the passenger compartment. This is why the A/C system cycles when the defrost option is selected —meaning the air blown onto the windshield is dry, getting rid of fog quicker. Otherwise, moist air blown onto the cold windshield will cause frost to form on the inside, which is a potentially unsafe situation.
Air conditioning systems are fairly reliable when maintained properly. The A/C system should have its refrigerant evacuated, filtered, and topped up with new lubricant on a regular basis. Specialized equipment and training are required to do this as system pressures can be quite high (over 300psi) on the pressurized side (known as the high side) and can be dangerous to the untrained or unqualified individual. OK Tire & Auto Service locations invest in the latest equipment, and our technicians attend advanced courses regularly to ensure that you’re receiving the most professional, up-to-date service possible.
In harsh Canadian climates, a malfunctioning heating system is far worse than going a few days without your AC. When your vehicle’s heating system stops working, it becomes nearly impossible to defrost your windshield, maintain visibility, and stay warm—making driving hazardous. There are a number of components in your heating system that could be at fault, namely the thermostat and the heater core. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant, maintaining steady temperatures. Then, the heater core generates the hot air that is circulated by the blower fan into the cabin. If your vehicle takes more than 10 minutes to heat up or never gets hot enough, visit an OK Tire store and our technicians will make sure everything is functioning properly.
Engine coolant is pushed through the coolant system by the water pump and circulates through a heat exchanger (radiator) and transfers the heat to the metal/aluminum cooling fins that surround the core. These cooling fins help to dissipate the heat from the hot coolant by exposing the surface of the fins to the cooler outside air. Air is forced through the radiator with the help of a fan. A vehicle’s cooling system has the important task of keeping the engine from overheating.
Radiators are typically mounted in a position where they receive sufficient airflow from the forward movement of the vehicle, usually located behind an opening in the front grill. The radiator may also provide cooling assistance for the automatic transmission fluid as well.
Proper repair and maintenance of your vehicles cooling system are essential to the health of the engine. If you have ever seen a vehicle on the side of the road, hood up with steam billowing from underneath, chances are it is experiencing a cooling system failure.
Disappointments such as these can be avoided with regular inspections when you perform scheduled maintenance to your vehicle. Common items to be replaced are the thermostat and the coolant. Over time, coolant loses its ability to perform at its peak because as it ages, it becomes more acidic and requires changing. These variations in the coolant’s PH can cause severe damage to the radiator, heater core, and the radiator hoses. For the best result, the entire cooling system should be flushed out and new coolant installed. By doing this, all the components can be inspected. However, your best bet is to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals for these maintenance items.
Today’s modern engines use a pressurized cooling system that helps to raise the boiling point of the coolant helping your engine operate at higher temperatures for greater fuel economy. The faster the engine reaches operating temperature, the more efficiently it can run.
By maintaining your vehicle’s cooling system at the recommended intervals, you will help extend the longevity of your vehicle and provide peace of mind motoring.
STEP 1: One of the first steps in the alignment process is to take the vehicle out for a road test. This road test will help the technician identify any handling issues; such as the vehicle pulling or drifting. Then, the technician will check the inflation and wear pattern of the tires and inspect the suspension of the vehicle. If parts are found to be worn or damaged, our technicians will let you know of any necessary repairs.
STEP 2: Once all the steering and suspension components have been properly inspected and found to be in good operating condition, an experienced OK Tire technician will perform an alignment inspection using an advanced alignment machine. All wheel measurements will be electronically monitored through individual sensors that are attached to each wheel, and then rectified for optimal performance.
The most common type of wheel alignment is a four-wheel alignment. This service is performed on all-wheel drive vehicles and front-wheel drive vehicles with independent or adjustable rear suspensions. This alignment involves both axles being adjusted so that all four wheels are aligned, and the steering wheel is straight and leveled.
We recommend having your alignment checked and corrected by an OK Tire expert on an annual basis, especially if you notice any change in the drivability of your vehicle.
A vehicle’s electrical system is three primary components; a battery, starter, and an alternator. All three of these elements need to work together to start and run your car, and if one fails you may be able to get your engine to turn over, but it may not operate for long.
Routine inspections of the battery, checking the voltage and amperage output or checking for damaged or corroded cables is only part of verifying the charging circuit is in top shape. Diagnostic tests also confirm that your starter is drawing the correct amount of voltage, whether your starter is wearing out. A complete electrical system inspection confirms whether your alternator is generating the right amount of voltage and all components are working in harmony with each other.
Regular maintenance and preventative measures can help make sure that a small problem does not turn into an extensive and costly repair.
Steering and suspension systems are important for your safety and comfort.
The essential functions of a vehicle’s suspension system are to:
For these to happen, all of the suspension components, both front and rear, must be in good working condition. Our qualified technicians will inspect your suspension system and make sure it’s functioning optimally.
OK Tire has relationships with popular companies like KYB and Moog, providing our locations with a variety of premium aftermarket suspension options. Upgrading your suspension will provide smoother steering pivots, minimized body roll, and improved stability.
Whether you’re looking to conquer a job-site, go on an off-road adventure, or just give your vehicle a more rugged look, an OK Tire technician can recommend the right lift kits, leveling kits, and tires for you.
The exhaust system is a vital part of your vehicle’s emission system, as it is responsible for removing several different emissions from your vehicle. These include harmful gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen monoxide.
Exhaust leaks can be very dangerous to you and your passenger’s health and must be fixed by a qualified OK Tire technician immediately. Damage to the exhaust is typically the result of rust or water build up over time, in addition to cracks arising from normal usage.
Exhaust systems should be inspected regularly for leaks, damage, and broken supports or hangers; especially if there is an unusual noise. A back-pressure test may also be required to determine if there are any blockages or restrictions within the exhaust system. Once the inspection is complete, an OK Tire technician will make the necessary repairs. A final inspection will then be completed to ensure that your system is working correctly.
Secondary air injection, EGR valves, and catalytic converters also play a significant role in reducing the levels of harmful emissions produced by your vehicle, while mufflers and exhaust pipes keep your vehicle quiet and comfortable.
One of the most critical components for controlling exhaust emissions is the oxygen sensor. This sensor helps your vehicle’s computer determine the right air/fuel mixture, ensuring optimum performance and reducing emissions.
Worn sensors will cause your vehicle to run and idle poorly, increase emissions, reduce fuel economy, and cause damage to other components of your exhaust system. Most manufacturers recommend replacing sensors anywhere between 50,000-90,000kms.
A properly maintained vehicle not only runs better but is also more fuel efficient, which saves money and reduces harm to our environment. Regularly scheduled maintenance combined with diagnostic and emission control testing will ensure that your engine runs smoothly.
The function of your vehicle’s brakes is to assist you in the ability to control your vehicle by reducing speed and bring it to a complete stop, which is why your vehicle’s brake system is a critical element of you and your vehicles safety.
Braking systems operate using a hydraulic system, whereby applying pressure to the brake pedal, sends brake fluid throughout the vehicle’s brake system activating parts that come together to create friction; which then creates the stopping force required. Any weak or worn points in the brake system; hoses, seals or other hydraulic components, could result in a fluid leak and possibly a catastrophic failure of your vehicle’s brakes. OK Tire’s certified technicians do both a visual and hands-on analysis of the brake’s systems.
Brake fluid is specially formulated to operate in very high-pressure environments in all temperatures. Due to the constant heating and cooling of the liquid, water (or condensation) forms reducing the boiling point of the brake fluid. This build-up can cause a “mushy” feel in the brake pedal and can cause damage to other brake system components. Brake fluid requires regular flushing to remove water content and other contaminants.
To check or maintain the brake system of a vehicle, OK Tire’s certified technicians do both a visual and hands-on analysis of the brake’s systems.
Inspections include, but are not limited to:
After the technician has completed their inspection or diagnostic, they will then determine the required maintenance or repair your vehicle needs to ensure an efficient and working brake system.
The vehicle’s suspension and chassis contain multiple moving parts that are susceptible to wear when they’re not properly lubricated.
Windshield wiper blades wear out much faster than most people think and should be replaced every six months in Canadian climates.
Lights, bulbs, and fuses should be replaced as soon as a problem is found.
Radiator and other cooling system hoses deteriorate with normal use due to flexing, vibration, extreme temperatures, and chemicals contained in your vehicle’s coolant. Replace hoses every four years, or when they’re leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen, and restricted.
V-Belts and serpentine belts should be checked annually. Replace them when cracked, frayed, glazed, or showing signs of excessive wear.
Timing belts can’t be inspected for wear and must be replaced at the interval specified in your owner’s manual. Failure to follow the recommended replacement interval could result in a breakdown and severe engine damage.
Spark plugs and ignition wires range in life expectancy between 50,000 and 160,000kms, depending on your vehicle and the type of service. Always replace them at the interval listed in the manual with the same kind of spark plug.
The fuel system is the lifeblood of the diesel engine and requires careful attention to prevent dirt and water damaging the system. Most engines have an automatic bleed system, but others need manual bleeding. Unlike gasoline engines, diesel engines require an occasional bleeding of the fuel system to get rid of air that’s trapped inside. This is included in your regular service maintenance with OK Tire.
A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into your engine and can cause fuel economy to drop by 15% or more. Air filters should be replaced at least once per year to ensure the free delivery of clean air to your engine.
Fuel filters can become contaminated with water or restricted by other particles causing other fuel delivery components to work harder to sustain fuel pressure. Late model vehicles have sealed filters that cannot be inspected and therefore must be replaced at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended replacement interval.
Cabin air filters were introduced in the last decade to enhance the quality of the air inside your vehicle’s cabin. These filters remove particles, bacteria, and other items harmful to human respiratory systems. They can also reduce the impact of reactions to people suffering from allergies. Cabin air filters should be replaced yearly. Watch our video to know more
From performance to safety, fluids play a huge role in your overall driving experience. Having the right amount of clean, quality fluids is key to a well-functioning vehicle.
Vehicle engines have many moving parts that while in operation, move and rub against each other; this movement and the force of friction create heat.
Oil lubricates the engine, and absorbs heat, allowing the internal parts to work together efficiently without overheating. This protects against wear and corrosion, improves sealing, keeps the engine clean, and reduces friction to improve the life of your engine.
Over time, engine oil breaks down and wears out. When it does, it becomes less effective at lubricating the motor, removing contaminants, and absorbing heat, so it must be changed. In fact, oil performs 5 different functions within your engine – it does so much more than just lubricate.
The frequency in which oil should be changed depends on many factors. Driving behaviour, operating conditions and climate can contribute to the length of oil change intervals. Manufacturer operating guides recommend relying on your oil life monitor (OLM) the range is usually from 3,000 to 16,000 kilometers. An average owner will need approximately 2 to 4 oil changes per year, we recommend talking to your service technician to determine what is best for your vehicle. Any maintenance schedule should follow the manufacturer’s suggested intervals to maintain your warranty. Further, many manufacturers require a specific oil norm. Failure to follow these requirements correctly may void your warranty. One final tip, winter is an ideal time to try a synthetic product; you will immediately feel the difference. Remember, most areas of Canada qualify for the “severe service” schedule due to our harsh climate.
Modern vehicles can have anywhere from 30 to 100 individual on-board computers feeding information to a central control unit, which is called the on-board diagnostics system (OBD 2). These different computers monitor everything from how far your vehicle is leaning in a corner to how much oxygen the exhaust contains. Often taking thousands of readings per second the on-board diagnostic system can inform the driver by illuminating a warning light on the dashboard.
No matter if your light is steady (make an appointment as soon as you can) or if it is blinking (indicating a severe misfire that needs immediate attention to avoid extensive engine or engine related component damage) you will need to have your vehicle diagnosed by a qualified automotive technician. These professionals will use modern diagnostic equipment to determine where in the system the issue is by diagnosing failures in either the control units or the parts they are monitoring.