Posts / News

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

March 22, 2016

So you are driving down the road, and you notice that if you let go of the steering wheel for just a moment, your vehicle takes on a mind of its own, and heads for the ditch. Or perhaps you have glanced at those new tires that you just spent a small fortune on, and you saw that the nice sharp tread has rounded off rather alarmingly on one edge of the tires.

Either way, you realize that you need to do something to protect your investment, and to keep you safe.

You need an alignment.

Vehicle manufacturers recommend alignments every year or 20 000 km. With a regular maintenance plan, you might be able to stretch that interval to 2 years, but there are various factors that come in to play.

As your vehicle ages, the suspension components- those parts that hold your car up, like springs and shocks- begin to settle and sag. When that happens, the geometry of the car changes, and the weight of the car focuses on a slightly different point of contact with the road. If that contact point isn’t evenly distributed on your tires, the wear on your tires changes too, leading to an earlier replacement interval than you had hoped.

An alignment can adjust the geometry back to where it needs to be, and save the wear on your tires. Alignments due to age and settling are usually needed every 1-2 years.

Steering components tend to wear over time, especially if they are not properly maintained, and become loose. When that happens, the stress and weight of the car is again shifted away from the angles that promote even tire wear. In this case, your technician will need to replace those worn out parts before he does an alignment.

When shopping for an alignment, keep a few things in mind:

One, ask if the technician is going to do an alignment inspection first. If an alignment is performed, but one of the steering components is loose, then the alignment has been absolutely useless. Your tires will still wear, and you will still have instability issues on the road.

Two, ask if the alignment price includes all the adjustments. Some places price the alignment in several pieces. They charge one price for an inspection, one for an alignment reading, and another price to actually make the adjustments necessary. Other shops (ourselves being one of them), price the entire process all-in. It is important  to compare apples with apples when determining who will get your business.

Lastly, ask about the equipment the shop is using to align your car. How accurate is it? How up to date is it? Does the machine use parts that clamp on to the rim (potentially damaging your rims) or on the tire itself? How much experience does the technician performing the alignment have?

At Agri-Lawn Automotive, we quote you the price of the entire alignment process. We start with an inspection, and if all components are in good condition and adjustable, we complete the alignment, all for one cost.

If we find an issue that needs to be dealt with before an alignment would be effective, we stop, estimate that repair, and get your approval before completing the alignment. No surprises.

Our alignment system is a state-of-the-art Hunter Hawkeye Elite, fully integrated and regularly calibrated machine. We invested in the best equipment available so that we could perform the most accurate alignments possible, to a 100th of a degree. The heads clamp on to the tire itself, so there is no chance of damaging expensive aluminum rims. And we have experienced, licensed technicians performing your alignment.

While alignments can be done anytime of year, Spring and Fall tire change seasons tend to be when we have tires on our mind. Call or email us today to book your appointment!

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JUST SO COOL!

July 19, 2013

So here it is, the hottest few days of the summer, and we’re not getting any calls about our clients’ air conditioning not working! There are a couple of possibilities… maybe they haven’t had time to call… but there’s a more likely reason: they’ve all maintained their a/c systems!

And maintenance pays off, with fewer breakdowns!

Air conditioning systems on cars are not sealed systems, like your home a/c units. The air and moisture that can enter the system reacts with the refrigerant to form an acid, which eats out the thin walled aluminum components from the inside, and leads to part failures.

Air conditioning systems also contain a special oil to keep the compressor and valves lubricated. If the system gets low on refrigerant due to a leak, then the oil can’t circulate properly, components get dry, and premature part failure results.

An air conditioning system can naturally lose about an ounce of refrigerant each year without any obvious leaks. Once a system is down 4 ounces, the compressor temperature increases due to lack of lubrication, and failure soon follows. We recommend a/c services every 3 years, even for healthy systems, to prevent this failure.

So while many people know that an air conditioning system that is not working is uncomfortable both physically and financially, the majority of Agri-Lawn Automotive clients are not experiencing the pain!

Call today to book your service or repair!

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ROSY RHUBARB DAYS…

June 10th, 2013

Thank you to all who stopped by our booth at Rosy Rhubarb Days in Shedden on June 8th! It was wonderful to meet so many people, and visit with everyone.

As promised, here is our recipe for the rhubarb punch you enjoyed!

16 cups of chopped rhubarb

12 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of concentrated lemon juice

1 can of frozen orange juice

4 litres of gingerale

Cook the rhubarb in water until tender. Strain out pulp.

Add sugar and lemon juice. Chill.

Add orange juice and gingerale.

Serve and enjoy!

A few notes from the cook:

The original recipe called for 3 cups of sugar, but we found the gingerale and orange juice made the punch plenty sweet. This amount might need to be adjusted from year to year, as the rhubarb crop is often different based on the amount of rainfall and heat our area received.

We use the extra large cans of orange juice concentrate from Costco. The smaller cans will probably work just as well, but if you prefer a little more citrus flavour, adjust the amount of orange juice you add.

If anyone tries to make this recipe sugar free, please let me know how it turns out! We get many requests for a diabetic version, but due to the quantity of punch we make, a sugar free recipe isn’t practical for Rosy Rhubarb. It would be nice to let folks know if it can be done well!

If you find the recipe rather large, try cutting the recipe in half, or freeze or can half of the rhubarb/sugar/lemon juice mixture. The punch is good all year around!

The left over pulp is not great for rhubarb sauce, since most of the flavour is cooked out. You could bake with it, or simply compost it.

As for your rhubarb patch, remember that you can pick each plant nearly clean in the spring. Heavily manure and water the plant after picking, and you will have another crop in the fall, or at least an even bigger harvest next spring.

Enjoy!

 

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THE CAR THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGG…

May 14th, 2013

It wasn’t so many years ago that a trip from Fingal to St. Thomas, a 15-20 minute drive, was planned for days in advance. We saved up our errands for that one afternoon when we would drive to town. It was too expensive to just jump in the car and go wherever we chose without considering the cost.

Today, things are different. We drive all over with hardly a blink of an eye. People commute to work for hours a day, or drive their children to sports events all over the province without hesitating.

So what changed? Fuel is even more expensive than it was. Cars are more complicated than they were, so parts and maintenance are more costly than a few decades ago. Insurance is certainly not cheaper!

We changed. Our culture changed. We no longer count the expense of daily living. Everything is more expensive than it was when today’s drivers were young, but somehow it no longer matters. Yet when we look at the economy today, and the trouble so many people are in financially, perhaps we should realize that it really does matter, a great deal.

So let’s consider the cost of owning our vehicles. We have to think about purchase price, plus interest if we make payments, insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
Vehicles range from a few thousand, to tens of thousands. We spend huge amounts of money on vehicles, especially in light of their function. A nice car or truck can run you to a quarter of the price of your house, depending on where you live. Yet we don’t expect to get nearly as many years out of our vehicles as we do our houses. There are many people who believe they need to buy a new car every time the warranty runs out, and salesmen even occasionally tell prospective buyers that cars are only meant to last 5 years. But have you seen the recent Toyota commercial? The parents bring their toddler with them to choose their new car, because the child will someday be driving it.

And then there is maintenance. Many people don’t count up how much they spend on maintaining their vehicle, let alone how much they spend on fixing their car when it breaks down. The average cost of maintaining a vehicle ranges from $1200 to $1500 a year, including tires. But if you don’t do all that maintenance, you will no doubt find yourself with some major repair bills hurting your bank account. The average household spends 35% of its income on vehicles (including insurance and fuel, etc). That’s second only to our mortgages!

So how do we beat the financial pinch of our transportation? Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Vehicles are essentially made of a lot of moving metal parts, plus computers. The metal doesn’t change, but the fluids around the metals wear over time. If the fluids wear out, then the metal begins to wear out too, and breakdowns begin to happen. If we replace those fluids in a timely manner, the metal parts don’t wear, and the vehicle lasts longer. If we service our batteries, and make sure our electrical systems are taken care of, then our computers last longer, and therefore our vehicle lasts longer. Simple, right?

Let’s stop thinking that we have to be making eternal vehicle payments. The first few years of a vehicle’s life, there isn’t much maintenance that needs to be done. That’s the same time that you are making the big payments on the purchase price. But after a few years, the maintenance costs start rising, and people are scared into thinking their car is no good anymore. In reality, your car is still fine– it just needs some well earned care! Take the money you used to put into payments, and save $100-$150 a month for maintenance. The rest of the car payment amount you can invest. If you then stay on top of the maintenance, you will always have the funds available, plus you will have a golden nest egg for the next vehicle, 10 years down the road. Or you can take a vacation. Or just breathe a little easier, with more money left in your account at the end of the month. Saving money this way is probably the easiest, and best paying return on any investment you can make.

It’s pretty simple math, really.

Keep a vehicle for 15 years, instead of trading every 4 or 5 years.
+  Save part of your car payments for maintenance,
+  and part for the (golden) nest egg.
+  Do the maintenance.
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=  Come out way ahead.

 

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WELCOME!

Welcome to our website! We are so excited you stopped by!

For those of you who know us well, it’s not news to say that as a business, our goal is to inform and educate each of our clients on the condition of their vehicle, and to keep it running and feeling like new for a long, long time. A vehicle that is well maintained can run for 15 years or 400 000 km. And a vehicle that serves you that long has saved you a small fortune on vehicle payments.

Most people have experienced the pain of very necessary, but unexpected repair bills. We know our cars are going to cost us money… But it would just be so nice if we could plan that expense, and maybe even reduce those expenses, rather than be shocked by them!

Well, we can. At Agri-Lawn Automotive, we offer a service that can help you plan your vehicle’s budget for the year. We call it a complete Visual Vehicle Inspection Report. Our licensed technicians examine your vehicle from top to bottom, inside and out, and then advise you as to repairs and maintenance that you need to plan for over the next 12 months. Compare it to getting your annual physical done. We don’t always enjoy going to the doctor and hearing the news, but on the other hand, there is great peace of mind when we know exactly what we need to do to stay healthy, and have the doctor plan it out for us. The same is true for your car, your van, your truck. Wouldn’t you rather just know– and then plan for it?

No more surprises!

That’s what we are all about.