Tune-up has evolved over the decades to become a term used to describe regular maintenance. The modern vehicle has longer service intervals, some not seeing a garage for a whole year. This makes it more important than ever that your maintenance covers more than just the engine oil and filter. At AML, we include a comprehensive vehicle inspection with every oil change to ensure the overall health and safety of your vehicle. We keep an eye on your maintenance and make recommendations based on your service schedule, service history and what we see during our inspection. Recommendations will be explained and prioritized so that you have all the data you need to make an informed decision when planning repairs and maintenance.
Be sure to consider the type of driving you do when determining your maintenance schedule. Vehicles everywhere should follow either the severe service schedule recommended by the manufacturer, or a custom schedule based on the use of the vehicle. This would typically put most vehicles on a schedule somewhere between normal and severe service. AML can help determine your needs based on your driving conditions and style.
The braking system is the most common wear item on any vehicle and certainly among the most important safety features. Subject to weather conditions, extreme temperature swings and varying traffic conditions, pads and rotors suffer from both wear and rust. Through regular visual inspection, AML tracks the wear of your brakes and can recommend replacement when they are approaching end of life, usually allowing you to plan for the repair rather than be surprised.
Every brake job includes a full inspection of the entire system, testing the hydraulics, power brakes and performance. In addition, all parts are thoroughly cleaned and inspected to ensure continuing operation throughout the 3 year/60,000 kilometer warranty period. We use premium parts and clean, clean, clean all moving parts, sliders, supports and mounting surfaces. All followed by a road test carried out to properly burnish the new pads and rotors to provide the quietest braking possible.
Your tires are your contact with the road. You could have the best brakes on your car, but if your tires are not capable of gripping the road those brakes are not going to stop your car in the shortest distance you may be expecting. Old, worn or cheaply manufactured tires will not give you the traction you need to drive safely in all road and weather conditions.
There are numerous choices among tire manufacturers, all with varying quality and price points. Quality tires are critical for safe vehicle operation, yet cheap tires are often chosen based solely on their price point. Bear in mind that your own driving conditions and style should be your first consideration when choosing tires. If driving at higher speeds, especially in an aggressive manner, choosing a low-priced tire may put you and others at risk under some conditions. If you simply drive in the city, at low speed and only when the weather is good, high-priced tires may be a waste of money.
AML uses specialized equipment to mount and balance tires, allowing us to handle virtually all sizes, profiles, and rims. Our Leaside location includes a Hunter Road Force balancer for those difficult vibration problems. Both locations feature a special centering system to ensure perfect wheel balancing on every tire.
Whenever removing a wheel and reinstalling it, our technicians follow a hub cleaning routine to ensure even contact between the hub and the wheel, followed by a 3-stage torque procedure to ensure the best fitment of your wheel to the vehicle.
Just as your tires are your contact with the road, the suspension is responsible for keeping them there. Shocks and struts keep the tires in firm contact with the road, while various configurations of links, bushings and joints are utilized to maintain the tire in the proper position. The steering system, in conjunction with the suspension, ensures the vehicle’s directional stability and turning response.
Common problems faced when suspension or steering components are worn or damaged include clinks and rattles on uneven roads, vehicle wandering, especially in wind, vehicle bouncing when driving, tipping or nose-diving on corners or when braking and steering wheel not being centered. AML uses quality replacement parts to replace worn or damaged parts, backed by our 3 year/60,000 kilometer parts and labor warranty.
Proper wheel alignment is crucial to reduced tire wear and responsive steering. Wheel alignment should be checked periodically, especially after winter driving conditions where potholes and slippery roads may have caused minor – or major – shifts in the positioning of the wheels. Even minor wear in bushings or springs can alter the alignment enough to cause tire wear, a pull or drift to one side or an off-center steering wheel. Such changes may affect other systems as well, such as stability control or lane departure.
It is important to point out that many modern alignments will require recalibration of supporting systems, such as electric power steering, stability control and some radar systems. AML has the capability to perform most of these calibrations.
AML offers a host of inspections, covering everything from complimentary to full DOT inspections, required when transferring ownership in Ontario. We utilize a DVI (digital vehicle inspection) format with which we can add pictures, short videos, and recommendations right from the inspecting technician.
Our courtesy inspection is complimentary, accompanying other service. It covers visible brake parts (disc pads, rotors, brake lines), steering and suspension components, underbody, exhaust and tires, lights and electrical systems, under-hood components, and accessible fluid levels. It allows us to monitor wear on your vehicle so that we can recommend service or repair at an appropriate time, rather than waiting for the otherwise inevitable surprise break-down.
From the courtesy inspection, we can add modules for which we add charges, such as vehicle scan for a full health check, highway road test to assess overall performance and ride, alignment check if tire wear or a steering concern is noticed, a DOT inspection if required. By adding modules, we can offer a very thorough inspection at a reasonable price, which can be useful if inspecting a vehicle to confirm its worthiness prior to making a purchase.
The DOT (Department of Transport) inspection is required before issuing a safety certificate required for transferring a vehicle’s ownership or licensing an out-of-province vehicle in Ontario. It is regulated by the government and must be carried out as per strict guidelines. Note that the inspection is charged for regardless of whether or NOT the vehicle passes the inspection. All failed items will be itemized and be accompanied by a snapshot of the rule pertaining to the failed item.
AML begins every diagnosis with an assessment, in which we attempt to confirm symptoms, if any, road test the vehicle, scan for possible codes, search for technical service bulletins, and determine a course of action for further diagnostic testing if necessary. Unless recently completed, we also perform a courtesy inspection at this time so that we can inform the customer as to the overall condition of the vehicle. This allows the customer to make an informed decision as to whether continuing with additional diagnosis or repair is worthwhile or affordable.
Diagnosis is not limited to scanning a vehicle for codes when a light is illuminated. It is also necessary to spend the time to properly assess and diagnose concerns in virtually all vehicle systems. These include drivability, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), starting and charging systems, body electronics, air conditioning, and more.
AML has the tools, equipment and knowledge to tackle virtually any diagnosis on most vehicles. We own numerous OEM scan tools, along with aftermarket scan tools, scopes, meters and test devices to perform whatever tests are required to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems should be tested and evaluated annually. AML tests the performance and operation of the HVAC system with our courtesy inspection. This inspection does not include a leak-test or pressure testing, rather to confirm the operation of controls, and its ability to heat and cool the interior of the vehicle. If you are experiencing any concerns, we perform an assessment first to confirm the problem and the area of the problem. This includes scanning for codes, as many modern AC systems are computer controlled and may set codes if there is a problem with a sensor or compressor operation.
Following the assessment, we branch our diagnosis off to leak-tests, electrical tests or code-specific tests, depending on the findings of the initial assessment. We attempt to keep our diagnostic charges to a minimum, despite often needing to spend considerable time searching for leaks.
In addition to the cooling and heating efficiency of the HVAC system, cabin air quality should be considered. Most cars are equipped with a cabin air filter to maintain the cleanliness of the inside air in the car. The filter traps dust, pollen and twigs and requires replacement. The replacement interval may vary depending on use, parking area (such as under trees) and occupant needs (such as allergies). AML has a good, better, best approach to cabin air quality. Good includes replacing the filter with a standard filter; better includes upgrading to a “MIST” service to freshen the air and attack mold in the evaporator housing. Mold is a common concern, since the AC system removes moisture from the air and some may remain on the evaporator after use, resulting in the growth of mold; best upgrades your filter to a charcoal or hepa filter to alleviate allergens.
AML does not shy away from difficult or intricate jobs, such as timing chains on modern engines, transmission diagnosis and repair, or differential and transfer case diagnosis and repair. There are times when we will run into a learning curve, since there is a first time for every job and we may be slowed down having to wait for tools that we don’t yet own. We will make every effort to finish jobs, big or small, in reasonable time and to assist customers with rentals or loaners if we are unable to meet realistic completion times.
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