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How Often Do You Get Your Vehicle Serviced?

I love my car – my trusty Saturn Vue, Chloe (named after a character from the series “24”). She’s a 2006 model and one of the reasons that she’s still in such great condition at fourteen years young is that I take her in for regular maintenance. Generally speaking we go in twice a year, Spring and Winter. Usually one of the appointments is just regular stuff – oil check, filter check, tire check, etc. – and the other will be a little more involved – tire rotation, fluid flush – you know, the good stuff.

Maintain Your Vehicle

I really like taking her in for service. The team at the auto shop has been looking after her for ten years now and they always do a great job. Plus I think she appreciates the attention.

Since I don’t have a long daily commute, with my twice-a-year-service, I’m generally ahead of the ten months or 10,000 KM schedule that my vehicle manual suggests – or required, really, at the outset to keep my warranty active. Felling pretty smug, I was surprised to hear about a recent case where Canadian owners are being required to follow the “Severe Usage Maintenance Schedule” (vs the “Normal”) simply because they live in Canada. [1] My Saturn manual states that I need to follow the “severe” schedule when I regularly drive in temperatures under -29 degrees Celsius. Which for most of the country happens at least once a year.

Out of curiosity I checked a few provincial driver’s handbooks to see what they recommend. When they do have a section on vehicle maintenance (about ? of them do), it is quite generic. Ontario has one of the most comprehensive sections on vehicle maintenance, but it doesn’t state particular timelines or distance driven markers. Rather, it has tips on what to watch out for that would indicate that your vehicle may need service. And it admonishes drivers to check their individual driver’s manuals.

Do you have a particular maintenance schedule for your vehicle? Do you follow your owner’s manual to the letter or just when something serious occurs? Let us know in the comments.

~Rose R.


It’s Auto Show Season in Canada!

If you're a car enthusiast, this is the most wonderful time of the year – auto show season! The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas just wrapped. As always, there were some pretty amazing and futuristic vehicles there; Driving.ca gives their take on the best concept cars and future auto technology of CES.

But don’t worry if you didn’t make it down to Sin City, there are a lot of great vehicles and automobile technology on display at Canada’s auto shows!

Car Show

Happening right now is the Montreal Auto Show at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal from January 17 to 26, 2020. It features the Electric Zone where consumers can learn about the latest in charging technology and inspect twenty different electric vehicles as well as the Expose ton Char where ten cars that have been modded by young Quebecers are featured.

Next up on the auto show circuit is the Canadian International AutoShow at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from February 14-23, 2020. Features at the AutoShow include EV Test Drives, a celebration of Canadian military vehicles and a tribute to McLaren racing.

Early March takes us to Calgary for the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show being held March 11th to 15th at the BMO Centre in Stampede Park [7]. Details are still forthcoming about exhibitors and programs.

And finally, in late March, the Vancouver International Auto Show  at the Vancouver Convention Centre West rounds out our cross-Canada auto show tour. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the auto show in British Columbia and as such the show will kick off with a procession through Vancouver showcasing cars from each decade of the show. The parade will end at the Convention Centre and officially open the auto show on March 25.

Are you planning on attending any of these auto shows? Or are there more local ones that you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

~Rose R.


Driving in the Next Decade

Happy New Year, PumpTalk Readers! Welcome to 2020! And not just a new year, but also a new decade. In lieu of resolutions this year, we thought we’d take a look at what the predictions are for driving trends for the next 10 years. We’ve selected our favourite five…take a read and see what you think.

Connected Vehicles

Self-Driving Cars
A lot of hype has surrounded the promise of self-driving cars. But it turns out that Canadians are not quite ready to embrace it wholeheartedly. A 2018 survey by Ipsos found that Canadians are split on whether their view of a self-driving car is positive (55%) or negative (45%). If given the choice between a self-driving car or a manual car at an equal cost, a strong majority (69%) would prefer to continue using the vehicle they personally drive. However, if offered a self-driving car that costs less to own and maintain than a car today, only 44% would still prefer to continue using their personal vehicle.

McKinsey predicts that roughly 15% of automobiles sold in 2030 could be fully autonomous.  And if consumers aren’t ready for their own personal self-driving car, a promising area for self-driving cars is the ride share industry. In the taxi and ride-share industry up to 60% of costs can be labour-related. Autonomous vehicles could go a long way to reducing those.

Task-Specific Vehicles
Generally speaking, whether we’re headed alone to work or driving our whole family up to the cottage, we use the same vehicle. However, with the growing urbanization of the population, increasing home delivery from services like Skip the Dishes or Amazon Prime and a discouragement of private vehicle use in dense urban environments like Vancouver and Toronto, choosing a vehicle tailored to the trip seems like a good idea.

This is the idea behind Mercedes Vision Urbanetic. The Urbanetic has modules that transform it from a ride-sharing vehicle to a delivery vehicle in five minutes. Check out the video below.

Shared Vehicles
Another trend pointing away from private vehicle ownership is an increase in the use of shared vehicles through services like ZipCar or Communauto or ride-hailing services like Lyft or Kater. McKinsey predicts that up to one out of ten new cars sold in 2030 may likely be a shared vehicle, which could reduce sales of private-use vehicles. This would mean that more than 30% of miles driven in new cars sold could be from shared mobility.

In-Car Health Monitors
In 2017, there were more than 1,800 road fatalities in Canada. More than 90% of crashes were caused by human error.  Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles could help reduce that number. But until that technology is reliable and legislation is passed, another way to potential reduce fatalities is through in-car health monitoring. In addition to incorporating biometric identification systems into vehicles, manufacturers are taking the next step and investigating ways to monitor a driver’s heart rate and fatigue level, using sensors in seat belts and steering systems, and then warning drivers though in-car alarms.

V2X Communications
In addition to monitoring the well-being of the driver, vehicles equipped with various V2X technologies can monitor the environment around them. “V2X” communications or “vehicle-to-everything” communications includes:

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) exchanges of information, such as position and speed data;
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, such as vehicles notifying authorities of deteriorating roadway conditions and receiving traffic condition information; and
  • Vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications, such as vehicles sensing pedestrian locations in relation to the vehicle and warning pedestrians to avoid collisions.

As infrastructure is upgraded and elements like road signs, road markings and camera networks allow for V2X communications, there is a potential for reduced traffic congestion and increased fuel efficiency as well as improvements to pedestrian safety.

And those are five of the trends we see affecting our driving habits over the next decade. What do you think driving will look like in 2030? We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave us a comment below!

~Rose R.


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