Nov 9, 2016 - Is Premium Gas Worth the Extra Cost?

We're conditioned to react more favourably to terms like premium and exclusive, as though these words dictate the true quality of a product or service. We will happily pay a higher price tag thinking we're getting a better value for them. After all, higher price equals higher quality, right? When it comes to gas, our biggest decision is whether to use regular (cheaper) gas or premium (more expensive) gas. When we choose premium, we feel like we're doing better for our vehicle, whereas when we "settle" for the cheaper option, we can have the false impression that we're hurting it. AAA recently published an article announcing that in 2016, Americans wasted $2.1 billion on premium gas for vehicles that really don't need premium gas.

We get it, a car is one of the largest purchases you'll make in your life, so why not treat it well in order to lengthen its life. But what exactly is the difference between regular and premium gas, and is the extra 15-20 cents worth the upgrade?

Premium gas is more expensive because it has an octane level of about 92-93, as opposed to regular gas, which has an octane level of 87.

What does that mean?

Octane levels are designated with your car engine's compression ratio in mind. That is, the ratio of the volume of your car's combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-03-36-pm

When your car requires the use of a premium gas, the lower octane levels in regular fuel can increase your car's exhaust-gas temperatures and can sometimes lead to knocking (that sound you hear when the fuel and air mixture in your car's cylinder doesn't start correctly, and a pocket of the mixture explodes outside of the normal combustion front).

If your car requires premium gas, these two symptoms can have adverse effects on your car in the long run. If your car does not specify that it requires premium gas, that means the lower octane levels of regular gas will not cause the increased exhaust-gas temperatures that can lead to knocking.

Premium gas does help your car's performance, however it will only improve its ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h about half a second more quickly than with regular gas.

Although premium gas doesn't really benefit your car if it doesn't require the higher octane levels, it also won't harm it. What it comes down to is whether saving those extra 15-20 cents every time you fill up your tank is important to you.

If you'd like to see if your 2016-2017 vehicle requires premium gas, check out the list on

May 3, 2016 - Electric vs. Gas Cars

After the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3, the flood of pre-orders both shocked Elon Musk and gave the automotive industry an early insight into the future of electric cars. That is, the potential that electric cars may become much more mainstream in the near future than they ever have been in the past. Despite having been in production for nearly two decades, the Toyota Prius hasn't received anywhere near the attention that the Tesla Model 3 has been getting before it's even begun production. With the prediction that electric cars will become mainstream in the next few years, it might be worth considering switching from a gas vehicle to an electric one. The biggest selling feature of electric and hybrid cars is their lower impact they have on the environment, but "better options" are known for costing significantly more than their "less good" counterparts (healthy vs fast food, solar power vs electric energy).

We decided to do an in-depth comparison of two similar cars to determine whether it makes more sense to go electric or stick with your gas car.

FUEL ECONOMY - Obviously there is no cost of gas with electric cars, though there is the cost of the battery, which needs to be replaced, on average, every 10 or so years. Batteries for electric cars have 8 year manufacture warranties. The cost of a new one is about 1/3 of the cost of the car (approximately $11,666, in the case of the Model 3), but prices are expected to drop significantly by 2020. A mid-sized gas car would cost the driver just over $2,000 in gas per year, if it's driven a distance of 20,000km annually.

An electric car like the Nissan Leaf can drive about 150-200 km on one charge (and some charging units can get your car up to an 80% charge in 20-30 minutes), whereas the Nissan Maxima's 18 gallon fuel tank can get you close to 500 miles (or 800km).

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COST - An electric car can cost anywhere from 23,000 to over $100k, obviously depending on its make. The 2016 Nissan Leaf would cost you $32,698+ whereas the 2016 Nissan Maxima starts at 35,900.The Tesla Model 3 sedan will be manufactured to be sold at a base price of $35,000. If you're looking to go cheaper, a bare-minimum electric car would cost you $22,295 for a 2015 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, whereas a lower priced gas car, like a Fiat, would only cost you about $15,000. Another downside to electric cars, if you're looking to save some money,  is the fact that because they are much newer than gas cars, it's much harder to find an older, used model at a lower price. If you're a young, first-time car buyer trying to save some money, an electric car might not be your most economically-conscious option.

SAFETY - Due to a few electric car fires, people have been hesitant to make the switch, thinking gas cars are safer. What we fail to report on however, are the nearly 200,000 gas car fires each year that occur in the U.S alone. Though there isn't enough data to conclude that electric cars are safer than gas ones, the chance of an electric car fire is actually significantly lower than that of a gas car fire.

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ENVIRONMENT - A mid-sized gas car emits approximately 18,603 kg of greenhouse gases over 5 years, whereas an electric car only emits about 1,930 kg from the production of electricity to power the car.

BONUS - You can actually receive a tax credit of up to $13,000 when you lease or buy an electric car.

To sum up, both vehicles have their pros and cons, and the decision between the two depends primarily on your use for the car. Electric cars produce significantly fewer greenhouse gases, have thus far proven to be safer than gas cars (in terms of fires), and are accompanied by a tax rebate. Gas cars, on the other hand, are more cost-effective, and are much more efficient for long trips.

Mar 30, 2016 - 4 Great Car Podcasts

Podcasts have become increasingly popular with commuters. Many of us will listen to a podcast instead of a playlist during a workout or on the way to work because podcasts offer a little more than a good tune to mindlessly drift off to - they offer information and stories that engage you, sort of like a radio talk show but with less celebrity gossip and more substantial content. A podcast is kind of like reading an article or watching a tv show, but you don't have to look at something to keep up with it. Seeing as we are a body shop, it's important to us that quality information is circulated about cars. If you're a car lover, we've put together a short list of some of our favourite and most useful auto podcasts:

The Smoking Tire

The Smoking Tire pretty much offers anything you might want to hear relating to cars. Their podcasts centre around anything from interviews with leaders in the automotive industry to tips for restoring your car. Their website is complete with videos, merchandise, reviews, podcasts, and even written pieces, like interviews with leaders in the automotive industry.

Car Talk

You don't have to know much about cars to enjoy Car Talk- probably one of the most entertaining car podcasts. Car Talk is almost like a radio comedy show centred around cars, so it's less information-based but more about other listeners' car-related dilemmas (although you'll still learn a few things along the way).

Everyday Driver

Hosts, Paul and Todd, review cars and help their listeners figure out what car would be best for them. While they occasionally discuss high-end, exotic cars, they most often talk about issues pertinent to the "everyday driver", like affordable cars and relatable situations, like one of their most recent topics: Enthusiast Dad on a Budget. They also have a YouTube channel so listeners can watch the video component of their car reviews.


Detailer and host of AMMO NYC, Larry Kosilla uploads weekly podcasts to provide his listeners with his best tips and tricks for cleaning, restoring, and maintaining their vehicles.This is a great podcast to check out if you restore cars as a hobby or if your car is your most prized possession.

What kinds of podcasts do you guys like listening to? Are there any really great ones about cars that we missed?

Mar 15, 2016 - Spring Clean Your Car

Spring is welcomed with chirping birds, longer, sunnier days, and freshly blooming flowers - don't overshadow the beauty of the season by surfacing your dirty, salt stained car from the throes of winter. Most people use spring as an excuse to reinvent themselves, to organize their life, and to focus on new goals and endeavours. Typically goals fall along the lines of cleaning out your closet, starting a new fitness routine to get in shape for summer, or planning some kind of new experience like travelling or signing up for a new class. We don't often think about the "spring cleaning" our cars require. Cars take a beating over the winter, from the engine running twice as hard, to the salt stains and mounds of snow we drive through, so some TLC for your car will help it run more efficiently for all those road trips you'll be taking this summer, and will save you in maintenance costs in the long run.


tiresChange tires. It goes without saying that winter tires are for the winter and summer tires are for the summer, but often drivers put off changing their tires or just don't bother changing them at all. After all, if winter tires can handle driving on ice and snow all winter, they can surely handle driving in the summer. Unfortunately, this mentality will ultimately cost you more, as winter tires aren't meant to be driven in the extreme heat of summer. The humidity can melt the rubber and cause your snow tires to be damaged and unusable in the future.

stone chipsWash & Wax your car to get rid of all the dirty snow and salt stains, making sure to get right inside the wheel walls. While you're washing, make sure to look carefully for any stone chips that need to be touched up. You may not want to spend the money to fix up any marks on your car, but ignoring stone chips can lead to rusting, which will become much more expensive to repair in the future. It's important to deal with chips as soon as you notice them.

INTERIORcar interiorClean Inside

After months of dragging dirty boots in and out of your car, and most likely spilling coffee or hot chocolate in the console once or twice, the inside of your car probably looks as dirty as the roads you were driving on. To clean the mats, first vacuum off any stones and loose dirt, then use a hose or pressure washer to scrub away the stains. To get salt stains off pedals and any leather parts, mix 2 parts water with 1 part vinegar and wipe them down with a cloth.


Spring Tune Up

If time isn't on your side, why not opt to have a professional wash, wax, and clean your car, and have them service it while they're at it? As we mentioned, running a car in below freezing weather all winter can take a toll on the engine. It isn't necessary to tune up your car at the beginning of spring, but it's always a good idea to do everything at once for the sake of having peace of mind that your vehicle is as clean and efficient on the inside as it is on the outside.

Jan 26, 2016 - Why You Need Snow Tires (even when there's no snow!)

You'd think that living in Canada with our unpredictable weather and abundance of snow, every driver would want to invest in good quality snow tires for the sake of their safety. To our surprise though, many of our friends and customers this year have admitted that in order to save some money (and in some cases, out of pure laziness), they chose to opt out of snow tires because of the mild winter we've been having. Actually, in 2014, approximately 44% of Ontarians chose not to use snow tires! The biggest misconception people seem to have in regards to snow tires is that their only purpose is to help you drive better in snow, when in reality, snow tires are beneficial for various other, and in some cases more important reasons. If their ability to prevent you from slipping around on the snowy/icy roads isn't reason enough to convince you to put on snow tires every winter, here are a few others that might:

Save money. As of January 1, 2016, insurance companies are required to offer some kind of discount to drivers in Ontario who put snow tires on their car. Our government recently introduced this new policy in an effort to encourage safe driving in the winter months. Granted, it isn't a huge break, (it might be anywhere from $20-$100, or about 5% of your policy) depending on your insurance company), but it's a nice added benefit to ensuring your own safety on the road.

It's not just about snow. Many drivers, especially this winter, think I don't need to get snow tires until there's actually snow on the ground. In reality though, while the grip of snow tires on ice and in snow is the most noticeable benefit to them, the biggest difference between summer and snow tires is their ability to stay soft and flexible in below freezing temperatures. As the temperature drops, summer tires can become stiff and inflexible, which may lead to cracking and a lower lifespan. Ultimately, not changing your tires can lead to you spending more money by having to replacing them more frequently.

It's not you, it's them. You may be a good driver, but that doesn't mean everyone else is. Snow tires aren't only there to help you drive more smoothly in winter weather - they're also there to react as quickly as you do when other drivers lose control of their own cars. Many driving schools teach students to "drive defensively, not offensively", meaning you should adjust your driving to your surroundings and pay attention to the other drivers on the road in order to react accordingly. The same idea can be applied with winter driving - by putting snow tires on your car to protect yourself in the event that another driver loses control of their own car, instead of deliberately choosing not to because you can drive fine without them, you are assuming other drivers will be able to control their cars to avoid a collision with you; that is, you're putting your safety in the hands of the other drivers on the road.

At the end of the day, it's your choice to (or not to) equip your car with weather-appropriate tires, and we hope you keep these reasons in mind when deciding whether to invest in snow tires - after all, you can never be too safe on the road!

Jan 19, 2016 - The 4 Things You Need to do as Soon as You've Been in an Accident

The sudden influx of snow in the GTA has no doubt taken a lot of drivers by surprise. The beginning of winter generally leads to an increase in accidents from a lack of preparedness in most drivers, but this winter, thanks to El Nino, we didn't even have to worry about snow driving until mid-January. Many drivers still don't have snow tires on their cars (after all, who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on them until it's absolutely necessary?), and as a result, are having trouble keeping control of their cars on the road. While we absolutely advocate putting snow tires on your car (our next post will tell you why), no matter how careful you are, accidents are inevitable. Most of us think we know how we'd handle ourselves in the chance of a collision, but since our first big snow storm a couple weeks ago, we've realized a surprising number of customers don't know what to do in the event of a car accident.

Get photos or sketches of the accident - Photos of the accident will help not only in establishing who was at fault, but will also help you remember what happened. When it becomes a case of he-said-she-said, having photo evidence of the collision will always strengthen your case.

Get a police report - This is one step that many drivers are either unaware of, or put off doing at the time of an accident. It is essential that you report your accident and wait for the police to arrive to write up a report. One customer called us last week and admitted that because her accident happened in the middle of a snow storm, neither she nor the other driver involved had decided to file a report at the time of the accident. Understandably, the idea of waiting in the middle of a storm is less than appealing, but in order to get an accurate report of the scene, and subsequently, a much simpler process of going through your insurance, the police must be informed of the accident at the time.

Don't sign anything - Whether it's a towing or a repair authorization, don't sign anything if you aren't 100% sure. Don't even let a tow truck driver touch your car unless you're absolutely certain you need/want it towed. Often, as soon as they hook up your car, even if you change your mind, they will charge you a fee of a couple hundred dollars just to release it. If you do choose to have your truck towed, again, don't sign a repair authorization because many towing companies are associated with a specific body shop. Unless you're aware of and okay with the shop where the tow truck will drop your car off, signing anything will only add stress to an already stressful situation.

Stand your ground - Call your insurance company to report your accident, but know that ultimately, where you take your car is your decision. Sometimes insurance companies will strongly encourage you to bring your car to one of their authorized body shops, and that's okay! Keep in mind though, in the moment you may think it'll be easier not to argue and then to later request to bring it to a different shop, but it can be incredibly difficult to get your car released from the first body shop. It's always your choice, but it's important to stand your ground if you feel you're being backed into a corner by anyone, whether it be your insurance company, your car dealership, the towing company, or even a body shop.

It's hard to plan for a potential collision, and nobody ever hopes to get in one, but knowing these steps in the unfortunate chance that you do get in an accident will help you keep calm in the moment and will simplify the post-collision process.