In Ottawa, one of the coldest capitol cities in the world, it is important to prepare your vehicle and you for the winter. These ideas will help to make your frozen travels smoother and might even save your life.

Some people can take care of these things themselves. That’s great. Others prefer us to take care of it for them. All these items are included in our Seasonal Inspection Maintenance!

Tires. In Ontario, you can use all-season radials or snow tires. Of the two, snow tires provide the best traction over snow and ice. For all-season radials, ensure the tread depth is sufficient. The minimum legal tread depth in Ontario  is 1.5 mm. Would you drive your family around on the legal minimum? Neither would we. We carry all brands and models of tires.

Tire pressure. Good tires are not enough. Correct pressure ensures optimum traction, control and fuel efficiency. As the weather cools, tire pressure naturally decreases. THe recommended pressure is written on the tire firewall.

Brakes. Ensure your brake pads and rotors have sufficient material left and are not visibly pitted, rusted, or scored.

Steering linkages. Despite having the best tires at the right pressure, steering control is affected by all parts of the steering system. Ensure there are no loose steering linkages, bent parts, or overly worn parts.

Oil. Try to plan your oil changes so that you do one around December. Some vehicle manufacturers suggest a thinner oil in the winter because oil thickens in the cold. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures. We recommend synthetic oil because it retains its molecular structure under extreme conditions, remains more fluid in cold temperatures, and remains on the cylinder walls (less bleed down into the oil pan) for smoother cold-temperature starts.

Antifreeze. Use mixed antifreeze, not just water! Use an antifreeze tester to verify the mixture. We aim for -45° C.

Battery. Most batteries these days are maintenance free. Ensure the battery posts and connections are clean. Perform amperage, voltage, and resistance (AVR) tests to ensure that it will hold a charge and deliver the power you need when you need it.

Belts and hoses. Belts and hoses stiffen in the cold. Cracks or bulges could turn into a break during a cold start.

Heater/defroster. Ensure that it generates warm air quickly. Slow heating or no heat can be a symptom of a stuck thermostat, low coolant, wrong coolant mixture, or blocked heater core, all of which are inexpensive to correct.

Wiper blades. Ensure they provide a clean sweep across the whole windshield. Generally change them annually

Windshield washer fluid. Ensure your windshield washer reservoir is full with windshield washer fluid rated to -40° C. DO NOT use water – it freezes.


Keep the gas tank full and use gas line antifreeze to reduce condensation in the gas lines and prevent them from freezing.

If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, ensure it works correctly and smoothly. In the winter, you might just need it!

If you live in Ottawa or other parts of Ontario, there’s NO MANDATORY DATE by which you must remove your winter tires. However, a good rule of thumb is to wait until spring melt has started and the forecast starts showing consecutive days above 7 degrees Celsius. We’re getting there folks. Do you feel it?

The Risk of Driving on Winter Tires in the Summer

Exposing the rubber in winter tires to heat increases the risk of a blowout, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. The risks of aquaplaning also rise, since winter tire treads do not shed water as effectively as summer or all-season tires.


How to Store Tires in Self-Storage

Clean the tires as they are driven around on the roads – tires accumulate a lot of dirt and dust from the road, plus brake dust.

DO NOT STACK tires. While it might seem like the easiest way to store them, stacking tires on top of one another can add unnecessary stress that damages the tires over time…

Keep tires covered, especially from the elements.

The summer of 2018 in Ottawa saw us sinking in an infinite ocean of potholes, due to a past harsh winter during which we experienced 42 freeze and thaw cycles between November 2017 and February 2018. If you look to receive money from the city of Ottawa for damage to your vehicle, keep in mind that they payout for only about 10% of claims.


If you have hit a pothole and your tires and rims are undamaged, it is still possible that your wheels have gone out of alignment. An inspection will reveal any misalignment and a realignment could save you from premature tire wear, or other damage to your vehicle.

Some signs your wheels are out of alignment:

  • Vehicle pulls to one side
  • Premature or uneven tire wear
  • Steering wheel is to one side when driving straight
  • Vibration while driving
  • Squealing tires.

Do you hate lugging heavy tires to and from your car for your seasonal tire change?

Do you ever worry that carrying tires to your car will knock out your back?

Problem solved. Take advantage of our seasonal tire storage service. Bring your vehicle to us for a seasonal tire change and leave with your vehicle and without the extra tires. Next season, your tires are waiting for you – easy and convenient!


Just $18.75 per tire per season.

Ottawa and the National Capitol Region is the 7th coldest capitol city in the world. We get snow, a lot of it. It is easy to think that all-season radial tires work for all seasons. They do, but if you would like to give you and your family an extra measure of safety, seriously consider using winter tires during the frigid part of our year.

Transport Canada offers the following guidance for winter tire safety:

  • Install four winter tires – To help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in icy conditions, Transport Canada and the Rubber Association of Canada recommend that you install winter tires in sets of four.
  • Mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction, and size degrades the stability of the vehicle and should be avoided.
  • As a tire wears, snow traction is reduced. Tires that are worn close to the tread-wear indicators have reduced traction and should not be used on snow-covered roads or in severe snow conditions.
  • Proper air pressure extends tread life, improves safety, and reduces fuel consumption — all vital factors in saving energy and protecting the environment. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures drop, so be sure to check the pressures at least once a month when the tires are cold, preferably after the car has been out all night.

Winter tires are designed specifically for use on snow. Wide, high-performance tires are not for snow. All-season radials will do, but does it make sense to you to give yourself an extra edge?

You can identify snow tires by this logo:

Snow Tire Logo

We are committed to helping you as a new customer or a lifetime client drive safer. Be safe. Drive Fasta with Savasta.

On 2016-07-01, the Ontario Ministry of Transport (MTO) is changing the requirements for used vehicle safety inspections for vehicles to pass and be considered roadworthy. We are not increasing our price to perform safety inspections, but the changes will likely increase the cost of associated repairs and make for safer driving. The new inspection standard involves new or more specific requirements in the following areas:


  • structural integrity of cab, cargo or passenger body, frame or sub-frame, tailgate, bumper, seats and seat belts
  • inspect equipment, latches, handles, door openers, hinges and other devices attached to the vehicle
  • inspect the entire area of the windshield swept by both wipers
  • window tint
  • occupant protection systems required by federal law must now be tested via the vehicle diagnostic lamp
  • system check including originally equipped air bags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and side air bag curtains
  • all equipment must be present, in good working condition and free of visible hazard.



  • measure dimensions of brake components including drum, rotor and brake lining
  • clearer distinctions among types of brake systems. (e.g. vacuum assist, hydraulic assist, air assist)
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems, required for light duty vehicles manufactured on or after 2011-09-01, must function as designed.

Instruments and Auxiliary Equipment

  • horn switch
  • speedometer, odometer
  • windshield wiper
  • limits on coolant leaking from heaters and fuel leakage from auxiliary heaters.


  • Lighting must satisfy the federal standard in force on date of manufacture



  • accelerator pedal (you need one) and throttle
  • clutch pedal and clutch
  • gear shifter and indicator
  • drive shaft, differential
  • engine and transmission mounts
  • drive belt pulley, powertrain
  • fuel system
  • exhaust system


  • shock/strut ride height, bushing
  • suspension components and travel.


  • Steering system, pumps, and parts
  • remote steering systems


  • wiring
  • battery, posts, connections, mounts, and covers
  • ground

Tire and Wheel

  • increased minimum tread depth
  • all points on a tire must be at or above the minimum
  • no mixing of types of tires (e.g. radial with bias ply)
  • wheel spacers are prohibited; adapters are permitted

Coupling Devices

  • Clearer distinctions among types of hitches and criteria for each type of hitch

Road Test

  • tell-tale noises and vibrations
  • shock absorber function
  • odometer
  • steering
  • etc.


  • inspection report, detailing the results of the inspection, including measurements and warning lamps.

For details:

Warmer weather is finally in sight.  Snow is melting. The sun feels warm… sometimes. We easily allow our thoughts to flash forward to chrome, wax, windows down, 100 kph.

Slow down. Your vehicle is coming out of hibernation. You hit some ice and bumps over the winter. As you drive, do you hear any new noises? Does it pull to one side? Any new odours? Does it vibrate or shimmy at particular speeds?

Now is the time to have your motorized investment inspected to reduce the possibility of a serious failure. Keep your vehicle in good health by having us inspect the following items:

  • tires
  • brakes
  • front suspension
  • drive train
  • exhaust
  • interior (cabin) air filter – often fogotten, but this IS the air you breathe
  • air conditioning
  • ignition tune-up

Oil is changed according to your distance driven, so it isn’t especially required to change it right now. When we change the oil, we also inspect the engine air filter, so that too should not be required right now.

Emergency kit

For your peace of mind and safety, keep these items in your trunk, especially in the winter:


  • ice/snow scraper
  • small/folding/retracting shovel
  • abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter for extra traction
  • windshield washer fluid
  • spare windshield wipers
  • jumper cables
  • flares
  • spare tire (check the air)
  • tire gauge
  • tire chains
  • tool kit
  • work gloves
  • jack and lug wrench
  • safety triangles
  • accident report form. Here’s one from the B & G Group, Inc.


  • blanket
  • extra gloves, overshoes, hat
  • extra clothes
  • non-freezable food such as hard candies in air-tight packaging
  • flashlight
  • candle and matches
  • first-aid kit
  • paper towels
  • facial tissues
  • toilet tissue
  • bring with you: drinking water, hand sanitizer

An Ounce of Prevention

Olde 8 Automotive in Northfield, Ohio wrote a great article showing how preventive maintenance can protect your vehicle… and your wallet.

How does preventive maintenance protect my automotive investment? For the past five years or so, Ben and his friend, Shirley, both owned the same car model and drove about the same distance. Their driving habits are similar, so it would stand to reason that the repair histories for both vehicles should be about the same, right? Wrong. While Shirley never had a major problem with her car, Ben had numerous malfunctions, br … Read More

via Olde 8 Automotive’s Blog

Your tires are an important contributor to your vehicle’s performance.

At Savasta, we inspect your vehicle, every time we change your oil, for the following:

  • tire inflation pressure
  • tire tread wear, abnormal wear
  • visually check tires for embedded stones, glass and other objects AND we remove them
  • check for need to rotate tires
  • front-end for looseness and excessive play

We recommend the following:

  • rotation about every 15,000 km (every 3rd oil change)
  • balance upon installation of new tires or annually
  • alignment installation of new tires or annually
  • let us know if you ever feel vibrations and pulling to one side

Be Tire Smart