Skip to main content

158 Old Vernon Rd. Kelowna, BC  |  Monday - Friday: 7:30AM - 5:00PM | Closed for Lunch Hour 12:00PM - 1:00PM  |  Call 778-753-5339

Simple Answers from VALLEYPRO AUTOHOUSE for Kelowna: Battery Replacement

When do I need to replace my battery?

That’s an essential question for Kelowna drivers. All batteries wear out and need to be replaced.

Look, if your battery is dying and you need a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery. But Kelowna drivers should have their Kelowna auto service center test the battery first to see if it’s actually bad. The vital problem could be parasitic drain or a bad alternator that’s not properly charging your battery.

And Kelowna drivers in this situation also need to have their service advisor inspect their alternator and have it tested. A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators brought into VALLEYPRO AUTOHOUSE in Kelowna are actually just fine: the problem is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner. If the belt is slipping, it’s not spinning the alternator properly so it can’t fully charge the battery.

Hopefully, Kelowna drivers can see that a dead battery can be the result of a chain of events: a worn serpentine belt, a worn belt tensioner, a bad alternator or a bad battery. If you don’t check the belt, tensioner and alternator you can just end up replacing batteries that are still good. Talk to your VALLEYPRO AUTOHOUSE service advisor.

That brings us back full circle to when batteries do fail. There’s a chemical cycle that takes place inside your battery: the battery is discharged when you start the vehicle and is recharged by the alternator when you drive. Short trips around the Kelowna area with frequent stops and starts may mean that your battery is never fully recharged. When a battery isn’t fully charged parts of the battery harden and are no longer available to “store” electricity. Over time, your battery just can’t hold enough charge for the needs of your vehicle. This is harmful to your alternator as it tries to keep up, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Batteries last longer in colder climates and wear out faster in warmer BC climates. We want to remind Kelowna drivers that, on average, 70% of batteries fail within four years. Many BC automotive experts recommend replacing your battery every five years. This will lessen the chances of being stranded on a local expressway with a dead battery as well as prevent undue wear on your alternator.

Continue reading

The Pros of Pros (Let Us Do It For You)

Modern vehicles usually have four wheels, a steering wheel, and an engine, just as they have for decades.  But an awful lot has changed since the days of carburetors and drum brakes.  The addition of computers to so many automotive systems has been a game changer, enabling safer braking systems, stability control, and better fuel economy, to name a few. 

Let's face it. Vehicles are far more sophisticated than they have ever been.  There was a time when many motorists felt they could take care of some basic maintenance and repair items.  Those days are pretty much gone, and safety is the number one reason you should leave modern vehicle repairs to the pros.

Today's best technicians stay up to date with the latest training and have tens of thousands of dollars in tools and electronic diagnostic equipment at their fingertips. They have the proper lifts and other heavy equipment required for reaching areas that can't otherwise be reached. They know how dozens of onboard computers are integrated with sensors and mechanical equipment.  They also know how to test and diagnose very complex concerns properly.

Our Service Center has access to repair databases, so they know the correct service procedure on a wide variety of vehicles. 

Think about it.  Skilled automotive technicians have acquired their expertise after years of training.  Frequently an automotive problem isn't quite as clear cut as it may seem, and those years of experience prepare technicians for the inevitable unexpected twist or turn in an issue they might encounter while working on your vehicle. 

A vehicle is a heavy machine that travels at high speeds.  It encounters unexpected obstacles and requires precise steering and braking.  It contains safety equipment that can save your life if it's working properly.  It simply makes sense to enlist the services of people who know how to diagnose problems that are sometimes difficult and tricky to figure out, then repair them, so your vehicle is working at peak efficiency, performance, and safety.  Those are the pros of having the pros work on your vehicle. 

Our Service Center has technicians that have ASE certification for every service they offer.  That’s peace of mind.

Continue reading

It's Your Turn (Using Turn Signals)

Distracted driving causes a lot of motor vehicle accidents.  Well, according to one study, twice as many are caused by people not using their turn signals.  

Drivers have a lot of excuses for not signaling.  About a quarter of drivers in one survey said they were just too lazy to do it.  Others think they really don't have to use a turn signal, even though traffic laws in most areas require it.  There are drivers who think they don't have enough time to do it because they make last-minute decisions; not the kind of driving that experts consider safe.

An insurance company surveyed young drivers and more than two-thirds of them admitted they didn't regularly use turn signals. 

Here are a few reasons drivers should use their turn signals. When you signal a turn or a lane change, it lets drivers around you know what you intend to do.  That way the other drivers can anticipate your actions and take whatever measures they must.  For example, if there's a long line of traffic and you're having a hard time merging, turning on your signal at least gives other drivers a chance to be courteous and let you in. Or if you're turning left, the driver behind you may choose to change lanes rather than having to wait behind you until traffic clears.  It's always nice to be considerate of the other driver.

Some reported that they don't use their turn signals because they're broken. If that's the case for you, head on over to our Service Center and have yours checked out.  It may be a burned-out bulb, a relay, or other electrical problems such as wiring or a switch.  In any case, your turn signals should be in operable condition.

Finally, the number one reason people don't use their turn signals is that they just forget.  Oh, and how about those drivers who do use their turn signal and forget to turn it off?

There are many things you must keep track of when you're driving. Another driver's turn signals give you one more piece of information you can use to move through traffic safely.  Isn't it your turn?

Continue reading

Serpentine Belt

You know that long belt that snakes around the front of your engine? It’s called the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine as it turns. It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan, and power brakes. Sounds like a lot of important stuff doesn’t it?

If your serpentine belt were to break on one of our Kelowna BC roads, your battery would die in a few kilometers. If it runs your fan or water pump, your engine could overheat. And steering and braking could be more difficult. Obviously, the best thing is to replace your serpentine belt before it breaks.

Kelowna BC Serpentine Belt Check your owner’s manual for when it’s recommended that you replace your serpentine belt – or just ask your Kelowna BC service advisor at VALLEYPRO Autohouse by calling 778-753-5339. He can inspect the belt as well to see if it’s in trouble.

You may have been told by a service advisor in Kelowna to look for cracks in your belt to see if it needs to be replaced. Of course, cracks are still a concern, but modern belt material doesn’t crack as often as old belts did. What we look for these days is the thickness of the belt. We have a special little tool at VALLEYPRO Autohouse that measures the depth of the grooves in the belt to see if it needs replacing.

A worn belt can slip or be misaligned, putting harmful undue stress on the accessories it runs.

Now you can imagine it’s vital for the belt to be tight, so there’s a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure on the belt to keep it at the right tension. The spring on the tensioner wears out over time so we recommend replacing the tensioner pulley at the same time as the serpentine belt.

Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule, or when an inspection warrants it, will keep you from an unexpected breakdown.

Continue reading

Expert Auto Advice for Kelowna: Ignition Coils

Expert Auto Advice for Kelowna: Ignition Coils

Gasoline and air are ignited in your engine to create a small explosion to generate power. The spark plug provides a little blast of high voltage electricity to light the fire. The key phrase here is “high voltage”. Your vehicle’s battery has just 12 volts – not nearly enough to power the spark plug. It’s the job of the ignition coils to amplify those 12 volts into the up to 100,000 volts needed.

A cable from the battery enters the ignition coil. True to its name, the coil has two windings (coils), of copper wire. The first winding uses a thicker wire and the second winding has thousands of winds of smaller wire. By the time the electricity has passed through the windings, the voltage has expanded enough to power the spark plug.

Some engines have just one ignition coil that runs through a distributor which routes a burst of electricity to the individual spark plugs. Many modern engines have one ignition coil for every two engine cylinders. Other engines are designed with a “coil-on-plug” system that has individual ignition coils that attach directly to each spark plug.

Because of the intense amounts of electricity that pass through ignition coils, they wear out. When a coil fails to provide enough electricity to fire a spark plug(s), the engine “misses”. The engine will run rough and may shut down entirely.

It’s generally advisable to replace all of the ignition coils at the same time – once one has failed, others are probably not far behind. This is also often a good time to replace the spark plugs as well.

Any time your engine is running rough, have the team at VALLEYPRO Autohouse in Kelowna check it. We have the diagnostic equipment and ability to isolate the trouble, correct it and get motorists back on the road promptly.

Give us a call: 778-753-5339

Continue reading

Vehicle Maintenance Tips from VALLEYPRO Autohouse: Oxygen Sensor

OxygenSensor sMany Kelowna auto owners hear the term “Oxygen Sensor” and figure it must have something to do with sensing oxygen, but don’t really know much beyond that.

Let’s explain it: your vehicle has an oxygen sensor in the exhaust manifold that measures how much unburned oxygen there is in the exhaust. The sensor reports its findings to the engine control unit (ECU), which knows how much oxygen there should be in the exhaust. Based on that critical information, the ECU will adjust the amount of fuel it sends to the engine.

This feedback and adjustment loop is non-stop. The goal is to have the optimal air to fuel ratio for performance, efficiency and to lower harmful emissions.

Now there is a second oxygen sensor located in the exhaust pipe after the catalytic converter. It too measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust after it has been treated by the catalytic converter. As this measurement is reported back to the ECU, the computer compares the oxygen levels before and after the catalytic converter to determine if the converter is still functioning properly.

So, 4-cylinder vehicles have two oxygen sensors. V-6 and V-8 engines have four sensors, two for each bank of cylinders. As you can imagine, the oxygen sensor lives and functions in a pretty hot environment so they do wear out over time. Substances in the exhaust can also damage them leading to failure. Outside elements like water and road salt can corrode an oxygen sensor. When the sensor goes bad it simply needs to be replaced.

BC motorists may be interested to know that oxygen sensors are often replaced needlessly. When the oxygen sensor returns a measurement that is out of the specified range, it may trigger a trouble code in the ECU and the Check Engine Light is illuminated.

Inexperienced Kelowna do-it-yourselfers or Kelowna parts store employees may read a trouble code that reports an out of range sensor reading. That could mean that the sensor is bad, but it could also mean that the sensor is accurately reporting a condition caused by some other issue. A skilled diagnostician at VALLEYPRO Autohouse can sort this out and will only replace the oxygen sensor when it has truly gone bad.

When you have a Check Engine Light come on and stay on, it’s good advice to have it checked out by a qualified VALLEYPRO Autohouse service specialist. The cause may be minor or quite important, so it’s best for Kelowna car owners to play it safe and let the professionals determine if it’s necessary.

Give us a call



#2 3481 Sexsmith Rd
Kelowna, BC V1X 7T5 Canada

Continue reading

When should I replace my windshield wipers?

Windshield wipers kelownaWell, most Kelowna drivers wait until they fail. The problem with that is that you find out they have failed when you actually need them most – a little too late.

Wiper blades are really an essential safety system for Kelowna drivers. As you can imagine, 90% of our driving decisions are based on what we see. If you can’t see well because your wipers can’t clear your windshield, your ability to drive safely is significantly impaired.

So the simple answer: of course, Kelowna motorists should change your wipers if they don’t work well. But replace them before they go bad so they are always ready when that storm hits. For some Kelowna car owners, once a year may be enough. For others – those who drive a lot, whose wipers are exposed to a lot of sun, or use their wipers more – replacing the blades a couple of times a year might be in order.

There several types of wiper blades. The conventional blade is the base model. On the other end of the spectrum are beam blades. These have a solid beam that provides uniform pressure over the entire wiper surface for better contact with the windshield. And there are hybrid blades that are a combination of conventional and beam blades.

Upgraded wiper blades last longer and provide a cleaner wipe. Kelowna auto owners can always upgrade, but should never go with a lower grade blade than what was installed on your vehicle from the factory.

Finally, there are special winter blades. The special design of winter wiper blades resists snow and ice build-up in the blade.

Remember, using your wipers on an icy windshield will tear up your wiper blades. Scrape your windshield before running your wipers.

Your thoughtful ValleyPro Autohouse technician can give you wiper blade options and help you select what’s best for this critical safety system.

ValleyPro Autohouse
#2 3481 Sexsmith Rd
Kelowna, BC V1X 7T5 Canada


Continue reading

Transfer Case Service

transfer caseQuestion:
I was told I need to have my transfer case serviced. What is that?

VALLEYPRO Autohouse Answer:
On a four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle, power needs to be transferred to both the front and rear axles. The transfer case is the mechanism that makes that happen. There are many drivetrain configurations out there, so we’ll just talk in generalities.

Trucks and larger SUV’s are often primarily rear-wheel-drive. When the driver (or the vehicle’s computer) selects 4WD, the transfer case also sends power to the front axle. The transfer case may also contain an additional gear set for off-roading.

The transfer case is lubricated and cooled by special gear oil. Over time, the oil gets contaminated and needs to be changed, just like your engine oil and transmission fluid. Your car maker will have a schedule and your thoughtful VALLEYPRO Autohouse service specialist can help.

Now many vehicles around Kelowna have all-wheel-drive (AWD). AWD vehicles are often based on a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicle with the addition of a center differential that sends power to the rear wheels when needed. This center differential, like the transfer case, has an important service schedule for replacing contaminated lubricant. The work of transfer cases and differentials is demanding and proper maintenance should not be neglected by Kelowna drivers.

Knowing the service schedule for your transfer case and differentials will help keep your sedan running well and avoid premature wear.

Give us a call: 


Continue reading