Winter Tires are Not Just for Snow (and Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better)

Even though Ottawa has been seeing less snowfall of late (especially compared to when Import Car Centre opened its doors 30 years ago), the need for winter tires is increasingly important, given cold temperatures and the fact that most cars are now equipped with 17”, 18” and 19” tires.

The wider the tire the more it has to push away to get to the pavement, which is why we typically recommend a narrower rim and tire. By doing so, we maintain the overall diameter, so the car’s computer system doesn’t even notice. The narrower tire reduces the amount of snow it has to push to get to pavement—the faster the tire hits the pavement, the more responsive it will be.

People often wonder whether winter tires are worth the expense. If you ask us, for Ottawa winters, even the lowest-quality winter tire is better than the best all-season tire. Winter tires are made with softer rubber compounds so that, even during our cold winters, they still have the flex and the properties they need to perform.  All-season tires are built with a harder compound, which loses its properties as the temperature decreases.

What are your thoughts on winter tires? Post them to the Comments section below…

Rust Prevention: Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Looking its Best

Used car buyers go through a lot of effort, analyzing every inch of a vehicle, to ensure they’re buying a pre-owned car that’s top notch.  So it just makes sense to expend the same effort taking preventative steps to ensure your car stays looking its best after you drive it off the lot.

Rust is one of the most common issues with the appearance ageing cars, but also one of the most preventable. Most rust spots start from stone fragments that have chipped away a small section of paint, exposing bare metal. This causes rust to start almost immediately on a small scale. If not treated right away, rust will continue to grow and can cost lots of money to repair.  Like so many other elements of automotive maintenance, “pay a little now, or pay a lot later” is especially true when it comes to rust prevention.

Preventative action when it comes to your vehicle’s paint job is especially important nowadays, as body shops have been mandated to use water-based paints. While water-based car paint makes it easy to match colors, it is also more time-consuming, which means it’s more expensive for you.

It’s important to note that warding off rust needn’t mean a costly trip to the body shop. Rust prevention can be as simple as waxing and polishing your car once a year.  A quick buff and polish can remove harmful metallic flakes that adhere to paint as a result of brake dust.  Though they may not be visible to the naked eye, these pesky particles can slowly compromise your vehicle’s perfect paint job.

Have your own tips for keeping rust at bay? Post them to the Comments section below…

Welcome to the Import Car Centre Blog

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new website, blog  and Twitter feed! Follow us to stay up to date on what’s new at Ottawa’s Import Car Centre, as well as tips to keep your vehicle looking good and running smoothly. For those of you on the go, we’re also pleased to announce that our new website is mobile-friendly (but no browsing while driving)! And if you’re not already following us on Facebook, be sure to follow us to see some big smiles from our latest satisfied car owners.

As our long-time clients are aware, we like to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. The blog and our social media/mobile sites are just added ways of keeping in touch with customers and continuing to offer you value after you step off our lot.

Have ideas for future blog posts? We’d love to hear ‘em! Post them to the Comments section below…


Martin Viktora,
Owner – Operations

Marty is a proud father and Ottawa boy with over 20 years of automotive experience. At the ripe old age of 12, Marty started changing tires and performing other odd jobs for his father at Import Car Centre, and has been at it ever since. When he’s not in the garage, you’ll find Marty either at the rink or the cottage.

Eddie Figura,
Owner – Sales Manager

Eddie started as a customer in 1988 and, a year later, brought his 11 years of experience to Import Car Centre. He prides himself in finding what people want, in cars and in life. His passion extends to golf, hockey and good food & wine.

Dan Smetana,
Owner – President

Dan found Ottawa by way of Czech Republic, Dan comes started out in the audio industry before going on to help found Import Car Centre. Dan runs on adrenalin and a passion for the industry he loves. He also enjoys fine wine, running, water sports and dabbling in the stock market.

Fran Cosper,

Fran was also a customer of Import Car Centre in 1986, and was so impressed that he joined the team a year later. He's a tech support specialist with a background in home audio. Fran plays the sax and is fascinated by anything with 2+ wheels or moving parts.

Josh Goldberg,
Sales, Finance and Marketing

Local boy Josh joined the Import team in 2000.  Our 'rookie' grew up in the west end of Ottawa and would hang out at Import dreaming of Honda Preludes and Toyota Celica All Trac Turbos.  Josh calls Barrhaven home with his wife and two daughters.  He enjoys fishing with his girls, good food and his beloved Chicago Blackhawks.