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Bank of England’s climate mandate has global resonance

Bank of England’s climate mandate has global resonance


With the days growing longer, the brutal winter temperatures starting to abate and vaccination rates ticking upwards, change is in the air here in New York. For the first time in a while it is becoming easier to feel more optimistic about the future.

There is also cause for hope for sustainable investing advocates. After years of sidestepping the issue, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is charging ahead with a plan to put environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures under the microscope. And in the UK, the new Budget laid some important groundwork to help Boris Johnson turn the City of London into a hub of green finance. Read on for more. (Billy Nauman)

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Green bond news in Sunak’s red box

Boris Johnson has been keen to paint the UK as a sustainable finance leader as the UK prime minister looks to set an example before hosting November’s COP26 climate summit. He also needs to convince the world that the City of London can remain a major financial hub post-Brexit.

This week’s Budget saw the UK double down on that ambition, with two big green announcements in chancellor Rishi Sunak’s red box.

First, the Bank of England’s mandate is being updated to include the fight against climate change, which means it will start buying green bonds and purging its books of bonds that fund big polluters.

And second, the UK plans to issue £15bn of green bonds this year.

Climate activists were unimpressed, criticising the plans for a lack of specificity and urgency. Their scepticism is warranted: full details of the green bond offering are not expected until June, and the Bank plans to change its approach to corporate bond buying “before its next scheduled round of investments, in the fourth quarter of the year”.

In any case, the UK has been rather slow to join the green bond market, reports the FT’s Joshua Oliver. “Poland issued the first such bond in 2016, while France made its debut in 2017.” Germany launched €11.5bn worth of green Bunds last year.

However, it is still worth noting the importance of the UK’s plan. The £12bn to be raised through the green gilt offering may not meet activists’ expectations, but it will help fund the 10-point climate plan Johnson set out last year.

And it is impossible to ignore the symbolic significance of the BoE becoming the first major central bank to make climate change an official part of its mission.

This move builds on the climate work done by former BoE governor Mark Carney and could serve as a model for other central bank members of the Network for Greening the Financial System.

Karen Ward, JPMorgan Asset Management’s chief market strategist, told the FT that investors “should not underestimate” the reform’s potential impact on sustainable investing.

“This could tilt the preference of the central bank’s asset purchases and involve considerable regulatory change to encourage private capital to do likewise,” she said. (Billy Nauman)

US watchdog seeks greenwashing whistleblowers

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has created an enforcement unit to hunt for possible misconduct in companies’ climate risk and ESG disclosures — an unprecedented move that suggests there might be abuses that have gone unaddressed.

The unit will focus on misstatements or vagueness in companies’ climate change risk disclosures under existing rules, the agency said on Thursday. The agency will also be investigating investment advisers and funds’ ESG strategies, and encouraging tipsters to bring information about potential climate or ESG misconduct to its whistleblower office.

ESG became an SEC examination issue for investment advisers for the first time last year. But now, with a dedicated enforcement task force, “it shows the regulator means business”, Doug Davison, a partner at Linklaters, told Moral Money.

Although a “message” is all bark and no bite, companies must take the SEC’s action seriously. Lazy disclosures can no longer be tolerated. (Remember Billy Nauman’s 2019 article about Vanguard’s “green” funds?).

“It is particularly interesting that the SEC’s alert is calling out reviewing proxy voting policies and records as well here,” said George Raine, a partner at Ropes & Gray. “Asset managers with ESG-oriented products will want to review their advertising and other documentation.”

The announcement also brings the US into line with Europe. Esma in February 2020 announced a new strategy to combat greenwashing. Moral Money will keep hunting for greenwashing and developments from the SEC’s new task force. Watch this space. (Patrick Temple-West)

FedEx looks to Yale to help deliver net-zero package

© Bloomberg

As we wrote recently, there are reasons to look warily on many companies’ pledges to cut their emissions to “net zero” by some distant date, and few such announcements stand out from the crowd at this point. But one of them is FedEx, which this week not only set a 2040 goal for making its operations carbon-neutral but detailed $2bn of planned investments to hit it.

Most interestingly, $100m of that sum will go to fund a new “centre for natural carbon capture” at Yale University. It is a revealing reminder that, for many companies, the scientific advances required to reach their net-zero aspirations simply haven’t been developed yet. 

FedEx’s 200,000 delivery trucks are not the problem, chief executive Fred Smith tells Moral Money: falling battery costs and initiatives such as its recent partnership with GM have put it on track to convert that fleet to electric vehicles by 2040 while yielding a return on its investment. 

The problem is that FedEx also operates the world’s largest cargo airline, and sustainable aviation fuels still cost 5-7 times what jet fuel does, making them “absolutely non economic”, he said. The airline could have offset its emissions, but Smith likened the buying of carbon credits to the trade in papal indulgences. “A lot of these offsets and carbon credits have been one step from being a sham.”

So FedEx concluded (despite some NGOs’ scepticism about carbon sequestration) that sequestration was its best hope of cutting its net emissions and Smith, a Yale alumnus, knew the university had a strong record in environmental areas including carbon pricing. 

Ingrid Burke, dean of the Yale School of the Environment, tells Moral Money the funding will accelerate research into questions including how to make forests grow faster and how to store CO2 in carbonate rocks or turn it into building materials and fuels. 

Yale president Peter Salovey says such corporate funding is essential because federal funds for such “high risk, high reward” research have become “very, very hard to get”. He expects to see more such partnerships in the coming years.

As for FedEx, Smith points out that it hopes the investment will pay for itself by cutting its fossil-fuel bill substantially. “This is not from a FedEx standpoint a virtuous signal,” he notes. (Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Gillian Tett)

Antimicrobial resistance emerges as ESG concern

© Bloomberg

In December, the FT hosted a discussion on antimicrobial resistance, noting that while there have been advances in combating the problem, urgent action is needed to develop new drugs. It is troubling, if not surprising, that coronavirus has diverted attention from this crisis. 

Big investors started raising concerns late last year and are pressuring companies to make changes.

On Wednesday, Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and other fast-food chains, agreed to publish a report on the systemic effects of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in its supply chain by the end of the year. Yum is the first company to disclose this information, said the Shareholder Commons, a US non-profit that files shareholder resolutions. The organisation withdrew a petition at Yum as a result of the company’s announcement.

The agreement requires that Yum disclose its findings about how antibiotic use in animal husbandry threatens global health and shareholder interests. The report should also discuss optimal scenarios for the food industry to eliminate or internalise antimicrobial costs and describe how lobbying and political expenditures affect the realisation of those scenarios.

Yum “recognises the need to limit the use of antimicrobials in order to preserve their efficacy”, said Rick Alexander, chief executive of the Shareholder Commons. Now he hopes to convince McDonald’s to consider a similar pledge. (Patrick Temple-West)

Grit in the oyster

This week, the short sellers at Hindenburg Research took aim at another green company.

The group’s report last year on electric truckmaker Nikola led to the departure of its CEO and an inquiry from the US justice department. On Monday it levelled a series of accusations at Ormat, a NYSE-traded US geothermal power company.

Ormat denied the allegations, and pointed out that, as a short seller, Hindenburg stood to profit from a drop in its share price. But shortly after Hindenburg made its case, Ormat’s chief compliance officer and a board member (who were both named in the report) stepped down.

So far, it looks like investors have not quite worked out what to make of Hindenburg’s findings. Ormat’s stock was already headed downward after its latest earnings report and stayed pretty flat the day the report came out. But regardless of how this story shakes out, it is a good reminder for responsible investors to take a close look at their holdings and not automatically assume all “green” companies are immune to hostile scrutiny.

Smart reads

  • “The ESG stock frenzy of today, however egregious, may yet translate into a better tomorrow,” writes the FT’s John Thornhill. ESG could well be in bubble territory, he says: “Financial markets have bet on a greener future and begun funding the technologies needed to bring it to life. But, just as in previous technological revolutions, politicians must now play their part in shaping a productive result.”

Further reading

  • The Old Lady turns green (FT Alphaville)

  • What we learned from ExxonMobil’s investor day (FT Energy Source)

  • Italy raises €8.5bn in Europe’s biggest-ever green bond debut (FT)

  • Google’s approach to historically Black schools helps explain why there are few Black engineers in Big Tech (Washington Post)

  • Dai-ichi Life targets 30% cut in portfolio CO2 emissions by 2025 (Nikkei)

  • Everyone Sees ESG Investing Differently, But They All Want to Buy (WSJ)

  • ESG investments surged in Asia-Pacific in 2020 as sustainable investing takes off, MSCI survey finds (CNBC)

  • Biden climate envoy John Kerry talking to banks, asset managers about mobilising capital for clean energy (CNBC)



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BUSINESS

Three auto-themed products to splurge on this week

Three auto-themed products to splurge on this week

Precision timing

The Tread 2 wristwatch is made by former British specialty-car builder Devon Motor Works, which is now called Devonworks. The timepiece, available in several colours and models, uses four miniature motors attached to a series of drive belts that control the hour, minute and second readouts. All of the action, which is visible through the watch’s bulletproof-glass casing, is controlled by a battery-powered microprocessor. The cost of the watch starts at $12,500 (U.S.) and is available at devonworks.com.

A tent above

Montana-based Go Fast Campers claims its 35-kilogram hard-shell (both roof and floor) pop-up style Superlite Roof Tent is the lightest on the market. The 50- by- 90-inch (127- by- 238-centimetre) interior dimensions provide space for two adults and the side curtains that cover the interior mesh screens are made from polyester. When the tent is not needed, the quick-connect latches are designed for easy removal from the vehicle. The tent retails for $1,300, with $100 for the optional ladder and $299 for the mattress. More details can be found at gofastcampers.com.

Kitted out

Gearheads will love this Ford engine model kit from Makerhaus. This 1:3 scale model of the high-performance 289-cubic-inch V-8 that Ford installed in the first Mustangs moves via three AA batteries (not included). The cooling fan spins, the crankshaft turns, the pistons move up and down and the spark plugs appear to fire using red-tipped LED lights. There is even an electric sound module that produces a simulated engine growl. A collector’s manual covering the history of the Mustang V-8 is also included with the 200-piece kit. The model retails for $185.95 at makerhaus.biz.




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How do I create an emergency kit for my car?

How do I create an emergency kit for my car?

Having an emergency kit in your vehicle that you can rely on in an accident or roadside emergency should not be an afterthought, said Stephan LaLonde, a senior sales manager at CARFAX Canada. “Speaking for myself and my family, and it is a must. We always have an emergency kit in our vehicles,” he said. An emergency kit should include items related to your vehicle’s operation, the weather conditions you may encounter and your own safety. “A kit should be a year-round concern, but there will be seasonal additions to the kit,” LaLonde said. He added those items should remain in your vehicle throughout the year but if you do remove something you should replace it before the seasons change.

Among the kit items CARFAX recommends for your vehicle’s operation are jumper cables and a tire puncture seal and inflator. It is also suggested your kit include a folding shovel, ice scrapper, duct tape, road flares or a warning light, a road map, fire extinguisher and dry sand or kitty litter. “Kitty litter or sand is one of those things that will help you if you are in a situation where you need traction, like you are stuck in snow,” Lalonde explained.

Items to ensure your personal safety include blankets, winter hats and gloves, a flashlight and extra batteries, pen and paper, bottled water and energy bars or non-perishable food. A first-aid kit, whistle, roll of paper towels and a candle in a deep can with matches is also recommended. “If you are in your car, and it is 40-degrees below outside, that candle will create a little bit of heat,” Lalonde said. He added that people often forget to include a blanket. “When you get in an accident, if shock sets in, you want to keep warm.”

Lalonde said to store your kit where it makes sense for the type of vehicle you drive. It should also be accessible. “Most cars today have a folding back seat, so the trunk is accessible should there be an incident,” he said.

Many companies and organizations, including Home Depot, Canadian Tire and the Canadian Red Cross, sell pre-packaged kits. Each might include a slight variation on what is recommended as well as optional items, such as a seat belt cutter, tow rope or even an extra cellphone.




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BUSINESS

The bright spot in strained bond markets

The bright spot in strained bond markets


Troubled companies are thin on the ground these days. That has been good news for investors in an important corner of the financial system.

Owning the debt of the riskiest companies in the US and Europe has provided positive returns so far this year for fixed income investors, a rare bright spot in the vast universe of publicly traded debt.

By contrast, holders of higher quality bonds sold by governments and companies have experienced negative returns during 2021. That has been driven by expectations of higher interest rates as inflation and economic growth pick up. As rates rise, existing bonds are less attractive to investors compared with new debt offerings.

The disparity in performance between high and lower quality debt may appear strange given that the overall rise in bond yields this year might be expected to hit strained companies more. An explanation rests in how markets behave once an economic recovery is under way.

As corporate default risk abates, shares and debt sold by so-called “junk-rated” companies with lower quality balance sheets rally sharply — as was seen in 2009 and 2003 when high yield appreciated sharply in value in the wake of defaults peaking and recessions ending.

“Default rates have fallen a lot and companies have refinanced their debt at lower rates and if we get the expected rebound in profits, high yield can hold up into next year,” says Adrian Miller, chief market strategist at Concise Capital, an asset manager specialising in small company debt. 

Indeed, this week, Fitch Ratings forecast a decline in the expected rate of speculative rated company defaults this year to 2 per cent from 3.5 per cent in 2021. The pace of defaults has eased markedly from a projected 5.2 per cent a year ago and is nowhere near the peak of 14 per cent seen in 2009.

With reduced fear of default, the higher fixed rates of borrowing that are paid by lower quality companies suddenly look attractive compared with the relatively meagre offerings by blue-chip rated bonds.

This week, BlackRock said demand for income in the high-yield market from investors contributed to their strong client flows during an impressive first-quarter performance by the asset manager.

The need for income helps explain another oddity about the current high-yield market. The risk premium or spread associated with owning the lowest quality credit has shrunk markedly versus that of US government bonds.

The spread has eased towards the lowest levels seen during the post financial crisis decade. Moreover, it has occurred after a record $140bn of junk bond debt was sold during the first three months of the year. Bank of America forecasts $475bn of debt sales in 2021, a 10 per cent increase from a record-breaking 2020.

The ability of companies to raise debt in such amounts and not send interest rates markedly higher reflects the seemingly insatiable demand for income by investors betting on defaults staying low with a robust global economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.

Column chart of US high yield debt showing Fitch forecasts improving outlook for US corporate defaults in 2021

Still, the speed and extent of the rally in high yield debt does little to allay long term concerns that the credit market has run well ahead of underlying fundamentals for low quality companies.

It comes amid a low rate of capacity utilisation by US companies. In previous decades, this reflected plenty of slack in the economy and thereby indicated mounting challenges for companies. 

Marty Fridson, chief investment officer at Lehmann Livian Fridson Advisors, says there is hidden distress in the high-yield debt market. He says that even better rated companies have been pushed beyond fair value on the back of the huge support by the US Federal Reserve for markets and the flow of credit.

That Fed intervention should leave investors wary about the eventual longer term consequences. There remains considerable doubt as to the extent of the post-pandemic recovery beyond this year for indebted companies.

Fitch, for example, has a slightly higher 2022 default rate forecast than this year, “reflecting uncertainty around the sustainability of the demand recovery for some sectors”. This is partly due to the persistence of digital trends that has challenged a number of sectors.

Tracy Chen, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global, an investment boutique of Franklin Resources, says: “Business models will change after Covid and there are still a lot of companies being supported by accommodative policies.

“Stimulus and infrastructure spending is good for certain sectors. Longer term we are less bullish on high yield.”

This view reflects doubts as to whether stimulus provides some companies with a new lease of life, or delays an eventual debt reckoning.

“Prior to Covid, investors were very cautious about credit and talking about the end of the cycle,” says Chen.

“There is a case that a bigger default cycle has been delayed and that it occurs over the next 12 to 18 months, once the stimulus measures have ended.”

michael.mackenzie@ft.com

 



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Dalton Kellett entering 2021 IndyCar season with a new attitude

Dalton Kellett entering 2021 IndyCar season with a new attitude

To do just about anything well in life, be it journalism, politics or long-haul trucking, you need confidence that you can do the job well.

Dalton Kellett of Stouffville races cars for a living, Indy cars specifically. He is starting his second year in the big league, the NTT IndyCar Series, which opens its season tomorrow at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Ala.

And, as he told me during a telephone interview recently, he’s got a whole new attitude going into 2021. “I feel like an IndyCar driver now,” Kellett said. “I’m in a position now to know what I want out of the car. I needed the experience I gained last year to get to that point. I’m excited.”

Last year, he knew he was the new kid on the block at A.J. Foyt Racing team and didn’t make waves. He kept his mouth shut and listened and — except for the Indianapolis 500 — didn’t crash the car, which is what’s expected of rookies.

And the fact he survived and made a good enough impression on the Foyt team for them to offer him a full-time ride for 2021 (he shared the car with veteran Tony Kanaan last year) has given him the confidence to start making his presence felt.

Having a new teammate isn’t hurting either, particularly since said teammate happens to be one of the best racing drivers in the world, Sebastien Bourdais. More about all that in a moment.

First, for those of you not familiar with Kellett, he’s 27, came up through karting and the Road to Indy minor-league series, and has done some sports car racing in addition to the single seaters he’s concentrating on now. And while he was climbing the racing ladder, he graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston with a degree in engineering physics.

The highlight of his apprenticeship years came in 2018 when he won the pole for the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was no small task, as the driver he edged out for the coveted starting position was none other than fellow IndyCar racer Pato O’Ward.

Last year — his first with the Foyt team — he only raced on the road and street courses, the one exception being the Indianapolis 500. Which was a shame because his strength to date has been on oval tracks. He qualified 24th (out of 33) for last year’s “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” outqualifying veteran drivers like three-time winner Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and F1 star Fernando Alonso. He was heading for a potential Top Ten finish when unknown racer Ben Hanley forced him to back out of a pass attempt and that put him up the track and into the wall. His best finishes the rest of the season came at a Detroit double-header where he was 20th both times.

Kellett is determined to do better this year and is expecting that Bourdais will be a big help.

“He joined our team at the end of last season,” Kellett said, “and he made his presence felt immediately. He was very exacting from a setup standpoint and it was interesting to watch how he pushed the team to give him what he wanted. He’s got 15 years of experience (in Indy cars, sports cars, F1) to draw on.

“As a result, I’ve found myself more assertive. While giving feedback to engineers (during tests), I find that I’m definitely more confident and able to say, ‘This is what I want.’”

Kellett not being a rookie anymore is probably a good thing, because two of the most famous racing drivers in the word are first-timers and will likely hog most of the IndyCar publicity this year. Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnston, who’s padding his CV by driving a part-time schedule in IndyCar for Chip Ganassi, and Romain Grosjean, who moved to IndyCar from Formula One after his employer, Haas F1, didn’t renew his contract.

Has Kellett bumped into them yet?

“I haven’t met Grosjean,” he said, “but I’ve been around Jimmy and I know him enough to say, ‘Hi.’ I think both of them have the will and the experience to drive the car to the point of being competitive. I think Grosjean will have a bit of an easier time because of his open-wheel experience in Europe; the F1-to-IndyCar jump is probably easier than NASCAR-to-IndyCar.

“I hope Jimmie does well, though. He’s certainly putting in the effort. All-power to him,” Kellett said. “They’re both world-class drivers and I think it’s great for the series and it will be great racing against them, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to that and I hope I beat them.”

And how does Kellett expect to do this season, overall. Can he win a race?

“I’ll be trying but you have to be realistic. I think in terms of milestones and benchmarks. The first milestone would be to start off in at least the Top 20 in the series and stay there. As I climb higher, I want to stay there rather than falling back. I want to be consistent,” he said. “As a race driver, though, your first benchmark is your teammate, particularly on the road courses. If I can be on pace, within a couple of tenths of Sebastien’s times, with his experience, I’ll be pretty happy.”

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And what about the Indianapolis 500?

“Indy is the one race that everybody wants to win. But it’s still important to focus on the process (where you work up to speed gradually) and not get caught up in all that. I’d like to qualify a little better – we probably should have trimmed a little more than we did last year but when you’re a rookie, you don’t want to take too many big swings.

“But to qualify in the Top 10 or Top 15 would be an improvement from last year and I’d like to put myself in a position to be fighting for a good finish at the end. I’d be happy with that.”

Norris McDonald is a retired Star editor who continues to write for Wheels under contract. He reviews the weekend’s auto racing every Monday at wheels.ca.




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City regulation: robocops can create post-Brexit advantage

City regulation: robocops can create post-Brexit advantage


The City of London needs to up its game to compensate for Brexit losses. That is one reason to welcome Friday’s push for more “RegTech” — regulatory technology — by the Square Mile’s governing body. Technological advances involving data science, machine learning and cloud computing have opened up new approaches to dealing with regulatory risk. 

The predicted Brexodus of financial assets and jobs is under way. Banks and insurers have transferred £900bn of assets, just under 10 per cent of the UK’s total. Staff moves have so far reached 7,400, according to consultancy New Financial. It is not all one way. Up to 500 EU-based firms are expected to open a UK office. But the toll on the City is likely to increase in coming years.

Lingering hopes that the UK would be granted more market access in return for an agreement on supervisory “equivalence” have largely faded. That creates an opportunity, as well as a cost. There is some room for manoeuvre. 

The UK wants to make its approach to regulation a competitive advantage. It aims to strike a balance between the EU’s detailed, prescriptive approach and the patchy US one, shown up by the Archegos Capital blow-up. Advocates of RegTech claim that it can play a part by enabling real-time market surveillance and helping to predict where risks will emerge. That could make supervision more preventive and less reactive. 

Such claims should be treated with caution. The UK’s “light touch” financial regulation in the noughties did not end well. But RegTech can reduce risks and improve efficiency. It could also result in a modest reduction in compliance costs — about £500m, or 0.05 per cent of the annual total, for Britain’s top five banks, according to RT Associates.

There is no silver bullet to deal with Brexit woes. RegTech will not transform demand by itself. But the City needs to consider all possible ways that it might boost its appeal.

The Lex team is interested in hearing more from readers. Please tell us what you think of “RegTech” and the post-Brexit City in the comments section below.



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Ask a Mechanic: The safety and convenience of a professional oil change

Ask a Mechanic: The safety and convenience of a professional oil change

Every week, we take your questions about what is going on under the hood of your vehicle and pose them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column, we learn about machining rotors and safely completing an oil change.

Dear Ask a Mechanic,

I drive a Toyota Corolla. On occasion the dealership tells me I need to have the rotors machined as there is rust on them. I am very reluctant to machine the rotors. I don’t drive a lot and am easy on the braking. I worry about the machining as it removes the rotors surface, then the next thing is I have to get new rotors. Does regularly braking clean up the rotors and should I have them machined when the dealership recommends it? — Clean Brake

Andrew Le, co-owner of 1 Four 0 Nine Inc. in Toronto, sees this two ways. If rotors are rusty from customers not driving their vehicle, he does recommend getting them machined. The process involves restoring the metal on the rotors to a smooth, flat service, to allow for some of the friction required for brakes to properly work to be restored. However, this may not be possible if the rotors have substantial corrosion.

Before taking your vehicle to a dealership it might be best to drive it around a little. Le said if your car is sitting for a couple of days and the rotors gather minor surface rust, driving and using your brakes will help get rid of this rust.

But in his opinion, if the rotors need work, he recommended getting them replaced because it’s inexpensive and easy to do so, especially for popular vehicles, like a Toyota Corolla. “I don’t believe in machining anymore because rotors are just so cheap,” he said. His opinion changes if the vehicle is rare or very expensive, as parts would be harder to find and costlier.

Keep in mind, the corrosion on the rotors can cause uneven wear on the brake pads, so they should also be inspected and replaced if needed.

Dear Ask a Mechanic,

I always see people doing their own oil changes and I’ve noticed oil is readily available in many stores that sell car goods. I want to change my own oil as means of saving money. Why should I see a mechanic for this instead of doing it myself? Is there some sort of benefit?

— Oil Changer

The availability of products to complete the task does make it easy to be done at home but the biggest benefit, Le said, is safety. Vehicles have plugs that require tools to remove. Located underneath the vehicle, the process requires a car to be hoisted into the air. Those doing this task at home would likely use a jack and jack stands to achieve this.

“You can do it but it’s very risky, especially if you’re jacking up the car, and there’s no support,” Le said. “One sudden move and it could fall down and possibly kill you.” Bringing it to a mechanic allows them to use a hoist, making the process safer, he said. “It’s worth it to spend that money and have it done safely and professionally.”

There is also a major convenience factor to having your oil changed professionally. In addition to having to select the correct type and quantity of oil, and choose the right filter, you also need to dispose of the used oil and filter. They must either be taken to an appropriate hazardous waste facility or disposal centre that accepts them. A mechanic will do that as part of the services they offer.

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Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a reporter at The Pointer who grew up in a house full of mechanics in Scarborough, and occasionally poses your questions to her dad or brother. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.




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