When Do You Know It’s Time For New Shocks

Ok, Fort Worth, how do you know when  you may require replacement shocks and why are shocks so essential? These are excellent questions.   This is certainly an frequently overlooked but crucial piece to your automobile in regards to safety. make no mistake, recognizing when it is time to switch your shocks is extremely important.

First, let’s evaluate the shocks as well as the suspension system:

Examining your shocks is often a very simple thing to perform. The truth is, it is something you can do yourself  fairly easily.

The very first thing that can be done is pay attention if you are driving. For example, upon hitting the bump does your car or truck continue to bounce up and down? If the answer is yes then you definitely will almost undoubtedly require fresh shocks. Start taking note now, as this will likely start slowly and get worse over time until they are really bad. In reality, if you delay too long you may break other components and parts of of you vehicle.

Another approach to test your shock’s life  would be to physically peek underneath your car or truck. For a truck or van you might not be able to see them. In this instance you need to push on the bumper and follow the measures the same as you are physically taking a look at them. They may bounce. Two or three bounces they are fine. If they continue to oscillate, then they need replacing.

As stated before, the main reason it is so important to change worn out shocks is because they’re critical to keeping your tires connected with the highway. If you are driving down a bumpy road and the wheels are bouncing up and down, worn shocks will in fact permit the wheels to entirely lose contact with the highway. Considering your tires are the only thing separating you from the highway, this can be particularly unsafe when you run into a dip or a bump during a high speed curve. Superior shocks will help to minimize body roll, also essential during cornering.

IF you think that your shock may be worn and really can’t figure it out by yourself, swing by and we’ll take a look at them. Then we can recommend the right types for your Buick or GMC.

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The Very Real Consequences Of Drinking And Driving

It doesn’t get any clearer than this, folks!

How many times am I going to feel compelled to write about this subject? Does it take the death of someone with some fame to get the public’s attention? Apparently not, because once again Hollywood is setting a prime example of what not to do.

Following the horrific car crash of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn early Monday morning, police have uncovered that he was driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .196-two times the legal limit.
Dunn was purportedly driving 140 mph on a 55 mph road when he crashed his Porsche 911 GT3 through a rail and into the woods where it crashed into a tree and erupted into flames. Dunn and his passenger, Zachary Hartwell, died at the site. Wrecks similar to this serve as a tragic reminder of the risks of driving intoxicated.
It appears that, Dunn had an earlier DUI accident a few years before, but was in a position to clean up his record through court requirements and was not required to install an alcohol interlock machine on his automobile. If he had survived this collision, Dunn’s upcoming cars would’ve been mandated to possess this piece of equipment for at least one year following his license was reinstated.

What can you expect after a DWI?

Expect to prove you haven’t been drinking when you get behind the wheel! Alcohol interlocks are a technique the government is hoping will cut back the 11,000 deaths each year from drunk driving. Forty-nine states have some kind of interlock condition and 11 states have required provisions subsequent to the initial conviction. The driver has to blow into the machine to check for alcohol for their car will start.

What’s being done?

At this time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting their “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” operation through July 4th in an effort to tag intoxicated drivers before a deadly accident occurs. This week in addition to next week are filled with graduation events, 4th of July picnics, in addition to added summer revelry. Keep the streets safe by following these valuable tips…tips you should already know and be putting into practice.

  • If you are planning to consume alcohol, designate a sober driver ahead of going out. In the event you are impaired, don’t drive.
  • Hail a taxi, make use of mass transit, or phone a sober buddy or member of the family to get you home safely.
  • Plan in advance and stuff a bag to stay over someone’s residence should you know you might be drinking.
  • Report drunk drivers you observe out on the roads at once to the police by calling 911.
  • Always put on your safety belt while in a car or wear a helmet as well as protecting equipment while on a motorcycle.
  • If you happen to see someone about to drive intoxicated or travel with somebody who’s intoxicated, get the keys and aid them reach where they’re going unharmed.

..and I misspoke before…it’s not Hollywood’s problem…it’s all of ours!

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Car Stereo Upgrades For Your GMC

One thing is certain, we all spend a lot of time in our cars, 540 hours a year to be exact. That’s right 540 hours of traffic, of red lights of sitting for hours on end. What do you do with all of that time wasted? With the crack down on cell phone usage, you’d better have a pretty killer stereo to stay entertained.

Now, for the most part, most people are totally content with their factory installed systems. However, there are some people…self-proclaimed “audiophiles” who demand only the clearest most efficient and, at times, the loudest audio systems available.

If you think you want to venture into the world of custom audio for your vehicle, there are some things you should know. First let’s start with the basics…the 3 components of your audio entertainment.

When looking for an after market system, you really need know what you are looking for: what type of sound, what features, what brand, are you going to need an amplifier…these are just a few of the questions you should ask before you make any purchase. There are any number of places you can go to research and get expert advice, including my dealership.

I guess the bottom line is, if we are going to be spending 541 hours in our cars every year, I for one am going to want the best possible audio system in my vehicle to keep my mind off the fact that I could be playing a lot Golf with those wasted hours.

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Reckless Drivers Are Everyone’s Problem

What is an unsafe or reckless driver? Think of it this way, is it someone who speeds or someone talking on their cell as they blow through a stop sign? It’s obvious the latter.

I’m not going to preach to anyone that ‘Speed Kills’ when it has been proven that speed on it’s own is not the killer. We all exceed the speed limit. It’s when you mix in your in ability to control your vehicle because you lack focus. Basically, it’s speed combined with any of the following

1) Drink or Drugs
2) Dangerous Driving
3) Reckless Driving

…. this is what causes the accidents and kills.

Please, always remember. Be safe, be alert, be cautious and arrive alive.

Now the general tone of this video was humorous, but trust me when I tell you that there are plenty more reckless driving videos on the net that I could have pulled up that would have ruined your day. For the time being I hope this video puts some people back in touch with reality when they get behind the wheel.

Focus. Be alert. Know your surroundings, including vehicles, pedestrians and objects. If you refuse to stay vigilant behind the wheel, then you are driving recklessly by default. Please drive carefully.

This is just a friendly reminder from your me and the rest of us at Freeman Grapevine.

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What Do You Prefer; Cloth, or Leather

Cloth vs. Leather

Cloth or Leather? Cloth or Leather? Which is better? What can I afford? These are just a few of the many questions you will ask yourself when deciding on whether you want Cloth or Leather in your new car or truck. No doubt you will discuss this for a while before making a decision.

First thing to think about when deciding is your kids. If you have kids and you let them snack or drink in the car, be prepared for messes. When you have cloth interior in your vehicle it’s difficult to keep it clean with kids in tow. It is cheaper than leather but always think about the kids. Yes, we live in Texas and yes summers can be scorching. Cloth will not bond to your skin when your wearing shorts during those hot summer days or freeze your legs and bum during those chilly Texas months. Are you a smoker? Cloth soaks in odors. Anything and everything you put in your car can be soaked into your cloth. Think about picking kids up from football practice all sweaty and stinky or your dog getting sick in the back seat. That could be quite a mess to clean up. Cloth is more likely to fade and you better watch that cigarette that could burn holes in the cloth that may not present any damage on leather. Cloth is also susceptible to rips and tears over time.

Leather is a must in luxury vehicles and a common standard in most other vehicles. Leather does not hold smells, it’s easy to clean, it has a lovely scent, it doesn’t stain or burn like cloth. However, leather does take a little work to keep looking fresh. You should consider using cleaning lotions regularly on the leather as it will help preserve the leather and keep it looking healthy. Sometimes dirt, grease, and oils from your skin can transfer to the leather making it look dirty. If you regularly clean and use cleaning lotions on your leather you can reduce the dirty look. It’s also very important to have your windows tinted to protect them from those pesky rays from the sun that can dry out and possibly even crack your leather.

Of course ultimately your decision will depend on your lifestyle. If you’re hardly in your car and don’t travel much you may prefer cloth. If you have a few kids and a crazy dog that sheds you may prefer leather cause it’s easier to clean. The decision is yours, but if you still can’t decide, swing by my place, Fort Worth and take a spin and see which one suits you better.

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Tornado Season Is Around The Corner

…to seeking cover under an overpass during a tornado

The misconception is that the wind associated with a tornado is confined to within the visible funnel cloud. Unfortunately, a tornado is not a vacuum cleaner hose hanging out of the sky. One possibility why many people think that being under an overpass offers protection is that with something above them, the bridge will prevent the wind from going ‘up’ underneath the overpass. This simply is just not true.

There is no doubt that essentially living at the southern tip of tornado alley we get to see our fair share of destructive tornadoes. Being in your home is one thing, you can take shelter in an interior room. However, what do you do if you are caught out on the road? I know every one’s first instinct is to protect their car and themselves and their first instinct is to take shelter under the nearest immovable object like an overpass. If you know anything about physics, you should rethink this tactic. The fact of the matter is that you may have just made your situation much worse.

Actually, the interaction between a tornado and an overpass is much more like this.

…and here’s a visual reference behind the science.

This is why one of the first and foremost rules in general tornado safety is to get as low as possible, because that is where the wind speed is the lowest! By climbing up underneath the overpass,  you are moving into a place where the wind speeds are typically higher. In addition, under an overpass, it is possible in some situations that when air is forced through the narrow passage underneath the bridge, this might cause an increase in the wind speeds (as mentioned earlier). Further, under different circumstances, the area beneath and just downstream of an overpass might become a debris deposition zone, where piles of debris accumulate. Think a hard rain is uncomfortable? Try being pelted with glass, shards of metal, splintered wood, hail and everything else that’s been hurled into the air.

Information from tornadochaser.net

If on a road, hide under an overpass if a tornado approaches.
The sad fact is this idea has caused many deaths of motorists already. The worst thing you can do is hide under an overpass. Winds can actually be worse under an overpass which makes it a bad place to go. Please listen, never use an overpass for protection.  See the following document for more info. Overpass deaths report

Open your windows during a tornado?
Scientists once thought that the low pressure in a tornado caused the normal air pressure in
houses to explode out. It turned out that the strong winds from the tornado destroyed the
houses, not the pressure change. If the tornado wants your windows open, it will open them for you.

The southwest corner of a basement is the safest place to go during a tornado.
The best place to go during a tornado is in a center room of the basement, like ones that are usually found under the stairs that lead down to the basement. I was once thought that the SW corner was the best place to go, but it was found the debris collects it the corners which makes it a bad place to go.

Tornadoes can’t cross water or where rivers meet.
Many tornadoes have crossed rivers & lakes, with out any effect to the tornado.

Tornadoes can not cross big hills or mountains.
Tornadoes have made damage paths up and down the side of 10,000 foot mountains, in Wyoming so the hills in eastern Kansas will not protect you.

Tornadoes can’t/don’t hit big cities.
Miami, FL, Nashville, TN,  Wichita, KS, Fort Worth, TX, and Oklahoma City  have all been hit by tornadoes in the past few years. Take shelter if a tornado warning is issued for your city.

To see what happens when you take shelter under an overpass take note of the people the pass before under the overpass and again after they drove back through.

So far, this has been the deadliest year for tornadoes across the US. North Texas and specifically DFW (none of us forget the tornado that his Fort Worth) are susceptible to extreme weather. It’s my responsibility to make sure that all of you are provided with the best information possible about your car, driving, etc. However, it’s just as important , if not more-so, that you understand the appropriate action to be taken should you ever encounter a tornado while on the road…What you decide to do or not do can potentially have fatal outcomes. I hope you will remember this article if you ever are in this situation.

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Think You Have A Bad Fuel Pump

It should be fairly easy. If a car has a bad fuel pump, it will normally exhibit a loss of power, or it may not drive whatsoever. Discover how fuel pressure gauges are connected to an engine to determine if a fuel pump is bad with help from an ASE-certified technician in this free video on troubleshooting car problems.

I think one of the most important tips comes at the end of the video. Sediment can and will collect at the bottom of your fuel cell. Avoid premature repairs by following the tip on the video and keep your tank at least a quarter of the way full at all times.

If you think you may have a fuel pump problem, please give us a call before your issue gets

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Get Pulled Over? Be Smart, Be Respectful and Move Along

If you get pulled over for any reason, know your rights. What you say and what you do matters and can mean the difference between a routine traffic stop or something much worse.

I found a couple of videos that I wanted to share that give really great example of what to do and what not to do during a traffic stop. Remember, you may have had a bad day, you may be really angry, but that Officer is already on edge, don’t give him any reason to be more wary of you than he should be.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Basically what it boils down to is common sense. Use your head, be polite, be cordial, be willing to cooperate, but don’t forget your inalienable rights. The burden of proof always is on your side. Good luck.

Can anyone give us any pointers for an experiences you may have had?

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Dead Battery? Charge It Before You Throw It Out

How important is it to keep a well maintained battery under your hood? Let’s call it your car’s Cup ‘o Joe…it provides that little boost in the morning when you turn the ignition to get the motor runnin’ (among a myriad of other tasks).

So, let’s say you accidentally left your interior lights on all night and you wake up to find that you have a dead battery, what do you do? Without a battery charger, you call into work and burn a personal day in hopes of getting a jump from a neighbor or a new battery. With a battery charger, well you get to save that personal day for a time when you really want to play hooky. Let me tell you, for around $50, it’s worth it and you’ll get a pretty decent charger to boot!

How does a charger work? Check out the video.

How easy is it to use? This easy.

Of course, there could also be other reasons why your battery is discharging faster than usual or not having enough juice to turn the starter, and that is a bigger issue. I’d advise you take your car to your mechanic if your battery issues become problematic.

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Financing A New Car Loan

Should you want to purchase a used car and wish to have it financed, but do not know where or how to go about it, then this info is for you.  Where do you find financing for a used car loan?  In most cases getting any used vehicles financed will involve paying higher interest rates than any new car loan.  Also having any used car financed could involve a higher rate down payment, but that also varies depending upon your credit score.

First here’s a video differentiating between a loan and a lease just as a refresher;

When you are ready to get a used (previously owned) car financed from a dealership then first you will want to choose a certified pre-owned auto that will be on site and available from the dealers car lot.  Then begin with some negotiating for the price and purchase of this used automobile long before ever getting yourself involved with any arrangements for the financing.  Check prices on line so you have all of your negotiating tools ready when it comes down to sitting with the salesman.

You can get yourself plenty of used car quotes, right over the internet, before you ever start making any deals towards the purchase of a used car.  When you are online be sure to check the terms of the used car loan and also the rate of the interest at one of the many websites that will offer you this kind of information.  Going online for financing will result in you getting some of the best rates available via direct to consumer financing and could help you get the best sales price for your used car.  Start looking around for some alternative financing for a used car loan should you be planning on purchasing a used (previously owned) car.  Many of the lenders will offer a lower interest rate for newer cars than used cars. Finally be sure to know just what your credit score is whenever you are ready to discuss any financing options.

Remember, the higher your credit score, the lower the rates.  Should you have a score above 680, you should be able to get very fair terms in regard to any financing of a used vehicle, via your online source.

If you have any more questions about financing, don’t hesitate to give me a call and I can go over your options in greater detail.

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