Arbor Daze, This Weekend!

It’s festival season, now that the fear of freezing temperatures is out of the way. One that I always like to go to is Arbor Daze, down in Euless, not too far from Freeman Grapevine. It takes place this weekend, April 26-27 at Euless City Hall, 201 N Ector Dr, Euless, Texas, 76039.

Every year they pay tribute to the nature-centric holiday, Arbor Day, with free trees for every attendee. With many cities in the metroplex cutting down trees to make way for construction and development, Euless plants a tree for each and every person who enters the gate at Arbor Daze.

There’s plenty of fun to be had for you and your kids, as well. Arts and crafts tents, an Arbor Dazzling Kidz Zone (with face painting, carnival games and prizes),  and Forestry Village are all geared towards entertaining your little ones. Music and dance acts are also planned. Acts include Crossing Main, Escape, Eddie Coker and Ka Pa Hula O Manulani. Stop by the Tongan Cultural Tent and enjoy authentic Tongan dancing and singing along with education about their culture.

My favorite thing to do when I’m at a festival is sample the food! I don’t know about you but I’m heading straight for the Best Bayou Bites tent. Gator balls, po’ boys, jambalaya, and gumbo. I want to try them all. There’s also a Polynesian tent, and a BBQ tent from North Main BBQ, plus tons of others. If you don’t have plans on buying a new or used car from me this weekend, definitely stop by Arbor Daze.

 

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Ozzie’s Q & A: Shocks and Struts

Photo Courtesy of VehicleFixer.com

Hey guys and gals! I wanted to put together a compilation of some questions I get asked a lot. Working for a GMC/Buick car dealer for many years, I’ve learned quite a bit. So here’s a few questions I get asked on a pretty regular basis.

What’s the difference between a shock and a strut?

Both of them perform the same function, making your ride smoother, but struts are a little more complicated, therefore, more expensive, too. Struts are an essential component of your steering system as well as supporting a great deal of your vehicle’s weight. Some cars use struts, some use shocks, some use both!

When should I replace my shocks and struts?

If you purchase a cheaper set shocks or struts, they generally last anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on how crazy of a driver you are. Higher quality shocks and struts are known to last from 50,000 miles up to 100,000!

How do I know when I need to replace my shocks/struts?

You may never notice a change in your car’s handling since it is a gradual decline. Have you ever seen a car driving down the road that hit a speed bump and bounced 3-4 times before finally evening out? More than likely, the driver has no idea that’s happening because it’s been such a gradual process, to them, their car drives like it always has. Excessive bouncing, leaning, swaying, vibrations, and scuffed areas on your tire threads are all good indicators of needing your shocks/struts replaced. Of course, we can always do that for you!

What kind of car questions do you have? Find us on Facebook and send us a question, maybe I’ll answer it on next week’s Q & A.

 

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Get Ready For High Temperatures!

Spring is finally here! This past weekend was one of the best weekends, weather-wise, for getting outside. It was about 80 degrees on Saturday and about 75 on Sunday. Plenty of sunshine, people out walking their dogs, washing their cars and grilling out. I dare say, it was the most enjoyable weekend of the year so far. Enjoy it while it lasts, because that just means that summer is right around the corner and from what I’ve heard, it’s going to be a brutal one. I fully expect 90 days straight of 100+ temperatures. Since most of us have normal 9-5 jobs, that means we get to head out to our cars at the heat of the day and sit in a sauna-like car and sweat until we can get our air conditioners to cool it down to a bearable degree. More than once, I’ve used my shirt to open the door because I didn’t want to touch the handle of my car to get inside.

With that being said, that means it’s time to get your air conditioner checked out to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible so it can keep you cool and sweat-free during the scorching summer months. Even if it’s just a freon bump, it could mean the difference between staying cool on your drive home and being miserable while sitting in a puddle of sweat. If you’re driving a luxury vehicle, like one of our Buicks or GMCs, then you’ve got a world of pain waiting for you when you get in thanks to the leather seats. That’s why I’ve made an investment in a sun shade to put in the windshield. It may not reduce the inside temperature to a noticeable degree, but it does keep the sun off of my seats and dashboard to avoid cracking from the sun’s rays.

Come by and let us check your car’s air conditioner to make sure it can keep you cool this summer!

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Scammers Are On The Prowl

Image Courtesy of BBB.org

I hear about more often than I care to admit. People find a great car (or so they think) on Craigslist and they end up losing tons of money. It’s so easy to create a used car listing on the popular site and generate some interest in a used car that doesn’t really exist. Nowadays, scammers are taking advantage of the older generation by touting classic cars and super low prices for them. Here’s a few tips on how to avoid falling victim to a scammer.

Double Check All References

A scammer will give you information that you can’t verify. Be sure to get good information regarding addresses, phone number, and references.

Don’t Buy Anything Until You See The Car

Sure, the seller may send you tons of pictures, but until you can verify that the car is actually in his possession and has the right to sell it, then be cautious of anyone giving a deal that’s too good to be true.

Beware the Reasons

When you contact a seller and they are trying to get rid of a car because they are moving overseas or some place where they can’t take the car, due to registration or transport issues, be wary of this seller. This is a common tactic to try to get potential buyers to commit to purchasing said vehicle in a hurry, without actually verifying the validity of the sale.

Never Wire Transfer or Escrow

Wire transfers and escrow services are the most common way thieves use to collect money. If they require you to use either of those services, hang up the phone and don’t look back. Those services are used because there is little recourse when you find out you have been scammed. Once it’s gone, it’s extremely hard to get back, if at all.

Do you know of anyone who has been scammed on Craiglist or any other selling website?

 

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What’s the Deal With All Of These Roundabouts?

Photo Courtesy of RoundaboutsUSA.com

Photo Courtesy of RoundaboutsUSA.com

I’ve started noticing a trend. 2 trends actually. One of them is the number of roundabouts at intersections, the other is the number of people complaining about them. Roundabouts are mainly used in Europe where they are just about everywhere and here within the last couple of years, we’ve started seeing them pop up in Grapevine and Colleyville. There are currently over 3700 roundabouts in the US and that number is only going to get bigger. The reason for the roundabout gaining popularity is pretty simple, it relieves traffic congestion. In many parts of the DFW metroplex, there are problematic or dangerous intersections that have utilized the roundabout and made giant leaps in progressing towards less fatalities and crashes.

So why all of the confusion regarding them? Well, it’s pretty simple, we just aren’t used to them. We are used to 4 way stops at most intersections and that’s what we were taught in driving school. The roundabout is completely foreign to us.

Here are the rules of driving in a roundabout (via RoundaboutsUSA)

  • As you approach a roundabout there will be a YIELD sign and dashed yield limit line. Slow down, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary. (Editors Note: On some intersections, there will be a protected lane that will allow you to make an immediate right turn without having to yield or stop for other cars.
  • When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if the way is clear.
  • A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.
  • Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit.
  • Left turns are completed by traveling around the central island

Get used to navigating a roundabout, because they’re here and they aren’t going anywhere. Have you gotten used to the roundabouts yet?

 

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Buckle Up, It Could Save Your Life

Photo Courtesy of TexasClickItOrTicket.com

The modern automobile has come a long way since the first mass produced car came off the Oldsmobile line in Lansing, Michigan in 1902. There were no restraints of any kind, no seat belts, airbags, or back up sensors. Seat belts were just an option until 1958 when SAAB began putting them in all of their cars, the rest of the automotive world followed suit. In fact, the law states that every car manufactured after This is the single most important safety aspect of your vehicle and has saved millions of lives. Yet we still have people who don’t wear a safety belt. I was just in the car the other day with a friend who, I noticed, didn’t have his seat belt on. I quickly told him to buckle up or walk (we were just going around the corner). Buckling up is a no-brainer, and should be the first thing you do when you get in the car. I can point you to multiple studies done that prove that driving with a seat belt is a smart idea, but I shouldn’t have to.

Texas has recently changed the law regarding buckling up in the back seat of a vehicle. Previously, adults had the option of whether or not to wear their seat belt. This is no longer the case. All adults and children must be restrained when the vehicle is moving.   I’ve heard plenty of excuses about how seat belts could trap you if there was a fire or the dismissal of seat belts because of air bags being widespread, but those are all bad reasons. In fact, airbags are designed to work in conjunction with your seat belts, they make your car safer if they are all working together.

When you get caught without your seat belt on, you’ll also get a nice ticket and fine to go with it.  Here in Texas that’s about $$250, depending on where you are, plus court costs. If you get caught with a unrestrained child under 15 years old in the car, guess who gets the ticket. The driver does. Being vigilant about making all of your passengers buckle up is the only way to be.

There’s a lot of confusion regarding antique cars that did not have seat belt installed when they were manufactured. Here in Texas the law states:

A motor vehicle required by Chapter 548 to be inspected shall 
be equipped with front safety belts if safety belt anchorages 
were part of the manufacturer's original equipment on the vehicle

That means if the car didn’t have them when it was new then you are not required to. But let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you install seat belts? It’s the smart thing to do.

Check out this video and then visit your state’s Department of Transportation website to check your state’s seat belt laws.

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Time To Replace Those Windshield Wipers

With the threat of freezing behind us, it’s time to take stock of our vehicles and replace any worn parts that may have been damaged from the cold. The first one that came to my mind was your windshield wipers. Ice is tough on your wipers, ripping and tearing the rubber that is needed to make sure you can see where you’re going. We all do it, when we get out to our cars the morning after a freeze, we try to wipe away the ice with our wipers, We’ll turn the heater on and wait a few minutes, then try again. The jagged edges from partially melted snow and ice are what destroys those wipers.

I was out driving around last weekend and noticed that my wiper blade was so torn up that about an inch of the blade was no longer even attached to the wiper arm. I figured it was time to get a new set and bite the bullet.

Did you know that you can’t buy just the wiper blades anymore? You have to buy the entire unit, bracket and all. I came across a new product from Bosch called Icon. They are wiper blades that claim to last 40% longer than normal wiper blades. With that in mind, I bought a pair. These things are awesome. Not only are they contoured to fit firm against your windshield without the use of a metal frame with springs and arms, but they’re also designed to use the wind resistance to hold it firm against it.  I can go on and on about them but, I’d rather let the video do the talking.
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Don’t Get Stranded With A Dead Battery

Photo Courtesy of Moneycrashers.com

Your car battery generally lasts anywhere from 2 to 5 years, depending on the climate. Here in Texas, they last 2-4 since we have to deal with 110 degree summers. Truth be told, heat and vibration are a car battery’s worst enemies. Overcharging and undercharging, lack of regular maintenance and excessive current drain are also a battery’s silent killers. There’s a short list of things we can do to make sure we don’t get stuck with a battery that won’t turn the starter over.

Combine trips

If you travel less than 20 minutes a day, your alternator may not have enough time to charge the battery to capacity. At least 30 minutes gives it enough charging time to avoid undercharging, which gradually worsens your battery’s ability to hold a charge.

Avoid battery drain

Most vehicles nowadays cut off the electric supply when the key is off, but there are some out there that still provide power to the outlets. If you keep a phone charger plugged in, or you have a security light, it’s constantly getting power, and draining your battery and taking money out of your pocket. A little known fact about alternators is that they are designed to maintain a battery’s charge, not recharge it.

Avoid overcharging

Your alternator’s current is controlled by a voltage regulator or a computer control module, of one of them is faulty, your battery will suffer. Overcharging shortens a battery’s life by accelerating the aging process.

Avoid undercharging

Undercharging is the result of not charging your battery enough after being severely discharged. If you do end up with a dead battery, it should be charged using a bona fide battery charger.

Secure your battery

Vibration shortens your vehicle’s battery life. All cars nowadays use secure systems that hold it in place and minimize the vibrations that are transferred to your battery. If you aren’t tightening down your battery,  you’re running a risk of waking up to a dead battery.

It’s easy to forget about your battery, after all, if it’s not causing any problems, why worry about it? Keeping your battery maintained and checking to make sure it’s holding a charge will keep your battery in service as long possible and keep you on the road. Of course, if you have any questions about your battery, swing by and talk to some of our service guys.

 

 

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Is It Time For A Wheel Alignment?

Photo courtesy of chopperautomotive.com

You may not think of it very much when it’s not bothering you, but tire alignment is very important to the way your car runs and handles out on the road. Is your car veering to the left or right when you hold your steering wheel straight? Is there noticeable bouncing when you’re driving around town? Are your tires wearing unevenly? These are all signs of a car that could use some tender loving care in the form of a steering alignment. After all, if you’re wheels and tires aren’t pointing in the same direction, they’re working against each other. That means bad news for your wallet, and your car.

Common Signs of Needing a Tire Alignment

Uneven Tire Wear – If you have uneven wear on your tires, your tires may need to be rotated, but more than likely, a steering alignment will correct that.

Pulling To One Direction – When you are driving and your car drifts to one side when you’re holding the wheel straight, your wheels aren’t pointing in the direction they need to be. A tire alignment will solve that problem.

Shaking – Has your car been shaking while you’re driving down the road? That’s because your wheels are facing to separate directions. Even if it’s off a couple of degrees, it will cause your frame to shake and make your car harder to control.

Benefits of Getting A Tire Alignment

Rotating your tires – Keeping your tires rotated properly is a hallmark of getting the maximum miles out of them. With any tire alignment, the tires should be properly rotated to keep the wear even.

Better Handling – No more shaking and losing control of your steering wheel.

Better Gas Mileage – If all of your wheels are facing in the same direction, your engine works less to get it where it needs to go.

Savings In The Long Run – With your car running smoother, it will reduce the wear on all of the moveable parts, such as your shocks, and struts, steering column, and less wear on your tires.

Look out for the warning signs that you’re vehicle is our of alignment. Don’t hesitate to drop by our Service Department and have us check it for you.

 

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Driving Apps To Help Your Wallet

With warmer weather coming up in a hurry, that can only mean one thing: Gas prices are going to go up. Every time I look down at my gas meter, I hope that I’ve got enough to last me a few more days. Filling up my car takes a good $50 and if I fill up 4 times a month, that’s $200! I’ve been on the lookout for ways to curb my gas-guzzling ways and also keep my eyes out for ways to spend less at the pump. Here’s a couple of useful apps for your smartphone that I’ve found to be a great help.

GasBuddy

This is a particularly useful app when you’re trying to find the cheapest gasoline in relation to where you are. Sure, there are other apps out there like it, but I’ve found this one to be the easiest to use. Just start up the app and within seconds, it shows you how much the gas prices are in relation to where you are located. You can sort it by distance from you and by price. It’s always helpful to know that if you drive a little bit further down the road, you could save 5 cents per gallon instead of settling on the first gas station you see.

Automatic

AutomaticThis is a brand new app that looks promising. For $99.95, it includes a device that you plug in under the dash and it monitors your driving habits, gas mileage, even your check engine light! It’s also a parking reminder for those of us who sometimes forget where we parked. Automatic can also detect when you’ve been in a crash and will notify the authorities of your location. One of the best features of Automatic is the driving adjustment suggestions. If you tend to have a lead foot or like jumping out from a stop sign too quickly, it will recommend ways to improve your gas mileage. By keeping track of your trips via GPS and transferring them to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can see exactly how well you’re doing and what improvements can be made with your driving habits. Here’s the video for more details:

What apps do you use in regards to driving?

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