Texting And Driving Is A Big Problem

texting and driving apps, grapevine cars, gmc fort worth, dealerships dfw, buick dealer, GMC dealer, used cars dfw, used cars fort worthI’ve written at least 3 articles in regards to texting and driving, so there’s no need to rehash everything I’ve already said. This post is actually about apps available for your smart phone device. I found this list while doing my research for this blog, so if you find something you can add here, please leave me a comment below.

Anyway, these are the apps I found that I hope you will look into to curb your phone use while driving:

DriveSafe.ly (Free)

This BlackBerry app called DriveSafe.ly reads your incoming text messages and emails to you thanks to its text to speech functionality. You can even create customizable auto-responses for your outgoing messages.

On the Move (Free)

This Android app, called On the Move, was developed to deter avid texters from checking their screens while driving. Acting as an auto-reply tool when you receive a message, On the Move tells the texter that you’re driving with a customized alert.

Otter ($4)

Not only does the Android-based Otter send auto replies to texters when you’re on the road, but you can also build custom quick responses, so you don’t waste time fumbling to text back on your small virtual or QWERTY keyboard.

ShoutOut ($1)

Called ShoutOut, this iPhone app dictates your speech to a text message, then sends it along to your chosen recipient. This app comes with a per-text cost though, with 50 voice-to-text messages costing $2, and 250 voice texts setting you back $5.

Type n Walk ($1)

Meant more for walkers than drivers, the Type n Walk app works with other apps and programs on your iPhone to give you a view of where you’re going so you can stare at your phone all the time. This way, you won’t run into telephone poles, mailboxes, and you know, other people.

Sprint’s Drive First App

Available for $2 a month in the third half of 2011, the Sprint Drive First App will lock up your phone while driving and route all calls to voicemail. Additionally, it will block all text message alerts and send an auto response saying the driver is unavailable, but still give you access to three main contacts, three apps, and GPS.

Again, I don’t want to get on my soapbox again about distracted driving, but if that text is so important that you just can’t stop yourself from texting and driving, I suggest you look into getting one of the apps mentioned above.

Of course, when you get into that fender bender because you were texting and rear-ended the car that suddenly stopped in front of you, you can always bring it into Freeman Grapevine…we see a lot of these types of accidents.

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Are You A Bad Driver

How long has it been since you’ve been tested on your driving knowledge? For some of you, it might depend on the last time you took defensive driving. For others, you may have been 16 since the last time you saw a written driver’s exam.

Did you know that for the past five years, GMAC has surveyed 5,000 people across the country with a simple 20 test question test taken from various state driving tests? Probably not, but the test scores will probably make you want to find out more about it. Apparently,  the Northeast had the lowest average test scores at 74.5 percent (Test-takers need to score at least 70 percent on the test to pass.). The South had the highest failure rate at 41 percent…that’s you Ft. Worth and Dallas. The Midwest had the highest average test scores at 79 percent and the lowest failure rates at 15 percent. Way to go Kansas!

If the numbers from GMAC’s survey are accurate for the entire U.S. population,  roughly 41 million licensed Americans on the road today would not pass a written drivers test exam. That’s 41 million drivers who may not know what a double yellow line means, or worse, what an unprotected left means. Don’t you feel safe on the road now?

Since we’re lumped into the “worst” drivers category, let’s see if we can prove them wrong. Have a quick crack at the test below.

NATIONAL DRIVER’S TEST

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How Do You Know 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 worse and could leave you stranded.

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More Texas Car Theft Statistics

txiaatilogocolor

www.tavti.org

Did you know that a car is stolen in Texas every five and a half minutes. More vehicles are stolen between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than any other time. In 2003, more than 98,000 vehicles were stolen in Texas.In 2005, more than 93,471 vehicles were stolen in Texas.

In 2009, 76,617 vehicles were stolen in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $736,487,759.  285,501 thefts from motor vehicles including motor vehicle parts offenses occurred in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $220,315,208.
The top five stolen vehicles in Texas are: Ford Pickup, Chevy Pickup, Dodge Pickup, Honda Civic, and the Honda Accord.

Cars are getting more secure these days and thus harder to boost which is why we are seeing the numbers of car thefts decreasing. However, vehicle burglaries and break-ins are increasing due the fact that our cars are now filled with expensive GPS systems, iPods, Smart Phones, computers, handbags and a list of other things that are too hard for a criminal to resist when left out in the open.

Remember, take your valuables in with you or totally conceal them. All of us here at Freeman really want to keep you, your vehicle and valuables safe. Victims are usually the people who are not aware or alert…rendering them an easy target.

Be safe!!!

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Protecting Your Car From Theives

Nothing is fool proof. The bottom line is that if a car thief wants to get into your car, he’s going to get it.  You responsibility is to make your vehicle less inviting to the opportunistic nature of the average car thief.

Watch the video below. You might feel that some of the advice is a no-brainer, like leaving your purse or wallet on the seat. Take a look at the video below for a quick reminder of what not to do and some hints on how you can make your car less attractive to a thief.

It’s not brain surgery. Take all valuables inside or put them out of sight. If you think you need alarm system, you should probably get one. The more  warning you can put on your vehicle to deter thieves, the more of a chance you have at dissuading a break in.

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To Buy, Or Lease…That Is The Question

To Lease or to Buy? Everyone who is in the market for a new car has to first decide if they are going to buy or lease. Let me first say, that the only good reason not to lease a car or truck is that you don’t understand it.  Leasing is just paying for what you use rather than all of the value of the car whether you use it or not.  The famous industrialist J. Paul Getty is credited with the statement, “If it appreciates, buy it; if it deprecates, lease it.”  Ft. Worth, cars and trucks depreciate.

The key is to understand the math.  First of all, the value of the vehicle that you don’t pay for is called the residual.  It is determined by the party who provides the lease and it is an educated guess at the value of the car or truck at a certain age and mileage.  In the lease, you pay for depreciation and interest.  Depreciation is calculated by subtracting the residual from the selling price of the vehicle.

For example a car that sells for $16,000 is worth $8000 in 36 months from now with an additional 45,000 miles on the odometer.  The depreciation would be 16,000 minus 8000, or $8000.  If the interest were 6% annually on the average outstanding balance, which would be 16000 plus 8000 divided by two, or 12,000, then the interest would be 12,000 times 6% times 3 years, or $2160.  So, the depreciation plus interest would be 8000 plus 2160 which equals $10,160.  10,160 divided by 36 months would be the monthly payment for depreciation which equals $282.  The only additional components to a lease payment would be sales/use tax plus and additional fees.

Paying off the whole car in 36 months at 6% would be $484 per month plus taxes and fees.  When faced with this choice, most people respond, “but I don’t own it.”  This is a good thing, going back to Mr. Getty’s observation.  What you have instead of ownership of the car is an option.  All consumer leases are what are known as closed end leases meaning the customer leasing the car or truck is NOT responsible for the market value of the car or truck at the end of the lease.

The option and the end of a closed end lease is actually three-fold.  If the car or truck is worth more than the residual, you can exercise your option to own it and trade it or sell it and realize the additional money.  Or you can purchase it and keep it.  Or, if the value is less than the residual, you can turn it in.   One of the biggest benefits of leasing is that you eliminate the risk of excess depreciation in the market value of the car or truck, but you can still benefit if the actual market depreciation is less than the value guaranteed by the party providing the lease.

Was this helpful to anyone? Did it make you rethink how you are going to purchase your next new car? Let me know!

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Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Of The Road

I’ve been hearing plenty of reports of police officers starting to pull people over for looking at their phones while driving. Not talking, just looking! I, for one, totally agree with the decision to crack down on looking-and-driving. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard stories about people who have ‘almost’ gotten into an accident because they were checking their Facebook account, getting directions from Google Maps, or checking their email. You may think you’re a pro at sneaking a peek at your phone when you aren’t in any danger, but after you have one fender bender, you’ll come to realize that sending that last email wasn’t worth the thousands of dollars of damage to your vehicle and the poor person you hit’s vehicle. If you think a fender bender is the most damage you’ll do, then consider that there are thousands of people across the U.S. who have been severely injured or lost loved ones due to people not paying attention when they are behind the wheel.

So what can you do to stop the temptation of checking your phone while you drive? I know that there are a lot of people out there who use navigational apps to help them get from Point A to Point B and they often cause problems when you are trying to get where you are going and heed the maps directions. I suggest turning your radio down and letting the app speak the commands while you are driving. Sure, we think it’s annoying but it’s way better than taking your eyes off the road to verify that you’re going in the right direction.

If you’re not using your phone for directions, keep it in your pocket while you drive. It’s the best place for it and it will stay out of your eyesight, so you won’t be tempted to check out the new notifications you’ve received.

What do you do to keep yourself from looking at your phone while you drive?

 

 

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Keeping Your Interior From Cracking

Photo courtesy of carcomplaints.com

For anyone who’s had a car for over a few years, you dread the day that your dashboard begins to crack and exposes the foam underneath. Once that starts, it all downhill. Your dashboard and seats will keep cracking and getting worse as time goes on. Here in Texas, our harsh Summers make it even, the high temperatures and Sun’s rays do a number on those dashboards and leather seats. Here are a few things you can do to extend the life of your dash.

1. Use a protectant

You can pick them up at just about any auto store or general retail store. Armor All is probably the most popular one on the market. They do a great job of keeping your interior protected from the Sun’s harmful rays. But you can’t just do it once, you have to be vigilant and apply it often. For leather seats, get a leather conditioner and apply it as often as you can, no one likes the feeling of torn and cracked leather.

2. Buy a dashboard cover

I used to have one in my old truck and it looked a little funky, but it kept my dashboard from cracking! You can get these made specifically for your car so it fits in all the right places and doesn’t cover your window vents.

3. Use a Sun shade

Using a reflective Sun shade not only keeps the UV rays off of your car’s interior, it also keeps your car a few degrees cooler. If you park your car out in the sun while you’re at work, you should definitely invest in one. Parking your car in the Sun for many hours per day will only shorten the life of that dash.

4. Get your windows tinted

If you are still driving around without tinted windows, you’re asking for it! The film that auto detailers use for tinting windows will protect your interior from those harmful UV rays, too!

What do you do to protect your car’s interior from cracking?

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Battery Terminals Are More Important Than You Think

Photo courtesy of partsmaster.com

I went out to my car, just the other day, to go home after work and my car wouldn’t start. Naturally I suspected it was the battery. So I yanked it out of the car and took it over to the service department and told them what was going on. They tested the battery and told me that the battery is fully charged and not the culprit. So I thought to myself, “What could be causing my car to not start if it isn’t the battery?” Alternator is good, starter is good. Then, my guy looks at the battery posts and asks me if I noticed any corrosion on the terminals when I took the battery out. There was my “a-ha” moment. My battery terminals and connectors were so corroded that they couldn’t get a proper connection to start the car!

If you have ever had this happen to you, you know that it’s frustrating finding out that your car won’t start because of corrosion. After you’ve determined that’s the problem, here’s run down of what you need to do to get your car back in running order

1. Disconnect the terminals

Using a wrench, loosen the bolts that secure the wires to the terminals to the posts on your battery.

2. Clean off the terminals

Using a wire brush (most auto stores even carry a wire brush that specifically designed for this) and scrub all the gunky white powdery stuff off of the terminals and inside the round connectors that attach to the battery. Don’t strike or hit the battery with anything to try to get the build-up to break off, you run the risk of causing a spark.

3. Apply petroleum jelly or grease to the terminals.

This will slow down the corrosion process and hopefully you’ll never have to do this again!

4. Reattach the connectors to the terminals.

Using the wrench you used to remove them, tighten the bolts to make sure your  connectors are tight and have a good connection with the terminal.

5. Start your car up!

Have you ever had to deal with corrosion on your car’s battery?

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How to get Rid of that Stinky Car Smell

Photo Courtesy of Discovery.com

There’s a reason they call it the ‘new car’ smell. Once it’s not new anymore, your car begins to emit a distinctive smell that mostly the contents of the car. Some cars fare better than others, depending on their owner’s cleaning habits. If you don’t take the time to clean out your car, yes, it will probably be an olfactory nightmare. Here are few tips to keep your car smelling just as good as it did the day it came off the lot.

Give it a good clean

I can’t stress this enough. Clean out your car! If you’re a smoker and you use the ashtray, there’s a high probability that it’s causing your passengers to hold their noses when they ride with you. Clean every part of the car. The seats that house all of the crumbs from you eating while driving, the floor mats that absorb whatever it is you stepped in, the steering wheel that gets covered in sweaty palms, all of it needs a good vacuuming or spray of cleaning solution. Check under the seats. I, personally, always find French fries under my seats and there’s really no telling how long they’ve been there.

Invest in a good smell neutralizer

Those trees you see hanging from the mirrors? The clip-on fragrances that you can put right on the air conditioner’s vent? Those just cover up the problem. For about $10 you can get a bag of odor absorbing materials that suck up whatever the smell is, be it cigarette smoke, mildew or month old French fries. I keep one under my seat at all times and I have yet to smell anything that makes me pinch my nose.

Check your in-cabin air conditioning filter

Those things are notorious for housing some of the worst smells of all mankind. If it’s been a few years since you’ve had it checked, bring it in to us and let us scope it out and see what’s causing that awful smell in your car.

What do you do to get rid of bad odors in your car?

 

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