Category Archives: New Cars

New Car Maintainence Tips for New Drivers

If there’s one thing we know here at Freeman Grapevine, it’s that both young drivers and those who’ve recently obtained their licenses need to learn the basics of keeping their cars properly maintained. After all a new license is pretty much useless if your car isn’t road-worthy. There’s no doubt that everyone is eager, when they get their first car, to just jump in it and go. Surely all it takes is gassing up the tank and going, right? Well, not en-“tire”-ly, there is a lot more concerned in basic car maintenance besides filling up. Let us look briefly at some basic car maintenance pointers and advice for new drivers.

Checking your tires is one of the most important steps associated with basic car maintenance. It is essential to remember that your tires are one of the most important parts on your car. Buy and USE an air pressure gauge. Keeping the air pressure at the recommended PSI will help increase fuel efficiency, extend the lifespan of your tires, and help prevent tire related accidents. Also keep an eye on that tread wear. A tread-less tire can separate and cause a lot of damage to your wheel wells. Use the “Quarter Technique”…just type that into YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about if you don’t already know this trick. Remember, your tires are the only thing between you and the road.

In order for your car to run properly, all of its belts must be in good, working order. Belts are often made of rubber, and rubber will, at some point, weaken and fail. It is recommended that your belts be examined every 25,000 miles, and they should be replaced every 50,000 miles. Remember, it is much simpler to check and replace your belts than it is to be stranded somewhere when they break.

Keep that engine running smoothly by monitoring your fluids! Most cars have warning gauges, to let you know when you are low on fluids such as oil and coolant. However, these gauges are not foolproof. It’s extremely easy to manually check your fluid levels. get in the habit of doing this on a regular basis.

For example, checking your oil level is simple. Be sure your car is parked on level ground, and allow the motor time to cool. Once your motor is cool, locate the “dip stick”. Once you find it, pull it out and wipe it down. Now you can get an accurate reading. Insert the dip stick back into its place, and pull it out once again. When you look at it, you will be able to determine how much oil your car may or may not need. You’ll also be able to tell if the oil is old and needs replacement. It should be light translucent yellow. Anything darker, have it changed.

Checking your coolant is even easier. As with monitoring oil levels in your car, let your engine cool before you check your coolant. DO NOT open the cap while your motor is still hot, the coolant is still under pressure from the heat and will shoot everywhere. You will be burned. On most cars, it will not be necessary to remove your radiator cap in order to check your coolant. You will clearly be able to see if levels are between low and high.

Maintaining your car at this simple level is a must for all new and young drivers. Trust me, taking a few extra minutes to maintain your car can save you from having to make costly repairs. Freeman Grapevine has seen the types of damages first hand when something as simple as changing your oil is neglected.

Blown Head Gasket…NOT FUN!

Texas Heat, Cars and Pets Don’t Mix

“…not even for a minute”

With Summer temperatures recently reaching over the 100 degree mark all across Texas, our cars are easily reach temperatures of 150 degrees or more. That’s hot enough to melt plastic and is certainly not an environment for your pets to be in.

I don’t like the fact that I have to write articles like this, but every year it seems that Texas drivers and pet owners need a reminder. It pains me…strike that…INFURIATES me when I see dogs left in cars by themselves. First off, your dog’s temperature is already roughly 100.5°F to 102.5°F. In order for them to diffuse heat, they have to pant and cool the blood flow through their tongue since they have no sweat glands and do not perspire. As if that isn’t enough, they are wearing a fur coat!

What many people don’t know is that even on moderately cool days, the temperature inside a car can be fatal. Even when its only 70 degrees outside, in just one hour, the temperature inside a car can soar to over 110 degrees, and cracking the windows doesn’t really help.

If you think that your four-legged friends would be “OK” for a few minutes as you ran in to a store, think again. In fact, don’t think about it. Go ahead and sit in your car with no air running for 10 min. and then see if you feel the same way. I’ll even let you crack the windows. Sweat much?

No one is immune to catching a case of “the stupids”. You may think it will only take a few minutes to grab those groceries or chat with a friend, but that few minutes can translate into life threatening heat exhaustion for your best friend:

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

If your dog has heat stroke he will progressively show these signs:

  • Excessive panting;
  • Pale gums, bright red tongue;
  • Disorientation and your dog doesn’t respond to his name;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Thick saliva;
  • Vomiting;
  • Breathing difficulties;
  • Collapse;
  • Coma;
  • Death

Dogs Prone to Heatstroke

  • Young puppies and older dogs;
  • Overweight dogs;
  • Dogs with an existing illness or recovering from illness or surgery;
  • Dog breeds with short faces – Bulldogs, Shar pei, Boston Terriers, Pugs – have narrow respiratory systems that easily get overwhelmed in hot and humid conditions;
  • Double coated breeds such as Chow Chows; and
  • Dogs bred for cold climates such as Malamutes, Huskies and Newfoundlands.

If you suspect that your dog may have heat stroke:

Make sure your dog is out of the sun and has access to water but don’t let him drink too much.

Cool him with cool/tepid water – either immerse him in a bath, gently hose him or apply cool towels to his body. Importantly do not leave wet towels on your dog and do not use very cold water – both prevent your dog form being able to cool himself.

Move your dog to an area where there is cool air circulating, such as an air conditioned room or stand him in front of a fan. The cool circulating air will help your dog to reduce his temperature.

Remember, your dog can’t tell you that he is uncomfortable, so you’ll have to use common sense. Under no circumstance should you leave your dogs unattended in a car. Regardless of how hot you believe you car will “actually” get, you are going to be wrong. Then you will be left with a tragedy that is not only emotional, but quite possibly legal as well. You will get fined for endangering an animal by leaving them in a hot car, or could even be arrested for animal cruelty if they die.

Keep your pups safe, keep them out of your hot vehicles. If you have any comments, questions or advice, leave a comment below or see me at Freeman Grapevine!

How to Escape a Sinking Car

how to escape a sinking car

This is something we hear on the news from time to time. A car loses control, crashes through a retaining barrier and into a body of water. Would you know what to do if this happened to you?

This type of accident is rare, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. Thinking back on what you know or what you’ve heard, do you think that you would have the presence of mind to recollect the escape tactics that you’ve “heard” about and not panic? For sake of argument, I’m going to say “no”, you won’t. That’s OK, because until I did a little refresher research, I would have fallen into the same category as you: Knowing the theory of escape, but that’s about it.

Check out the video for a visual refresher:

Here’s a website dedicated to this very subject written from a person who’s experienced being trapped in a submerged car first hand. It’s definitely worth looking at.

The bottom line is that you have to remember to stay calm and memorize this simple course of action:

Here’s one more thing to consider. There are small, inexpensive, and convenient-to-carry tools available to the public that are made specifically to shatter a car window to free a trapped victim. I suggest you look into getting one for your vehicle.

From Saveyourlife.us

One is called a LifeHammer. It is only 7 ½ inches in length and weighs 4.9 ounces. It is shaped like a small hammer but with a dual conical shaped hardened steel point at one end. A strike with medium force will shatter a side window. I had my 10 year old daughter try it and she broke the window on the first try. The LifeHammer also has a seatbelt cutter built into the other end. The LifeHammer should be mounted in the vehicle either on the side of the console or anywhere it can be easily reached in an emergency. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “LifeHammer”.

The other tool is called ResQMe. It performs the same functions as the LifeHammer but it is only 3 inches long, weights just over ½ oz. and easily attaches to your keychain. One advantage of ResQMe is that it can go with you wherever you go as long as you have your keys. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “ResQMe”. The Life Hammer is a little more robust and can be used to clear out some of the shattered glass once the window is broken. I keep ResQMe on my key chain and a LifeHammer in my car.

Be prepared, stay calm and know your escape routes. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. If you’d like to share any experience you may have had that is similar, tell us that too…you may save some one’s life one day with your information.

Everybody, drive safely.

Rain, Rain go away save your hail damage for another day!

Pretty clever title, huh?

Living in Texas, we are all too familiar with “Texas Weather”. To put it simply, it can and usually does change on a dime. Nice and sunny one moment and the next you are being pelted by penny to softball sized hail. I’d go as far as to say that the “Hail Sale” was invented here in Texas.

So what do you do of your poor new car gets pelted by an unexpected deluge ice nuggets and ends up looking like a golf ball? One of two things. You can watch the video below for a look at what it takes to get your ride back to it’s unblemished self. It shows the tools you’ll need and how you might want to go about prepping your dent removal project.

To keep it interesting, they challenged the tech to do 6 dents in under a minute. As a novice, I’d plan for a much longer amount of time for your project. Also keep in mind that this is just the hood. Chances are if you’ve sustained hail damage it will probably be on your roof and trunk as well…as this point, I’d really consider bringing it in to have a professional take a crack at it.

Check out the video:

As you can see, if you know what you are doing, restoring your car after a hail storm takes a little patience, the right tools and some mechanical ability (removing hoods, liners, paneling etc.).

If you’ve sustained any hail damage (it’s crazy weather season in Texas) and don’t want to tackle a dent removal project yourself, then don’t hesitate to give me a call and I’d be happy to help you get your pride and joy back too showroom condition.

 

Why Is Car Buying So Hard? Part 2: Trades.

In my previous blog, I discussed the three parts of buying a car price, trade and finance. The last time I talked about how negotiating the price really is the easy part.  What I’ll cover today in this post is trading in your car.

It goes without say, if you trade in a vehicle, your gonna want the best price for it. They key points to take into consideration is the year, make, model, mileage and condition of the vehicle you are looking to trade in. There are a couple of great resources for looking checking the value of your vehicle on sites like Kelly Blue Book or NADA guides to get a rough estimate before bringing it to their dealer. One thing to remember is that this is not an exact science, that these sites do have the tendency too mislead you into thinking your trade is worth more than it really is. Most dealers will assess your car and look for signs of any body repair, painting, misalignment, and flooding. Dealers often also run a car history check accidents.

Other aspects that affect trade-in value include whether the dealership has a strong used car operation, or if they have to sell the vehicle at whole sale.  This matters because a dealership that has a good used car operation will often need a wide variety of makes and models. This usually leads to a better price for the consumer market of the vehicle.  Fort Worth, if the dealer has to sell the vehicle for wholesale, it may be because the cost to repair the vehicle is not worth paying, or simply have no demand for the brand and model.

As I said, the negotiation of your vehicle is more difficult than pricing. When you buy a new car, do you trade your old car or sell yourself? How was your experience? What do you think the dealer could have done better?

We’re always trying to improve the value for our customers, so your feed back would be great!

Take active defense against car thieves

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.  Your 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.

Your New Car…and an Indispensable Item

Let’s face it, if you drive you need insurance. There are no “if, and’s or but’s”At some point in your driving career, you are going to need it for a fender bender, cracked windshield or total car loss.

People spend a lot on new cars and they require proper care, maintenance and PROTECTION. Here is where new car insurance comes into play. New car insurance helps safeguard  you against costly vehicle repairs, most of which you probably never saw coming in the first place.

Insurance is a no brainer. Get it. Stay Protected…besides, it’s the Law. What does everyone else think about insurance? Has it paid off for you? Have you ever had to use it? Let me know!

New Car and Brake Safety…What to look for.

A lot of cars have been involved in accidents because of brake failures, one leading indicator is the feel of the brake pedal, so if your car pulls left or right when braking, or if the front end shakes, then these are definite signs of excessive brake wear. If the brake pedal in your new car begins to feel spongy, it could be a sign that air has entered the brake system or fluid is low. Do not ignore these warning signs!

A spongy brake pedal, together with a decrease in brake fluid, may also indicate brake wear, so when you check the brake fluid reservoir, make sure it’s topped off. If not, then brake fluid is most probably remaining at the wheel to fill the space caused by wear. Many vehicles purchased from car auctions experience this kind of problems because of being stocked for a long time in car garage or showrooms. Simply replacing the brake fluid and letting it flow throughout the wheel by pumping the brake pedal a few times before your run the used automobile helps in ensuring safety for you and your passengers.

Many new cars have ABS (Automatic Braking System) which initiates a rapid- fire pumping sequence to the brakes, keeping the car straight during sudden or hard braking. If the ABS light illuminates on your instrument panel, then it’s likely that the wheel sensors have detected excessive build-up of metal particles from the brake system. Most cars are designed to shut down the ABS when excessive particle build-up occurs, but a shutdown ABS does not prevent you from stopping, it just means that the ABS feature isn’t working.

Wheels should be pulled and brakes checked once a year by an experienced brake specialist. These guys have experts who can fit your new car with high quality, high performance braking components. Whether it’s used car or not.

An inspection typically includes the rotors, calipers, drums, pads, pistons and brake lines. Brake systems should be flushed and brake fluid replaced every two years.

Brake fluid absorbs moisture in the system and becomes acidic after about two years. Check your owner’s manual or ask your technician to see what kind of brakes your car has and how they are adjusted. .

Remember, how and where you drive will greatly influence when your brakes must be replaced. If you have any questions about your brakes, come and see me.

How Much is Your New Car Worth in 5 years?

What I’m about to tell you is nothing you don’t already know. Buying a car is a “Catch 22” meaning, you have to have one, but for the most part, they are bad investments in terms of recouping your money. Their value isn’t really based on how much you can get for it when you want to sell it, but how much you get from it you while you own it. But of course, we want a good trade value for our old stuffs. Though old and used, we surely had bought it in a good price, so we also expect a better deal.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but unless your daily commuter is a high-end sports car or luxury suv, you aren’t going to recoup all of your money. No problem, we already knew this. So, what can you do to help add some value back into your vehicle? take a look at the video:

Have any other hints on keeping the value of your new car intact? Let me know!

A Great way to Improve Gas Mileage in Your New Car

The differences can be extreme

The average driver spends little time considering how an automobile engine works or even how important it is to protect it’s moving parts. They just get into their cars and drive. At the same time, most drivers do consider a vehicle’s fuel economy both when purchasing and driving. Some go to great lengths to find ways of improving gas mileage such as purchasing different exhaust and air intake products, fuel additives, and tires. With the only exception being the vehicle’s transmission, the engine is the most intricate and vital component of that car’s ability to be useful. It is also, often, the most expensive to repair. It’s internal components are subject to extreme heat and friction which wear on these parts over time. They are constantly exposed to temperatures nearing 200 degrees and moving thousands of times per minute. Even with regular servicing and preventative maintenance, the wear on these parts is inevitable and adversely affects an engine’s efficiency over it’s lifespan. It’s the efficiency of an engine which consumers often overlook when considering fuel economy.

Synthetic oil, as compared to traditional petroleum based oils, has a stronger viscosity or stickiness. It also takes longer to break down in extreme temperatures and is less subject to evaporating. Substituting synthetic oils for traditional oils when servicing a vehicle protects these parts better and, in turn, leads to greater engine efficiency. It’s efficiency directly affects the amount of fuel being used or wasted in the combustion process. Therefore, one of the most considerable ways of improving gas mileage is to protect the efficiency of a vehicle’s engine over it’s lifespan with a synthetic lubricant.

With the rising prices of gasoline in our present day economy, a greater portion of the population is in need of finding practical ways to improve gas mileage. Using a synthetic oil for engine lubrication is one significant way a consumer can improve fuel economy and save a substantial amount of money over time. It will also better protect internal engine components longer which will save money in engine repairs and rental cars. It will protect one of the biggest and most important financial investments one can make in today’s society.