Tag Archives: Fort Worth Buick

Need a new car, check out used first!

 

Let’s face it; when living in Texas, it is virtually mandatory that you own a car. Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, that is especially true. With a limited public transportation system and long distances to cover to get to wherever you need to go, you are going to have a difficult time with travel without a reliable car.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to purchase, own and upkeep a brand new, fresh off the lot vehicle. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t own a reliable used vehicle. In fact, when you decide to buy a used vehicle, you are already taking a step in the right direction. “Why is that?,” you ask. Or, maybe you are thinking, “…but I don’t want to inherit someone else’s problems”. The fact of the matter is that a major advantage of buying a second-hand car is its lower price. The moment a vehicle leaves the lot as a “new” car and is driven on the streets, its value drops immediately. That’s just the way it is, although some automobiles are driven for only a few years, their prices are considerably less than the exact same car sitting on a dealer’s lot.

This is good news for the savvy used car buyer. Looking for a car that has just come off lease is an excellent way for you to get more car for less money. In fact, you are going to have more choices, with more of the options that would probably be way out of your budget if you bought the car new. Having more choices is great because it introduces more makes and models which means you won’t have to settle for an inferior vehicle or one you just can’t learn to love.

OK, so you’ve saved cash off the top just because you went the used car route. Where else are you going to save a few bucks? Good question.

In Texas, (as in every other state) you must carry insurance on your vehicle. You are responsible, at bare minimum, to carry liability insurance. On a new car, fresh off of the lot, your insurance coverage is automatically going to be on the higher end of the payment spectrum. Buying a used car will help keep some of the insurance costs down. This is a good thing, especially with gas prices continuing to climb.

The bottom line is that when looking for a new car, it doesn’t have to really be new…just new to you. Doing some serious research and conferring with your dealer about your budget and what you’d like to have in your driveway will not only save you money and time, but you’ll have a car you can be proud of. More importantly, you’ll have a car you can rely on.

If you have any questions about buying a used vehicle: What you should look for, what your should expect etc., give me a shout. I’d be happy to help!

 

Tire Tread Depth For Maximum Safety

Understanding tire tread wear and being able to read the signs of overuse, or excessive wear is extraordinarily important  in ensuring you are driving on the safest tires possible. I’ve written about it before, and no doubt you’ve read other articles on safe tire tread depth. But today I want to find out, specifically, how much tread is needed to safely bring your car to a complete stop?

Check out the video below. This will answer the question above.

A poorly maintained set of tires is nothing to mess around with. You have to always remember that they are they only things that are between you and the road. Stopping power just isn’t in your braking system, your tires must have enough tread available to actually grip the surface you are on. You can never tell when you are going to have to use emergency, or evasive maneuvers while on the road. Even a simple trip to the store can potentially be hazardous if your tires aren’t properly maintained.

Time for a new set of radials?  Freeman Grapevine has the tire you need for less than you think.

How To Evaluate Your Shock Absorbers

Okay, Dallas Fort Worth, how do you know when  you need replacement shocks? The rule of thumb is every 50,000 miles, but it could be sooner, or even later. Your shock absorbers are an often overlooked but vital aspect to your Freeman Grapevine Buick, or GMC.

Checking your shocks is actually a very simple thing to do. In fact, it is something you can do yourself  fairly easily. Replacing shocks takes a little more technical “know how” and the right tools, but can also be done at home.

One way is by visual inspection. Inspect each shock absorber for fluid leaks, which show as dark stains in the road grime that collects on its body and mounting points. Examine the body for deep dents, and the piston rod for signs of pitting or rusting

How is your car handling while driving? For example, after hitting the bump does your new car, or truck continue to bounce up and down? If the answer is “yes”, then you will almost certainly need new shocks. Paying attention now, because shock absorber degradation may happen gradually and then worsen over time until. In fact, if you wait too long you can damage other parts and components of you car.

It is important to replace worn out shocks is because they are responsible for keeping your tires in contact with the road. Worn shocks will permit the tires to completely lose contact with the roadway. This can be especially dangerous if you hit a dip or a bump during a high speed corner. Good shocks will also help to minimize body roll, also very important during cornering.

If you think that your shock may be worn and just can’t figure it out on your own, swing by and we’ll take a look at them. Freeman Grapevine can recommend the right ones.

Front Wheel, Rear Wheel, All Wheel Drive: Their Pros and Cons

For many new car buyers, the drivetrain of their potential new car is just a given. Meaning that they buy the car for whatever reasons they may have and usually the type of drive train is a secondary consideration. I’m talking the commuter vehicles, sedans and light trucks and SUVs. If you have a perpetual mud stain on your truck or SUV from “goin’ muddin'”, then you know what section of the article to immediately skip to.

As I was looking around for some good information to really explain the pros and cons of all the different drivetrains, I ran across and article that has a pretty good desctiption. Take a look below and tell me what you think. Thank you National Motorist Association for the great article:

Rear Wheel Drive

There are two main advantages to owning a RWD car. The first is that RWD is both simple and rugged — especially if it’s a solid axle design — and can take a lot of abuse without needing expensive repairs. Accidentally run over a curb in a solid axle RWD car, for instance, and you probably won’t break anything. But hit a curb (or even a deep pothole) in a FWD car and the odds are much higher that something expensive will be damaged. This is why cop cars and other “service” vehicles are overwhelmingly RWD.

The other advantage RWD cars offer is better balance — and because of this, better handling. While a FWD car has most of the weight of the engine and transaxle (the transmission and axle assembly are one unit in a FWD car) over the front wheels, a RWD car spreads the weight of its drivetrain more evenly front-to-rear. This is why most sports cars — and virtually all race cars — are RWD.

And cons? As anyone who has owned one will tell you, RWD cars are at their weakest in poor weather — rain and snow. Even with modern traction control, a RWD car is more prone to loss of traction on slick roads. In snow, RWD cars are best left home.

Front Wheel Drive

As with RWD, FWD offers two main advantages — just very different ones. The first is economy. It is cheaper to design and build a FWD car. There are fewer parts — and the drivetrain is easier and cheaper to install as the car rolls down the assembly line. FWD also helps cut down the car’s weight by eliminating the separate transmission and axle assemblies used in a RWD car. This, in turn helps the car get better gas mileage. This is why FWD is most commonly found in economy-type and lower-cost cars.

The other FDW plus is better traction than a RWD car can deliver — especially in rain and snow. The front wheels pull the car instead of the rear wheels pushing it. And, the weight of the engine/transaxle sits on top of the (front) drive wheels, which further helps the car get a grip. FWD cars are typically very capable in poor weather — even excellent, when fitted with snow tires.

Cons? FWD cars are nose-heavy, which isn’t optimal for handling — especially high-speed, high-load handling. A related problem is that the front wheels have to do two things at once — put the power to the ground and steer the car. This, too, is not optimal for a performance/sporty car. In a high-powered FWD car, it can sometimes be difficult or awkward to keep the car pointed straight ahead as the car accelerates. The front wheels may jerk to the left or right — a problem called “torque steer.” Modern FWD cars are less prone to this thanks to electronic traction control, but it’s still not the hot set-up for performance applications — which is why very few “serious” performance cars are FWD.

The final thing to know about FWD is that it’s relatively fragile. Half-shafts and constant velocity (CV) joints are more susceptible to injury than a rugged lump of cast iron — as in a RWD car’s solid axle. While a RWD car’s axle may outlast the car and never require service beyond the occasional lube change, it is far more likely that a FWD car will need new CV joints/boots or something else as the years roll by.

All Wheel Drive

The best thing about AWD is that it gives you some of the advantages of both RWD and FWD — while minimizing the weaker points of either of those layouts.

The number one advantage of AWD is excellent traction — both on dry pavement and in poor weather. This is why AWD appeals to both the performance-minded enthusiast as well as the person who just doesn’t want to get stuck in the snow. Some AWD systems are based on RWD layouts (examples include the Mercedes Benz E-Class) while others are built around FWD layouts (such as any new Subaru). The RWD-based versions are usually more performance-oriented but all AWD vehicles do an impressive job of balancing handling/driving dynamics with “go anywhere, anytime” bad weather capability.

But there are downsides — the two biggest ones being weight and cost. AWD cars can weigh several hundred pounds more than an otherwise identical RWD or FWD car. This hurts the car’s acceleration — at least, when compared with an otherwise identical RWD or FWD version of the same car. And the added weight means the car will use more fuel — especially if the engine’s power has been increased to compensate for the added weight.

The last downside with AWD is the cost. AWD, when offered as an option, usually adds significantly to the car’s sticker price. If it’s standard equipment, the car will usually cost more than otherwise equivalent FWD or RWD cars. And because there are more components, there are more things that will need to be serviced — and which may eventually fail and hit you up with a big bill as the car gets older.

So, you’ll pay more up front — at the pump — and down the road. But that may be worth not getting stuck or losing control in hazardous weather conditions — and still being able to tear into corners when it’s nice out.

So, what do you prefer? We all know that Dallas Fort Worth has some very unpredictable weather, which drive train do you thing is better for TEXAS driving? Leave me a comment…better yet, come out and check them out for yourselves!

An Insider’s Perspective

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Recently a customer came to us at Freeman Grapevine and asked, “Why is car buying so difficult?”  I understand why she asked that, it can be very challenging, and can be as equally frustrating for both a customer and the dealer, but it doesn’t have to be.  As an insider, let me explain why,

There are three main components to buying a car: price, trade in and financing.  Let’s review each.

Price

This should be the easiest part of the car buying process.  When a customer researches a car, and inevitably gets quotes from multiple dealerships, they should compare apples to apples.  In other words, you want to make sure you’re comparing the same vehicle with the same equipment and options.  A simple way to do this is to make sure the MSRP’s are the same.

As a salesperson, the hardest question to answer for a customer is “what’s your best price?”  I’ve told my sales people to show customers the invoice when asked that question.  This shows what the dealer paid on that car.  Most good dealerships will gladly show you the invoice so you know where their numbers are coming from.  You should calculate in any rebates, as well as a small profit, which all dealers are entitled to make.  It’s that easy.

Trade-In

If you’re trading in a vehicle, you’ll want top dollar for it.  Determining the trade-in value isn’t an exact science.  The year, make, model, condition and mileage all factor in to the equation.  Most customers research their vehicle’s worth on Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) or NADA Guides (www.nadaguides.com) to give them a ballpark estimate before bringing it to the dealership.

Financing

The last piece of the puzzle is financing.  A customer’s credit score is the biggest component of this.  Whether you have a good financial history including paying off creditors on time & every month, your monthly income and how many outstanding balances you have, all affect your credit score.  A dealer’s relationship with its lenders is also important.  If they work with several lending institutions that offer a variety of financial programs depending on a person’s credit, can make the difference between going to one dealership or another.

A tip if you’re credit isn’t as great as  you’d like:  the higher down payment, the better.

Of course this is the process in a nutshell, however, it really is this easy. There is no reason buying a car should be stressful, or uncomfortable. In fact, buying a new Buick, or GMC from Freeman Grapevine will be one of your most pleasant car buying experiences ever. Trust me. We know how to take car of our new Buick and new GMC customers.

Fishy Hit and Run: Cause…”New Car Smell”

I just ran across this story and it seems a little fishy to me. Let me first preface the quoted article below from the New York Times by saying, this is the first time I’ve EVER heard this happen…let alone used as a defense in court. Read the article and tell me your opinions, I curious.

Many drivers enjoy the so-called “new car smell,” a mix of volatile organic compounds that rise from the plastic, leather, cloth, wood and other interior components of cars fresh off the assembly line. The aroma is so popular that some companies even sell new car smell air fresheners.

But does new car smell have a dark side? More specifically, is it intoxicating?

That appears likely to be an element of the defense of a Colorado driver charged in a nighttime hit-and-run accident, according to court documents filed this week, The Vail Daily News reports. The driver, Martin Joel Erzinger, a financial manager, allegedly fled the scene of a crash with a cyclist in July.

The new car smell from a month-old Mercedes-Benz may have contributed to Mr. Erzinger’s losing consciousness before the accident, his lawyers say.

Really? Maybe Mr. Erzinger was tired and fell asleep, maybe he had been drinking or under the influence of an inebriant…He certainly had the presence of mind to flee the scene of the accident after being rendered incapacitated. Now, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but I wonder if this will hold up in court? Has anyone ever experienced a loss of consciousness while driving due to your New Car Smell? I haven’t and I’ve been in 1,000’s of new cars…literally.

Don’t Run Your Fort Worth Buick GMC on “Empty”

Sounds like a pretty hard thing to do, running your Fort Worth Buick GMC on “E”, it’s obvious not to be taken literally, but is referring to the practice of “Istillhaveafewmoremilesleftism”. Yes, I just made that up, but those of you that have it know who you are.

What is running close to empty bad for your Fort Worth Buick GMC?  So what can go wrong? A lot of things!

The fuel-pump motor starts to suck in air when you’re low on gas. This creates unwanted heat which can have negative effects on the fuel pump. In this case, gasoline acts like a coolant for the electric fuel-pump motor.

Fixing a fuel pump that has prematurely met it’s end will set you back a couple hundred dollars, that’s a couple hundred dollars you could have saved if you don’t push the limits of your vehicle too often.

Here are some helpful thoughts to keep your attention on your fuel levels:

  • Don’t let your tank less than a quarter tank full
  • To get the most bang for your buck, fill up when it’s coldest (mornings in the summer) and pump slowly
  • Download gas price apps so that you’re not driving all around town
  • Fill up before at the beginning of the work week or before a long trip

Keep an eye on your gas tank and don’t let it get to low!  Also, remember you can see some benefits in the miles per gallon department with regularly scheduled maintenance. Haven’t had your Buick or GMC looked at recently? Call and make an appointment with your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC service center.

Ten Traffic Safety Improvements DFW takes for Granted

It’s really easy to complain about traffic. It’s really easy to complain and whine about construction. In fact it seems like Freeman Grapevine is in the epicenter of construction central. One thing that we have to try to keep in mind is that, for all of the inconvenience, our “problems” with traffic and construction are actually because improvements are being made. So that got me thinking, What are some of the GOOD things about improving the safety and conditions of our roads.

Some of these, I’m sure you haven’t even put second thought to as being developed for your benefit.

1.    Divided Highways

2.    Median dividers and barriers engineered to turn vehicle wheels back into the proper lane of traffic.

3.    Improved and increased lighting for roads and highways

4.    Energy absorbing crushable barricades around fixed objects

5.    Small grooves or buttons down the side of the highway to alert drivers drifting off the road.

6.    High speed, multi-lane interchanges (instead of intersections or traffic circles)

7.    Improved signage and use of reflective materials.  (If the buttons down the middle of the road in front of you are red reflectors, you are going the wrong way.)

8.    Expanded use of improved guardrails

9.    Brighter LED traffic signals with pedestrian control lights.

10.  Improved reflective paints for highway lanes, crosswalks, and directional arrows.

I know we’ve all noticed these improvements, so it’s not just our vehicles that are safer these days.  Highway safety engineers have been working overtime for years to improve both traffic flow and highway safety.  Improving traffic flow contributes to safer roads as well as getting you to your destination more quickly.

Before the Interstate Highway program began very few highways were divided.  Roads were one solid strip of asphalt divided only by a line painted down the middle. Learning to pass slower vehicles by moving into and back out of the on-coming lane of traffic was a very important part of driver training.

Short wooden poles, strung together by a single strand of steel cable, were all that separated drivers from the road and a deep ditch or sharp curve.  The guardrails and barriers of today weren’t yet invented.

There was much less street and road lighting and some of the light bulbs were always burned out.  Halogens and LEDs have been a huge improvement.

One of the big killers in the past was drivers dozing off while driving and drifting into on coming traffic or bridge supports. The addition of median dividers, crushable barricades, and road shoulder grooving has significantly reduced head on collisions.

Highway safety engineers will continue to make improvements, but we shouldn’t take all the improvements we have now for granted.  Despite all the traffic, our roads and highways are built to be a lot safer for us than for our parents and grandparents.

Let’s say something good about highway and road development! Leave me a comment if you can bring yourself to do it.

Dallas, Fort Worth: This is your wake up call

You know what? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of hearing all of the DWI related accidents and injuries that we are bombarded with on our evening news channels. Let me rephrase that a little. I’m tired that the news continues to have DWI stories to report. I mean, what will it take for people to learn that the combination of alcohol and driving is not just stupid, it’s deadly…and guess who has to pay the price seemingly all of the time? Is it the intoxicated driver? Nope, it’s the family he just sideswiped. It’s the 16 year old who just got his license he t-boned at an intersection. It’s the bride and her parents on the way to her ceremony he ran off of the road.

You see, you don’t just affect your life when you lose control of your vehicle while under the influence, you affect others as well. You affect their family, their friends, their teachers and their employers. You destroy lives of people you’ve never met. You’ve change their futures with your short sightedness. You change your future because of your selfishness.

The “Think before you drink” campaign, or the “know when to say when” have been literally flooded into our brains, so much that I think we’ve become desensitized to the reality of Driving while impaired.

How many of you notice the memorial markers along our interstates and highways? How many of you think about what happened there? How many of you realized that the family of those memorialized had to erect that memorial and live with their loss daily for the rest of their lives?

It’s time for a change Dallas. It’s time for a change Fort Worth. It’s time for a change America.

Drunk drivers do not belong anywhere near a vehicle unless it is a cab and it is taking you home.

What’s a consequence of having one too many?

We here at Freeman Grapevine take the hard line in regards to this very serious and ever growing epidemic.

Let me know your thoughts and tell me your stories.

Fort Worth, this is how you buy a used car

You won’t see this guy at Freeman Grapevine

So, you’ve gotten as many miles out of the old girl as possible. She’s starting to cost too much to maintain, but buying a new car is not an option. What do you do? We’ll you can drive that old beater until you finally decide to leave it, abandoned and forgotten on the side of the road as you hoof it to the nearest sign of life, or you could have thought about picking up a used car for less than new…and you still would have had something to trade in.

Here’s a step by step check list:

Step 1: Starting out.

If you’ve decided to buy a used car, you’ve already made a smart decision. You can get a car that’s almost as good as a brand-new one, without suffering the depreciation that wallops new car buyers as soon as they drive the car off the lot. Used cars — even those that are only one year old — are 20 to 30 percent cheaper than new cars.

Step 2: Locating the right used car.
At the beginning of the car-buying process, many people already have in mind the car they want. It’s possible that you need to expand your horizons when considering what to buy. You might want to think of other vehicles in the same class. These cars were built for the same market, but they often have different features at lower prices.

Step 3: Used car bargains.
The cost of a used car is based on its condition, mileage, reliability, performance and popularity. Of course, you want a car that is reliable and performs well.

Step 4: Research your prospective used car.
One vital step to getting a great used car deal: you have to run a vehicle history report on any used car you are considering buying. Several companies sell these reports, which are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), but Carfax seems to be the most comprehensive. You will find out the vital information about the used car including whether or not it has a salvage title (it has been declared a total loss by the insurance company) or evidence to reveal if the odometer has been rolled back. This is also the time to decide if you want a Certified Used Car.

 

 

 

 

Step 5: How much can you afford?
The smart shopper will consider how to finance the car at the beginning of the shopping process. This will avoid unpleasant surprises later in the game and help you make an unemotional decision that fits your budget.

Step 6: Set up financing for your used car.
You have three ways to pay for your used car: Financing through a bank, on-line lender or credit union, financing through the dealer, or cash.

Step 7: Used car markets.
There are advantages to buying a used car from a new car dealership. Many used cars, on new car lots, are trade-ins. Dealerships usually get these cars at rock-bottom prices. If you make a low offer — but one that gives them some profit — you just might get a great deal. Furthermore, many dealerships offer certified used cars that have been thoroughly inspected and are backed by attractive warranties.

Step 8: Test driving a used car.
Used car shopping will involve inspecting the vehicle to determine its condition. This process is simplified if you buy a certified used car that has passed a thorough inspection and is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty. But while buying a certified used car removes a lot of the guesswork about the vehicle’s mechanical condition, you pay for this service. Try to arrange your test drive so that you start the engine when it is completely cold. Some cars are harder to start when they are dead cold and, when doing so, will reveal chronic problems. Turn off the radio before you begin driving — you want to hear the engine and concentrate on the driving experience.

Step 9: Negotiating for a used car.
Whether you are buying a used car from a dealer or a private party, let them know you have the cash in hand (or financing arranged) to make a deal on the spot. Preface your offer with a statement like, “I’m ready to make a deal now. I can give you cash (or a cashier’s check) now. But we need to talk about the price.”

At this point, you need to have a persuasive argument about why the price is too high. So let’s talk about pricing. The foundation of successful negotiation is information. This is particularly true when buying a used car. And yet, the condition of used cars means prices will vary widely.

Step 10: Closing the deal.
Once the contract is ready, review it thoroughly. In most states, it will contain the cost of the vehicle, a documentation fee, a smog fee, a small charge for a smog certificate, sales tax and license fees (also known as DMV fees). Make sure you understand the charges and question the appearance of any significant, sudden additions to the contract.

Finally, you should inspect the car before you take possession of it. If any repair work is required, and has been promised by the dealer, get it in writing in a “Due Bill.” Make sure the temporary registration has been put in the proper place and — you’re finally on your way.

There you have it…trade secrets revealed. If you need a used car, show you appreciation for the tips above by swinging by and taking a few for a test drive.