Tag Archives: fort worth gmc

Is The Engine Compression Ratio In Your Car Right

Your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC Dealer, Freeman Grapevine has a little engine education for you today.

What is Engine Compression and why is it so important? This ratio is actually a guide to how much power the engine can generate. The higher the compression ratio, the more powerful the engine. If you are into physics, and words like “total engine displacement”, then you’ll love the video below.

The problem comes in when your engine loses compression. How much compression are you losing and why are you losing it? Do you think you need to run a compression test? Losing coolant? Poor performance? Blown head gasket? Loss of power? Really not sure? Bring your Fort Worth Buick or GMC into Freeman Grapevine and let us perform a compression test for you.

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.

How Much Do You Know About Your Brakes

OK, what do you do when you apply your brakes and there is minimal resistance resulting in the brake being depressed all the way to the floor? First, you read this, then you call Freeman Grapevine, you could have a very serious issue.

The best way I can explain brake problems is to quote some expert advice. My guys in the Freeman Service department know this stuff like the back of their hand. They can diagnose a brake issue almost as quickly as it takes to pull into the service bay. My guys are really busy, so I pulled to following information for 2carpros.com. It is a well rounded description of common…and not so common…braking issues. Thanks for the info guy!

Check the Brake System Fluid Level – Check the level of fluid in the brake master cylinder. It is natural for fluid to be a low if the front or rear brake pads-shoes have worn down, but if they are in good condition and the brake master cylinder reservoir is empty you might have a brake fluid leak somewhere in the system. Inspect front brake calipers, rear wheel cylinders (drums) or rear brake calipers and flex hoses front and rear of vehicle and look for any sign of fluid leakage.

Also check the rear of the brake master cylinder for fluid leaks, if brake fluid is present the master cylinder seals have failed and the master cylinder needs to be replaced. Replace any parts that are leaking or show signs of previous leakage. Refill and bleed the brake system as needed. (Note: if brake fluid has contacted the brake components i.e. brake pads or brake shoes the brake lining material is contaminated and must be replaced) If the brake fluid in the reservoir is full proceed to the next step.

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Brake Master Cylinder

Brake Master Cylinder is Full of Brake Fluid – If upon inspection the brake master cylinder is full of fluid, the brake master cylinder may be bypassing internally. This means the seals inside the master cylinder have failed allowing the fluid from the front of the master cylinder plunger to slip through to the rear of the plunger and back into the fluid reservoir. Allowing the brake pedal to go to the floor with out pressurizing brake fluid into the system. Replace master cylinder with new unit and bleed system as needed.

Failing Axle BearingsThe vehicle axle bearing holds the wheel true to the axle shaft while allowing the wheel to rotate. If the bearing fails it will allow the rotor to move back and forth, forcing the brake pads inward into the caliper. Then as you apply the brake pedal it will go to the floor as the caliper fills with fluid. In this case it may take one or two pumps to the brake pedal to regain normal operation. Inspect and replace failed axle bearings as needed, finish by bleeding and adjusting the system.

Air in Brake SystemWhen brake calipers or rear wheel cylinders fail they can allow air into the system when the brake pedal is released. Bleed the brake system by loosening the air bleeder, if air is observed from the bleeder replace the caliper or wheel cylinder and re-bleed system. This condition is rare but it does happen.

If you believe that you are experiencing any of these problems, bring your Buick, or GMC into Freeman Grapevine immediately so we can take a look at it. The last thing you what while cruising at 60mph on the highway is to encounter a brake failure.

Did You Just Blow a Gasket?

How do you know if you have a blown head gasket…aside from bringing it in to me to check it out? You can perform a test in your own driveway. Take a look at the video below for a step by step instruction.

Of course, if you find that you have blown a head gasket, I’d advise you to bring it too a service professional. There are a lot of mistakes that can be made when trying to go the home repair route. Just give me a shout and we can take a look at it for you.

The Best Road Trip You Will Ever Take

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I realized something today. I don’t write about taking road trips around Texas in your Buick, or GMC nearly enough. Maybe it’s because I don’t ever have the time to do so. Maybe it’s because…yeah…I just don’t have the time. There really is no other reason why everyone shouldn’t just jump in their GM cars, trucks and SUVs and do a little exploring one weekend.

I mean, have you ever taken the time to really think about what Texas has to offer? I mean really think about it. We have nearly every type of climate from tropical humidity on the Gulf Coast, to the cold plains in the panhandle during the winter months. We have forests to the east of Dallas and deserts out west. We have 2 Major League Baseball teams, two football teams, soccer and hockey. We have multiple state universities with campuses spanning the state. We have some of the largest and most culturally diverse cities in the nation. We have huge music and art festivals and thousands of amazing restaurants. We even have 24 wineries! (I’ll bet you weren’t aware of that!)


So, why don’t we get out of our comfort zone and take a few days to explore Texas? Too busy? That’s a bad excuse. Make time. You will be absolutely astounded at the history and majesty of this great state.

If you need me, I’ll be on this computer at Freeman Grapevine hopefully planning my own Texas road trip soon…all I have to do is make the time.


What are the Best Tires for your Truck?

Are these the right Tires for your Truck?

If you own a GMC Truck, or any truck for that matter, you know that when it comes time for tire replacement it can be a costly venture in more ways than one. What exactly do I mean? Well, I know you’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for”. Well when it comes to new truck tires, this adage may be more truth than philosophy.

If there’s one part of your vehicle that demands attention, but usually doesn’t get as much as it should it’s your tires. Remember they are the only things that are between you and the road…I’d say that was pretty important.

So, when it comes time to replace your truck tires, Fort Worth, which are the best for you? What makes Tire A better than Tire B? What brands are the best? What type of performance do you expect to get out of your tires? To answer all of these questions and more, I turned to a trusted resource: Consumer Reports.

Our tread-wear test is more than double the mileage that’s required by the government for grading tires per the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQGS). While the government test is based on a total of 7,200 miles, we run on the same West Texas course to 16,000 miles. We believe the added mileage provides a better assessment of a tire’s true wear potential, upon which our ratings are based.

For the official UTQGS test, manufacturers assign the grades. A tire graded at “200” indicates it will wear twice as long as one graded “100.” The truck tires we tested have grades typically in the 500 to 600 range. Tire tread-wear grades can be found the on new tire label and embossed on the sidewall of the tire. (See our tire buying advice for more information on reading tires.)

In all, when viewing tire models that compete head-to-head, you may see similar warranties and UTQGS tread-wear grades. Often the differences are less impressive than what we find from our tread-wear test. For example, results from our test showed one tire model wore out at above 100,000 miles; the fastest wearing tire model lasted less than 50,000 miles. Despite the difference, you wouldn’t know it by the tread-wear warranties on those tires, which are only 5,000 miles apart (65,000 and 60,000 miles, for the long- and fast-wearing tires, respectively).

The longer-wearing tires do command a higher purchase price, however. A set of four tires cost us $673 in our test size (P265/70R17)—a premium of $145 over the fast-wearing model. Buying cheap tires is one way to go and a common practice of many consumers looking for new tires, based on our research. (Read: “Survey: Car tire shoppers satisfied with retailers, but their research falls flat.”) But that isn’t the best strategy for getting the performance and longevity you want.

Tire prices vary quiet a bit from model to model. But if you want to save lots of cash, don’t consider the initial purchase price alone without considering tire tread life. Think about it: Not only could you be replacing tires twice as often, but you will be doubling tire installation cost. If you plan on keeping your truck for years to come, the long-wearing tires are a bargain – with a $100 installation fee, the total comes to $743. But to get the same mileage with the cheaper, fast-wearing tires means buying two sets of four and two installation fees for a whopping $1,255. That’s an added cost of $512. So, spending more up front in this case is the smarter buy.

Don’t discount tire performance, either. Always put safety before price — even above tread life. When it comes time to buy, look for tires that do well in our tests for braking, handling, and resistance to hydroplaning. Winter traction should also be considered, if applicable. Let tread wear, ride comfort, noise, and rolling resistance be tiebreakers.

Make sure you check the tire-buyers guide provided by Consumer Reports. It will really shed some light on the many different styles, performance options and tread wear that can make choosing the right set a difficult task.

If you have any further questions, bring your GMC truck, or SUV by Freeman Grapevine and we can work together to get you the right set.

How good are you at keeping up your car’s records

Hey guess what? As much as we are changing and rolling into the electronic age, I’ll bet your glove box is filled with receipts from oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations and who else knows what. Or even better, you cram them in a cardboard box in your garage. Let’s face it, it’s probably about time to get rid of your maintenance receipt receptacle in lieu of something a little more organized and up to date.

I’ll be the first to admit that keeping records of automotive repair and maintenance is a chore few of us relish, but keeping organized files can save you and your mechanic time and grief down the road. Essentially, these records are your car’s medical records; it’s important to be able to present these to your auto technician, so they know how to diagnose and “treat” your vehicle! Especially if you are changing workshops. Whether they’re oil change records or transmission repair receipts, it’s a good idea to keep all these records together. Things like having a record of the last timing belt replacement can save you unnecessary maintenance costs, but they can also save you from breakdowns due to overdue maintenance.

Of course, this is a modern age and you’ll probably find it easier to have everything at hand on your computer. In fact, there are many software programs you can get to keep track of your car’s maintenance and repair schedules. Lonewolf Software is one good option, and so is MTCPro. Even working off of a simple Excel spreadsheet will be a lot easier than pulling your latest maintenance reports apart because of the gum you left in your glove box.

Want to keep all your papers together in the glove box? Take a look at the video:

The bottom line is, the better the records you keep the better your car can be serviced whereby making you a much happier driver…and giving Freeman Grapevine the chance to follow the paper trail of service which will help us nail down any repairs you might need.


Have You Ever Thought About Driving With A Suspended License

caught driving on suspended license, suspended license, freeman grapevine,Just for fun, I was looking up some Texas Driving Laws recently and came across something that I had never thought about: “What happens if you get caught driving with a suspended license?” Do you get arrested? Do you get ticketed? Both? Does it have to do with why you lost your license in the first place? (Side note: if you don’t know, you can also lose your license if you don’t pay child support.)

There are people out there who will chance it. They will disregard a court order, get in their car and go about their business hoping they don’t get pulled over for another violation.

I pulled this from mytexasdefenselawyer.com, so thanks guys for the information.

If you are convicted of knowingly driving with a suspended license, it is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a find up to $500. It is a Class B misdemeanor – up to six months in a county jail – if you have been previously convicted, or previously had your license suspended for DWI.

It is also a Class B offense not to surrender your license to the state upon demand after your suspension.

The Texas Transportation Code also allows for an additional license suspension the same length as the first. For example, if your license was suspended for six months, and you are convicted of driving during that suspension, your license will be suspended for another six months after the original period ends

But the real penalty for driving on a suspended driver’s license is the cost.

To begin with, it is very likely that the police will have your car towed from where you were stopped. You will be responsible for the towing fees, and for a daily storage fee at the tow yard until you pay the money and retrieve your car. This can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Then you also will pay:

  1. Criminal fines that can range up to $2,000, depending on the charge.
  2. A reinstatement fee of $100 and SR-22 insurance, which can be very expensive.
  3. A surcharge of $250 a year for three years.

This video is from California, so don’t take this as Texas State driving law, it’s just a further example of what can happen if you get caught driving on a suspended license.

I don’t know about you guys, but if you drive on a suspended license and get caught, well, all I can say is, “Good Luck” and “I hope you are independently wealthy”. Be smart. If you have suspended driver’s license, you are better off getting a ride from a friend, or family member, or just staying home altogether.