Category Archives: Tips and HInts

Don’t Mess With Low Water Crossings!
Gavin Tapp, Flickr Creative Commons

And the hits just keep on coming!  Here we are feeling like we’re getting all our entire year’s worth of rainfall in just a couple months. A friend of mine texted me this morning and said, “My pool is about to crest so we got 4″ overnight”.

But on a serious note here folks, it’s been heavy rains all spring long, with the worst coming in this last month and a half. First responders are over-taxed with their regular work servicing car accidents and the usual problems associated with bad weather without having to add water rescues, or even worse, recoveries to their pile. You’ve seen the signs, billboards, and TV spots: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” and “Arrive Alive”.

There’s a reason they have to tell you that bit of obvious information. It wasn’t so obvious to quite a few people before you. Moving water is a powerful force, that’s how hydroelectric dams work. Heck it’s how flour mills worked back in your great-great’s days. If flowing water can turn massive stone wheels to grind your great-great’s corn, or turn massive electric generators to create power…why would you think it couldn’t shove your car or truck around just a little bit?

So to beat this bit of obvious into your head a little bit, if there is flowing water over the road, find another way to your destination or just wait it out. There is nothing so important on the other side of the road.

Yeah, but…

But nothing. Even if your kids are in school on the other side of that low water crossing, the school KNOWS it’s raining and will plan accordingly. In these days of cell phones, there is almost nothing you cannot organize while you wait for the waters to recede. Don’t be selfish and put yourself, your property, or a first responder at risk by being in a hurry!


Have you thought about using your car alarm for home protection?

Security and safety are things we think about everyday whether we know it or not. That’s not just security and safety while driving, but also while you are at home in the evenings. I want to share a tip to enhance your home security and honestly, this is something I hadn’t really thought of until now, but it’s so simple and easy to do, you should make it a habit.

My advice is to keep your car keys nearby, “especially when you are home asleep in your bed.”  Of course, you have an alarm system on your vehicle and most do these days.  It doesn’t have to be on of the systems that tells you to step away from the car or sounds like a storm-warning siren… just an alarm system with a panic button that makes the horn sound and the lights flash.

For example, if you hear a noise outside your home or someone is trying to get into your house, just press the panic button for your car.  The alarm will go off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery goes dead.  It doesn’t even matter if the car is in the garage. I heard this bit of advice from a from a neighborhood watch coordinator. It was like a light bulb was turned on in my head.  So, the next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys on the counter or a key rack, think of this:  It’s a security alarm system that requires no installation and no outside monitoring. Try it for yourself.  The alarm can be set off from most everywhere inside your house and it will continue to go off until you reset it with the button on the key fob.

Just a friendly tip. Has anyone ever had to use their panic button in a an emergency?


Do you Know What Steps to Take When you Sell your Car

buying used car, selling used carsBuying and selling a car can be a laborious and often frustrating task. It’s not like you can just knock on your neighbor’s door and sell them your vehicle. The State of Texas has certain requirements and protocols that must be followed or your risk voiding the transaction. That’s when the real mess starts.

Of course, if you decide to sell your vehicle it is much easier to bring it to Freeman Grapevine. We have bought and sold a countless number of vehicles, so we have a pretty firm grip on the State of Texas Requirement for vehicle trans actions.

If you are considering buying a new vehicle, but are looking to sell your old car on your own, there are a few things that you need to know. First, before you do anything check the FAQS section of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles web site. They answer almost all of the questions you may have when deciding to sell. The also have the answers to the question you never even thought about asking, so check there.

I pulled this excerpt from for your convenience. Take a look at it, so you know what you are in for when trying to sell your Dallas or Fort used car.

Keep your license plates and transfer them to your new vehicle.

When you keep your license plates, the buyer has to transfer the vehicle title and this helps to protect you.

When you take off the plates, the buyer will need a Vehicle Transit Permit to drive the vehicle to the county tax office to re-title the car or truck.

Provide the buyer with all the documents needed to transfer the title:

  • A signed title
  • A signed vehicle title application
  • The vehicle’s latest registration receipt
  • Any other supporting documents, such as a release of lien, power of attorney, etc.Then, accompany the buyer to the county tax office to verify the buyer files a new vehicle title application under his/her name. If you sell or trade in your vehicle to a dealer, or if the buyer can’t go to the tax office, you need to notify us of the sale by filing a vehicle vehicle transfer notification within 30 days of selling the vehicle.

Now this was a dealership video, but the same information holds true. Be honest and understand the laws inherent in selling a used car in Texas. Expect to make multiple phone calls to the tax office in regards to transferring your title and relinquishing ownership of your vehicle.

Of course, If you’d rather not go through the hassle of selling your car yourself, you can bring it to Freeman Grapevine and we’ll buy it from you and get you a great price towards a new Buick Or GMC.

Dallas Fort Worth Car Dealer: Unbreakable Rule #1


I’m astonished to hear about accidents that resulted in a fatality simply because one or more of the occupants wasn’t wearing a seat belt. As a car dealer, I understand that paramount importance of wearing your seat belt. First of all, it’s the law. Second, and I hate to be so blunt here, but you are an idiot if you don’t wear it.

If you ever get into an accident in your Dallas Buick, or GMC without wearing your seat belt, do you know the one decision you are going to regret the most? No. It’s not going to be wishing you left home 10 minutes later; or if you just drove a little slower, or even a little faster you might have been a little more lucky. It’s going to be the 2.5 seconds you didn’t decide to buckle up. Really, this is important and not to be taken flippantly. It should be second nature. Instead of throwing statistics at you, I’m posting a picture I took yesterday near Grapevine, moments after I happened upon a very serious accident.

Everyone involved in this accident appeared to be fine from my vantage point and the demeanor of the emergency personnel confirmed this by their focusing on controlling traffic.

Don’t think wearing a seat belt in your new Buick, or GMC isn’t that important? Watch the video comparison below:

I guarantee you the two people involved in this accident didn’t leave their houses thinking this was going to happen. The bottom line is that you never know when something like this will happen. However, you do know how one simple act of putting on your seat belt might save your life one day…Freeman Grapevine will be reminding all of you of this periodically. No need to thank us.

Do You Have Driving Anxiety?

Driving associated fears aren’t uncommon. We all have had those moments where driving can make us anxious. In fact, Freeman Grapevine wants to let you know that driving anxiety is a lot more common than you may think. It happens to many drivers daily. Many of whom may not understand that driving related fears are indeed common and can be controlled, even eliminated.

Check out this video. It’s really interesting and not only explains what causes driving anxiety, but also how to deal with it.

Remember, there is a difference between taking action and simple reaction when you are driving. If you are an anxious driver, you are going to want to have a plan, or strategy in regards to conquering some of your irrational fears. That’s taking action in regards to a particular driving situation, and not reacting to an anxious driving scenario. Believe me, there are a lot of irrational fears out there such as driving next to a barrier, or going over a particularly high overpass, or bridge.

Do you have driving anxiety? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you have a special routine? Do you avoid driving all together? Freeman Grapevine is interested to hear your story and how you conquer your own driving fears. Leave a comment below and know that, when it comes to driving anxiety, you aren’t alone.

Can you Really Drive a manual?

OK. So you put it off long enough. Freeman Grapevine thinks it’s time to fulfill a resolution you should have fulfilled a long time ago. Learning to drive a stick shift. That’s right car enthusiasts, there really are some people out there that still don’t know how to use a clutch, pending they even know what a clutch is. If this is you, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The only shame is not learning.

I will admit that I didn’t always know how to drive a manual transmission. It was pretty entertaining at 28 years old to finally be learning how to drive a manual transmission and someone younger than you is teaching you how to do it. Not to mention the fact that I dumped the clutch probably 5 or 6 times before I got the hang of it. I was so close to giving up it wasn’t even funny. I stuck with it cause I knew I needed to learn. I had a lot of friends and family that drove cars with manual transmissions and I kept wondering what would happen if for some reason one day they were hurt and I had to drive their car. What would I do? So as you can see it was mandatory that I learn how to do that.

Have you learned yet?

I found this great video on how to teach yourself how to drive a manual transmission and I think it is very helpful.

Driving a car with manual transmission requires a good balance between engine power and the throttle, as the clutch is pressed to disengage the engine power during gear shifts, and it is gently released while the gas pedal is pressed.

Looking for a great manual transmission car? See Freeman Grapevine.

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Busting A Couple Popular Gas Myths

As a Texas GMC Dealer, one of the biggest concerns with my customers is how they can get the most mileage out of their cars gas tanks. Now there are a lot of car myths out there that we need to wade through. We’ve all heard them… whether it’s from a family member, a friend or John Doe. These “tips” have been around for ages, and that’s exactly the problem with most of them. They’ve been around for ages! For now, let’s focus on gasoline myths.  Here are two of my favorites.

Running on Empty

Myth: Once your gas gauge hits empty, you have at least one more gallon of gasoline.

Reality: Most cars actually have about two gallons in their tanks when the gauge hits empty! This myth is actually true! Though we’d like to think that car manufacturers did this to be helpful to those of us who seem to always find themselves running on E with no gas station in sight, it’s really just a marketing ploy. Have you ever noticed how your gauge seems to stay on the full side much longer than it does on the empty?

National auto writer Paul Duchene said,

“Gas gauges aren’t linear. They are set up so they actually stay on ‘full’ for a long time, mosey on down to half, then plunge quickly to about a quarter, then gradually make their way down to zero, at which point you have about two gallons left.”

However, running on empty is definitely not something you should do on a regular basis… especially in the summertime.

Premium Gas Pays for Itself

Myth: Use only the best gas and your car will need fewer tune-ups and get better mileage.

Reality: The only think that using regular gas could cost you is a few extra horsepower at high speeds. But the odds are, you aren’t going to notice anyway.  Most engine fuel-management systems are perfectly prepared to handle lower-octane fuel.

“The difference between 87 and 93 octane is so insignificant that you will realize neither better mileage nor fewer maintenance bills by buying supreme,” said Duchene.  “It makes no difference unless the car is supercharged or it is absolutely specified that it needs higher octane.”

Check out the video below for a few more hints on saving at the pump:


Have any other tips? I’d love to hear them, swing by your Texas GMC Dealer, Freeman Grapevine and let’s talk about how you can save more at the pump.

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!

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Keep your dogs safe in your car during travel

dog safetyTraveling with your pets can be easy and enjoyable, but it can also be dangerous for you and them without the proper restraints. You wouldn’t drive around without using your safety belt and the same should hold true for your dogs while traveling. Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents annually, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the Travel Industry Association of America says 29 million Americans have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more in the past five years. With those kinds of numbers, it’s important to remember that pets have special needs on the road.

Of course, the best place you can keep them is in a secured crate, but there are many harnesses on the market that can secure your best friend in the back using your backseat seat belt.

One of the biggest hazards, not only to pets but also to their owners and even other drivers, is the motorist who insists on keeping Fluffy on their lap, which makes it impossible for drivers to respond immediately to road emergencies. The animal can also be hit by passing cars if it bolts out of the vehicle after a crash.


It also goes without saying that you should never leave an animal alone in your car unattended. We’ve all heard countless stories about how hot your vehicle can get and how quickly it can get there. Having a dog succumb to heat exposure isn’t just dumb, it’s cruel. So think first before you leave Fido in the car, even if your errand takes just “a second”.

Questions? Comments? Leave them here!


5 Tips For Driving In The Rain

These past couple of weeks we have seen a bit of rain, to say the least. It has put a good amount of water on the ground and snarled traffic all throughout the metroplex. I happened to get caught in the rain and it got me thinking. Some people just don’t know how to drive safely in the rain. I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 tips for driving in the rain.

  1. Turn on your headlights. If your car has daytime running lamps, then there’s a good possibility that your rear lights are not on. Be sure to turn them on so people who are behind you can see where you are!
  2. Slow down! This is a no-brainer. The faster you are going, the less time you have to react to someone hydroplaning or slowing down.
  3. Don’t follow large vehicles. The spray from their tires reduces your visibility drastically. If you must pass them, do so quickly.
  4. Replace your old windshield wipers. I cannot stress this enough. Wipers are the key to your visibility in any amount of rain. If you can’t see, you shouldn’t be driving.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get off the road. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, no one will think less of you for pulling over and waiting for the rain to let up.

The weather in North Texas can be unpredictable much like the downpour we have seen these past couple of weeks. Knowing how to drive in sudden rain-storms is a very valuable skill that we all need to have. There are so many more factors that go into driving safely in the rain, this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Whatever you do, don’t be this guy!