Tag Archives: Fort Worth Buick

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.

New Drivers Need To Know More Than The Rules Of The Road

If you have a child, it’s inevitable that one day they are going learn to drive and end up wanting to borrow the keys to your car. Of course they are going to go to  a driving school, and you may show them a thing or two in an abandoned parking lot.  However, their automotive education should end there. It’s a very good idea to cover basic car care tips.  Owning a car means more than learning how to get from point A to point B, it also entails knowing how to keep your car running, and knowing how to fix and prevent problems.

“What do you mean I have to change my oil?”

I’m surprised at how many new drivers think that their car operates via some kind of magic and rarely give a second thought to how the thing actually works. Changing the oil is a prime example. Young drivers may go way too long between oil changes, if they even change it at all. A good plan is for you, the driving parent, to walk them around the car and show them under the hood and explain to them how things work.  Here’s some good things to teach them.

  • Explain that all cars, new and old, need regular attention. Make sure your teenager knows and follows the maintenance schedule for her car. In addition to making a car safe to drive, preventive maintenance can save thousands of dollars during a lifetime of driving.
  • Don’t overlook the owner’s manual. This is full of information about the car that your young driver may never know unless he is familiar with this automotive bible.
  • Make it fun. There are myriad sites on the Internet that are fascinating for young and old drivers alike. Some have Q & A sections. Let your teen send the tough questions to the professionals.
  • It’s probably been a while since they went on a field trip. Take them with you to the repair facility, the tire store, the body shop and wherever you have automotive work performed. Get them accustomed to the automotive world-its people, places, jargon and prices.
  • There are hundreds of books available on this subject. Many are written specifically for non-technical audiences; some are even humorous. Buy a few and make them required reading for the licensing process.
  • Make a plan. What happens if the car breaks down, your child has a wreck, or the car gets stolen? What if no adults are home to receive the panic call? Whether you want your teenager to call your family repair facility or Aunt Sadie, give some instruction and put important phone numbers in the glove compartment. [Source: Midas.com]

If you plan on doing any repairs at home, it’s a really good idea to have your new driver help with that service. It give you the opportunity show them the things that you are doing to repair the car. Of course, it goes without saying that, if your teen driver has proved themselves responsible enough to have their own car, swing by Freeman Grapevine and check out our used car selection.

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.


What Would You Do If Your Tanker Truck Caught Fire

Every now and then, I’ll come across something unique that I just have to share. This post isn’t about, changing your oil or rotating your tires, but is about 1 fearless individual who risked his own life to save the life of others.

The footage you are about to see was recorded in a gas station in Turkey. The tanker truck caught fire while filling the underground fuel reserve. The cause of the fire was blamed on static electricity . As you can see in the video the people who saw the fire expanding rapidly started running away, fearing an imminent explosion.

However, Engin Koçak, the truck driver, felt he had the duty to do something. He first attempted to put out the fire with an extinguisher. Quickly realizing that the blaze was too powerful for that,  he got in the cabin…yes the cabin of his truck attached to 1,000’s of gallons of fuel and drove the truck away from the station, risking his own life in order to save the lives of others.

Here’s a quote from carscoop.

“The fuel tank went up in flames instantly. At that moment, I said, ‘Let something happen to me, instead of the people nearby,’ and got behind the wheel. The tank turned into a ball of flames, but I managed to take it to a secure place. But some cars were burned as a result of the flames jumping from the tank,” said the driver, who reportedly jumped off the truck to save his life when he arrived in a safe area, 1 kilometer away from the gas station.


Thanks to Koçak’s heroic actions, no one was hurt in the incident.

I just found this a really great story and how the actions of one man save a lot of people. If you’d like to leave a comment or even share a story with Freeman Grapevine and our readers, we’d love to hear them!

North Texas Weather and Driving: What you Need to Know

Living in Texas and specifically, the DFW area, we are prone to violent and often times destructive weather. This can happen almost any month during the year, but when Fall rolls around the mixture of warmer rising air colliding with colder air is a prime atmosphere for generating torrential downpours and the ever dreaded…TORNADO!

There are a few things to know when stuck out in these conditions. I’ve been caught in 3 tornado conditions when driving and each was more terrifying than the rest. Kind of like this guy. This video was taken the weekend of October 24th, 2010.


According to cnn: Authorities in northeast Texas were assessing damage Monday morning after a tornado destroyed homes, knocked train cars off their tracks and injured at least four people.

Five homes in Rice, Texas, were destroyed as 125 mph winds whipped through a seven-mile swath of Navarro County Sunday evening, said Eric Meyers, the county’s emergency management coordinator.

Meyers rode out the tornado inside a vehicle and videotaped the twister as it tore the roof off a school about a block away.

“The sheer power was just amazing,” Meyers said in an interview Monday on CNN’s “American Morning” program.
If you are in your car, find shelter immediately.
Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:

  • A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
  • If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.
  • A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
  • Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.
  • A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.
  • Debris dropping from the sky.
  • An obvious “funnel-shaped” cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visible.
If you see a tornado and it is not moving to the right or to the left relative to trees or power poles in the distance, it may be moving towards you! Remember that although tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast, they also move towards the east, the southeast, the north, and even northwest.
Finally, if you are in a car, and you can see a tornado forming or approaching, you should leave the car and take shelter as above. You may think you can escape from the tornado by driving away from it, butyou can’t know what you may be driving into! A tornado can blow a car off a road, pick a car up and hurl it, or tumble a car over and over. Many people have been killed in cars while they were trying to outrun the tornado, and although it is sometimes possible to escape, it is generally not a good idea.
An underpass may seem like a safe place, but may not be. While videos show people surviving under an underpass, those tornadoes have been weak. No one knows how survivable an underpass is in a strong or violent tornado. The debris flying under the underpass could be very deadly… head for a ditch.
Also, if you have encountered any hail damage from a recent storm, bring it by and Freeman Grapevine will  help get those dings out.

Can Your Steering Wheel Be Germ Hive

The short answer is, of course, “Yes”.  Did anyone get FLU this year? The answer is probably also is, “Yes”. How did you get it? No doubt you wondered. I certainly did. It too forever to get over and I’m still wondering how I got it, though at this point, it makes no difference. There is a very good chance the I caught this, as well as colds and minor infections from my steering wheel. Yup, the good old steering wheel. Let me ask you a question? When was the last time you cleaned your steering wheel? A clean cloth and some alcohol will to the trick, but when was the last time you did that? Now you may think this is a  good idea, but I doubt you are running out to your car right now to clean it. When the realization of how filthy your steering wheel is…remember, every thing you touch you transmit to your steering wheel. You may wash your hands periodically, but I know you don’t disinfect your steering wheel. So, what’s the point other than we should wash your steering wheels? Why not avoid the hassle and get an anti-microbial steering wheel cover like the one in the video below.

I’m not going to argue that we all could take a little time to tidy up our cars on the inside. The fact of the mater is we all simply don’t clean our cars as thoroughly as we should. Sure, we vacuum from time to time, or rub some cleaning material we randomly chose at the grocery store and give our dashes a once over. It’s probably a good idea to start cleaning the interior of your car more often, especially during flu season. Clean that germ infested steering wheel.