NEWS FLASH! You have to do more than just fill up your car with gas and occasionally clean the windows!
The American Automobile Association conducted nationwide clinics at 25 different AAA clubs that included inspecting 6,082 vehicles to find out the five most common car problems–all of which are easy to fix with just a little time and not too much money.
1. Tire pressure
Drivers should check tire pressure at least once a month to ensure tires are not under- or over-inflated. Low pressure in the tires can increase wear and fuel consumption, while having too much pressure may reduce traction. Keeping tires properly aligned will also help assure longer tire life and improve fuel economy.
2. Clean Air Filter
Maintain and replace air filters as often as is recommended in your owner’s manual to ensure better air flow through the engine. This, in turn, will improve engine efficiency and result in more power and better fuel usage. (This is probably one of the easiest and most overlooked general maintenance
3. Insufficient tire tread depth
For sufficient traction, tires should have a minimum of 5mm tread depth. Use a depth gauge to check. Most tires also have built-in tread wear indicators that let you know when tire replacement is necessary. If you happen too have a Quarter or Penny on you you can check the depth by placing the coin head down in the tread like the picture below:
4. Engine oil that is low or needs to be changed
Dirty oil will increase engine wear, while low oil levels can lead to overheating. If the oil level drops too low, lubrication will be lost and severe engine damage can result. Regular oil changes will add longevity to the engine.
5. Worn-out windshield wiper blades
Rigid, cracked or torn wiper blades can greatly reduce visibility when driving in rain and snow, which could increase your chance of having a crash. Examine and replace your windshield wiper blades once a year or sooner if streaking begins.
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!
I know everyone’s fear of buying a use car is the potential of inheriting other peoples’ problems…buying the dreaded “LEMON”. It may look gorgeous on the outside, but it’s what’s under the hood that determines whether or not the car will be a money pit. Here are a few tips on what to look for when taking that potential used car for a test driving
1) Pull out the oil dipstick while the engine is running – DO NOT rev the engine! Watch the dipstick’s hole as the engine idles; if you hear or see any air, gas or oil escaping the dipstick holder it means the rings are worn. A slight escape of air from the dipstick is the first stage of ring failure which is not a serious problem but will get worse until gas and oil start escaping the dipstick holder. The result is less power and leaking oil in the sump. Look for white emulsification on the dipstick which would indicate a cracked cylinder head, which is a serious problem.
2) Look at the exhaust pipe while the car is running. White smoke from the exhaust indicates there’s engine oil remaining on the bore that the rings haven’t scraped off, which means oil could be leaking. Black smoke means the fuel injectors are dirty on a diesel engine.
3) Remove the radiator cap and check for oil. Oil in the water also means a cracked cylinder head.
4) Have a pre-purchase inspection performed! A compression test should also be done for failing rings on any used vehicle. This test requires a trained mechanic because of the equipment used and the test is complicated. The readings must be done ‘dry’ and ‘wet’, and it even depends on if you are above or below sea level.
The bottom line is, “Do your Homework!”
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to swing by and take a look at our great selection of pre-owned.
Could you see 60 children behind your car? Of course you can! Right?
Watch the video below.
It’s OK, I’ll let you change your answer.
Please be 110% aware of all of your surroundings. It is your responsibility. It is your requirement. It is your duty to be as safe a driver as you can. Yes, accidents do happen, but they usually happen when we aren’t paying attention.
Now…watch the video again.
Please re-post this as many places as you can. At Freeman Grapevine, we’re committed to protecting our children
Here’s the rub on distracted driving fromFreeman Grapevine. Texting, Facebooking, Tweeting…you can’t do it. Oh sure, you haven’t killed yourself, or anyone else yet…yet. We’ll guess what, you may one day if the latest statistics are accurate.
The Texas Transportation Institute tested 42 people with ages ranging from 16-54 on an actual closed driving course, the first test of its kind. All other test have been simulated tests.
The drivers were tested on a closed course with barrels and were only allowed to drive as fast 30 miles per hour which may seem slow to us, but the even then the drivers showed that distracted driving is much more dangerous than previously thought.
What the researches found is that drivers had half as much time to react as well as maintain a constant speed and stay in their lanes. Normal response time is one to two seconds. Distracted drives took twice the amount of time to respond. These results are worse than previously thought. And even worse, a driver is 11 times more likely to completely miss flashing lights on the course. If you think about those results in the real world driving that could mean the distracted driver wouldn’t react in time to avoid causing an accident or even worse, hitting a pedestrian.
Check out this video on the research done:
Bottom line, please don’t drive and text, email, read, Google or anything that can distract you from your number one priority…driving! The United States government suggests that 25% of all fatal crashes are directly related to distracted driving. Which to me means that they could have potentially been prevented if the person that caused the crash would have just put the cell phone down! Think of it this way, if you text and drive you could potentially be responsible for taking someone’s life.
Often overlooked, your tires need care too. Keep them looking sharp and turn some heads, DFW!
For most car owners and all car lovers, the look of their car is not only important, it’s an investment of time and care . It is not enough that the engine and the other parts are in mint condition, the exterior should do its job of looking fine and attractive as well.
Of all the exterior parts of the car, the tires are the ones that get dirty the most since they are in contact with the ground all the time. They get dirty whether you drive your car or not. Now, I’m not talking about just cleaning to maintaining their good looks, I’m talking about making them look like brand new.
What Can You Use?
There is more than one way to achieve that brand-new shine look on your car tires. It is just a matter of what suits your taste and preference (and your budget as well).
One of the most popular tire shine products available are the spray-on kinds. The solution is in a bottle with a sprayer and nozzle on top. Many prefer to use it because it is very easy to apply on the tires. You can just spray it directly on the tires and wipe it after a couple of minutes. To make an even distribution over the whole tire, do not spray too close to the tire. Also, spray with a sweeping motion to cover a bigger area of the tire and not just spray on one spot at a time. When applied correctly, you can achieve a nice wet look gloss off your car tires. However, some brands of spray-on tire shine leave stains when it gets on your side panels. You should wipe it off immediately. It would help if you apply it inside the garage so the breeze will not scatter the mist. If you keep getting it on your side panels and rims, apply it on a sponge or piece of cloth first and use it to apply the solution on your tires.
In terms of long-lasting effect, many gel products do better than spray-ons. They last for more than a week even through the rain and even through carwash. They are not as easy to apply and may take longer since you need to use an applicator, a sponge or terry cloth but others prefer it that way since it gives them control on how much of the gel is used. The gel gives a nice black color to the tires without a very glossy effect. However, if you do want more gloss, you can apply a second coating after a few minutes. Do not drive your car right after applying the gel. Many formulas are silicone-based and can attract dust and dirt when still wet. Gel tire shine products are usually more expensive than other similar products.
Foam tire shine products also come with a spray nozzle. It is also very easy to apply, perhaps easier than the other spray-on kinds. It even helps clean your tires off from the dirt that your pre-wash was not able to remove. Just wipe the foam after a couple of minutes and your tires are clean and shiny. However, be careful with some products that may turn your tires brown or yellow. Some tires really do not agree with certain tire shine products so you may have to try a new product.
How To Do It
Most tire shine products have their own application procedures printed somewhere on the container, but in general, here are the steps in achieving that fine shine you want your car tires to have. Clean your tires first before the rest of the car. Even if you spray dirty suds or water on your side panels, it is fine since you will clean them next. Pay attention to the wells and grooves that your tires have. They collect a lot of dirt so they might need some extra scrubbing.
Wait till the tire is dry or at least not too wet from the washing. Spray your chosen tire shine product evenly on the side of the tires. Leave it on for a minute or two and then wipe it using a sponge or a terry-cloth, distributing it evenly across the tire wall and removing any overspray.
Making your tires look shiny is a very easy thing to achieve. But before trying on any product on your tires, ask your friends who might have used them, or look for some reviews online. Many car maintenance forums are eager to help and answer your questions with regard to tire shine products. Of course, if you want a professional opinion you can always swing by Freeman Grapevine and we’ll take a look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does your car have electronics? The answer is obviously, “Yes” (well for most of your anyway). You do realize that those electronics are going to have to be looked at due to a malfunction at some point. Today’s cars are very complicated and are as much computers as they are vehicles. Freeman Grapevine has the knowledge to diagnose and fix any type of electrical issue.
The electrical systems in new cars have definitely made driving a lot easier over the decades. The seemingly endless innovations in electrical systems have helped us enjoy a more comfortable and easier drive. However, it can’t be Peaches and Cream all of the time. Let’s say, you have problems starting your car and notice other problems with the electrical system. Let’s cover some of the issues that you could face with your new vehicle’s electrical system:
Common Automobile Electrical System Problems Are :
Car’s Battery Is Dead – This is the most common problem…and most obvious. Check your battery by engaging your headlights and judge by the illumination.
No Power Stored in the Battery – When you turn the key, what do you hear? A little click? Does it sound like it want’s to turn over? It is possible that your car’s battery does not have ample power to crank the starter. You need a new battery.
Alternator is Not Working – A damaged or broken alternator could be the culprit. No alternator? No battery recharge. If your car suddenly start to lose “juice” while drive, you’ll know it could be your new car’s alternator.
Problem with Starter or Solenoid – Good parts gone bad parts. If it’s the starter, it won’t turn over. If you have Solenoid issues, you might find it harder to brake.
Battery Cables Might Be The Problem – A loose cable might be the root of the problem…give them a wiggle before you run out and buy a replacement.
Electrical Fuses – Check for any blown fuses in your fuse box. Also, feel around for any loose wires.
Cracks In Alternator Belt – Too much or too little tension, as well as cracks in the alternator belt cause trouble.
Ignition System Has Problems – You have a busted ignition switch. Give your mechanic a call.
Loose Spark Plugs – Loose or old plugs will certainly affect the operation of your vehicle. Are you loosing power as gears change? Does it lurch as if the gears aren’t engaging? It might be the internal combustion and the culprit is usually the plugs and cables.
Now these are just guidelines you can crosscheck with a Freeman Grapevine Service Consultant any issue you might have experienced. I you can talk with your mechanic about your new car logically by doing a little research, you help him help you even faster. Just give us a call to set up an appointment.
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.
If you have a bad fuel pump, you don’t need us to tell you. If a car has a bad fuel pump, it will normally exhibit a loss of power, or it may not start whatsoever. If the car is turning over, but doesn’t actually catch, this is called a “No-Start Condition”. There are various steps you can take after you’ve determined that you indeed do have a no-start condition. It could be as simple having a faulty fuse, or as complex as having a total fuel pump failure.
Check out the great video below by Eric the Car Guy!
I think one important issue that isn’t included in the video is the presence of sediment. Sediment can and will collect at the bottom of your fuel cell. A great way to avoid sediment deposits is actually quite easy. Keep your tank at least a quarter of the way full at all times. This small attention to detail might just save the life of that fuel pump.
If you’ve run through your diagnostic checks and you think you may have a fuel pump problem, call Freeman Grapevine before your issue gets worse. A broken fuel pump will certainly leave you stranded roadside, or worse..in the middle of the road.