Atlanta, How Well Do You Know The Brakes On Your GMC Cadillac or Chevy

We’ve see many cars come through the Southtowne Service Department that have been involved in accidents because of suspected brake failures. How do you know if your brakes are on the verge of “taking the day off”? Let’s see if I can shed some light on this.

One leading indicator is the feel of the brake pedal, so if your new car pulls left or right when braking, or if the front end shakes, then these are definite signs of excessive brake wear. If the brake pedal in your automobile begins to feel spongy, it could be a sign that air has entered the brake system or fluid is low. Do not ignore these warning signs!

A spongy brake pedal, together with a decrease in brake fluid, may also indicate brake wear. When you check the brake fluid reservoir, make sure it’s topped off. If not, then brake fluid is probably remaining at the wheel itself to fill the space caused by wear. Simply replace the brake fluid and letting it flow throughout the brake system by pumping the brake pedal a few times before your run your car.

Almost all new cars have ABS (Automatic Braking System) which initiates a rapid fire pumping sequence to the brakes, keeping the car straight during sudden or hard braking. If the ABS light illuminates on your instrument panel, then it’s likely that the wheel sensors have detected excessive build-up of metal particles from the brake system. Most new cars are designed to shut down the ABS when excessive particle build-up occurs, but a shutdown ABS does not prevent you from stopping, it just means that the ABS feature isn’t working. My advice is to have this taken care of immediately. The ABS system on your car is very valuable, especially when navigating through in climate weather.

If you have any other questions, or you think it might be  time to have your brakes checked by a professional,swing by Southtowne and we’ll check them out.

Atlanta Cars: Do men Ignore GPS directions more than women?

Do men ignore GPS directions more than women?

Have you ever turned on the GPS and received directions somewhere and completely ignored them? I don’t think I have ever done that. Turns out though a lot of men do…. It’s not because they don’t listen, but they mistrust the directions. In turn they disobey what the GPS is telling them to do and end up having to be rerouted by the GPS. Does this confirm the fact that men hate getting directions? Southtowne thinks so!

According to a survey done in the United Kingdom 83% of men will regularly disobey the GPS’ directions, only 75% of women admitted to disobeying the GPS.

From what I learned, more than half of the 3,000 drivers recently surveyed by insurance retailer Swinton said that directions provided by a GPS devices had caused an argument with a passenger. Over one third of drivers said their navigation system had led them anywhere from one to five miles off course.

Regardless of gender, the majority of drivers reported that they considered their GPS “untrustworthy” and “inaccurate.” Almost two-thirds of drivers said that they still stow a road map in their car “just in case.”

Do you trust directions from your GPS? And do you think survey results would be the same for men and women in the United States?

OK, so you have to tell me…. When you are driving in your new Southtowne GM do you ignore what the GPS tells you to do and just do what you think is right, or do you always follow the directions that are given?

Atlanta, Keep those kids happy while traveling in your new car

With all of these new gadgets available it’s hard to remember what driving with toddlers and kids was like years ago.  Just like it’s hard to remember how things got done before the internet! All kidding aside, we wanted to share a few aftermarket accessories to make traveling with toddlers and kids an enjoyable one for everyone in the car.

The first and the more popular choice is a rear DVD entertainment center.  You can order these when you purchase your new Southtowne vehicle or you can have one installed one in your current vehicle.  You can also have your system so that it can hook up to individual sets of headphone so that you don’t have to hear one more episode of Sponge Bob. From what I can tell from my friends with kids, this is the best solution out there to keep boredom from setting in.

Another great accessory for your GMC, Cadillac Or Chevy is a backseat entertainment car organizer. You can load these things up with snacks, drinks, a ton of toys and keep it all organized. This also helps you to drive more safely as you won’t be looking for things in your bag since the backseat entertainment car organizer will have everything your passengers will need in a very organized, easy to get to way.

If you find that your backseat is getting dirtier and dirtier, then here are a few tips to keep it clean!

  • Install a “car-bage” can in the backseat and teach the kids to use it!
  • Protect your upholstery with protective seat covers.
  • Install seat back protectors. Kids like to put their feet and shoes everywhere. One place that is often overlooked until it’s too late is the back of the drivers and front passengers seat.
  • Toys are great to keep kids occupied, but it’s not so great when you find them scattered everywhere in the car.  Add a “toy box” or toy organizer to your car. The key to making this work is that the kids need to get into the habit actually using it!
  • Protect the upholstery in the trunk or cargo area of your vehicle with a cargo mat.

Snack and play trays are also a great addition to the vehicle, especially on road trips. This make coloring, or even doing homework, that much easier for them.

Sunshades are also a great and help protect from sun damage. Yes, you can get sun damage though the side windows while driving, depending on the type of window your vehicle has.

I hope that one or a combination of the products listed above will come in handy when you’re traveling with your youngster! If you have any ideas you’d like to share, post them below or stop by the Southtowne GM Superstore.

Goodyear working on Self-inflating tire

Is this the future?

Here’s something we’ve all been waiting for: the self-inflating tire. No more loud compressors, say goodbye to leaky hoses and inaccurate tire gauges. Our friends at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company read our minds and has developed a system which will allow tires to self-inflate automatically.

Goodyear’s so-called Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) is completely self-contained, without any need for external pumps or electronics, says the tire maker.

“While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

Here is some theory behind the science.

Now before you start scouring the net for the cheapest prices for this new advancement in tire technology, Goodyear has yet to provide any costs, or even an estimate when the technology will become available to the public. However, don’t let that crush your self-inflating sci-fi dreams. Apparently Goodyear has received grants from the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology to help further development.

Aside from the “cool” factor, keeping your tires at optimal operating pressure delivers lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance. Government research indicates that under-inflated tires result in a 2.5 percent to 3.3 percent decrease in fuel mileage – that’s about 12 cents per gallon at the pump. With gas prices where the are today, that’s just a complete waste of money for something that is very easy to monitor.

Stay tuned for further details. I’ll keep an eye on this topic for a future post. How great would it be if keeping your tires at optimal pressure just meant a quick trip to the corner store for some milk? It’s just one less maintenance issue you will be responsible for in the future.

Newnan: Did you know in the 50’s cars had record players in them?

For almost as long as we’ve been driving, making music portable has been a big issue. Radios, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and MP3 players are well-known steps on the car entertainment evolutionary ladder, but I’ll bet that most of you didn’t know that there was another type of in-automobile music player at one time: the car record player.

I know you are thinking to yourself  and wondering about how easy it is to scratch records or make them skip with the slightest bump. It might seem counter-intuitive to put a record player into a moving car, but the automobile record player, first introduced by Chrysler in 1956, contained a number of features that would keep the music going even when there were bumps in the road.

First, the record rotated more slowly than standard record players, and the arm was cushioned and counter weighted to keep it from scratching the record. The Highway Hi-Fi, as it was called by Chrysler, was quite popular in its time – though that popularity wouldn’t last long.

Part of its downfall can be attributed to the fact that the Highway Hi-Fi required special records; you couldn’t simply pull a record off of the shelf and play it on your road trip. Rather, drivers had to purchase all of their music again in the new proprietary format. Since the machine was only available on new vehicles and not as an aftermarket accessory, there wasn’t a huge commercial demand for it. Moreover, the devices had the nasty habit of breaking often and Chrysler wasn’t thrilled with the cost of fixing all of those under-warranty units. By 1957, just one year after their initial introduction, Chrysler started withdrawing support for the ill-fated gadgets.

Blame the delivery system, not the music. As we are all very well aware of, music and driving go hand in hand. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a song and thought, “That sure is a good song to drive to.”

When it comes too the creature comforts that we demand, there is just no stopping progress. Tape decks have been pulled from all manufactured automobiles and CDs are soon to follow. According to recent articles I’ve read that inspired this post, “The in-car CD player – much like pay telephones – is destined to fade away in the face of exciting new technology.” Soon it will be nothing but flash drives and MP3 player docking ports.

Honestly, as long as I have my tunes in my car so I can have my own personal driving soundtrack, you won’t hear me complain.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave them here. If you want to see what the next generation of in car entertainment is going to be, swing by and take a peak into some of our cars, trucks and SUVs. Things are only getting better in the world of in-car entertainment.

New Car: The easy way to change a burned out Headlight

I was driving to the grocery store the other night and I noticed that my road illumination didn’t seem to be as bright as a few evenings before. Now I change my oil religiously, as well as check my fluids, rotate my tires..etc. What about my headlights? Well, sometimes we just don’t notice that we may not be lighting the road as much as we should…could you have a headlight out? I did…that was my issue. Want to know how I confirmed this?

Hey, guess what? You have a headlight out.

The good news is that they are very easy to change. One quick trip to your favorite parts department and 10 min. under the hood is all you’ll need to save some extra dollars and some added headaches.

This is a fairly easy thing to do. In fact, the hardest part about changing the headlamp in your new car is…well…nothing you could have done it in the time it took me to write this sentence.

Here’s one more quick tip…Clean your headlamp lenses! 50-90% of illumination is lost before it even passes through the lens. If you need any help, you know where to find me.

Make the Wheels on Your New Car Sparkle, Georgia!

If you have aluminum alloy wheels and want to make them nice and shiny, you’ve come to the right place!

It’s a pretty simple process with just a few items needed: soap, sponge, bucket, micro fiber towel, aluminum polish, and some sandpaper. I’ll take you through what you need to do, and remember to wash the wheels entirely after each step. There will be some sanding involved, so please do it gently. If you sand the wheel down too far, you might cause permanent damage to the wheel.

Step 1. Use the sponge and dish soap to wash the wheels and remove all of the visible dirt and grime. Keep dipping the sponge in the bucket so you’re getting plenty of soap and water on the tires.

Step 2. Use 400-grit sandpaper to smooth out all scratches, but make sure you keep the wheels wet while sanding.

Step 3. Now take some 800-grit sandpaper and go back over the areas you just sanded to make them nice and smooth. If you have it available, now use 1,000, 1,200, 1,500, and 2,000-grit sandpaper – using them in that order, and washing between each sanding, and after the last sanding. This will get the wheels completely smooth.

Step 4. Now that your wheels are sanded and washed, run your hand over the sanded areas to make sure the smoothness is to your liking. Once you’re pleased with the smoothness, put some aluminum polish on the micro fiber towel and rub the polish evenly across the wheels.

Wait! That’s not all! There’s a bonus tip in this post for removing rust from your wheels. Just take 12 ounces of white vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar over the rusted area, saturating it completely. Now scrub the vinegar into the rims using a fine-grade steel wool pad.

Now just apply another layer of vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry the rims completely. That’s it! The rust should have been easily removed.

There you go! Feel free to comment or come see me.

Georgia: Build a Speaker Box for your new car

Sometimes, your car comes with the latest and greatest in audio technology and sometimes it just comes with the standard speakers and possibly a CD player. But that’s OK! With just a little time and a few tools and patience, you can build a speaker box for your car and be able to fill your drives with the tunes of your choice.

The first step is to figure out where you want to put your speaker box – the first choice is usually the trunk, but some people will put it in the back seat. If you’re planning on having several passengers in your car, the latter might not be an option. Also, this is when you need to decide what size speakers you want to go with (10” speakers should be more than enough for most, but you can also get a pair of 12” inch if you’d like).

Second, you’ll want to figure out the dimensions of the area where you’re wanting to put your speaker box. This should be in the documents that came with your car. However, if you don’t have those, go ahead and contact the dealer where the car was purchased, or even the manufacturer of the car.

Third, if you are looking for inexpensive wood for your build then pick up some particleboard from your local hardware/home improvement store. Plywood also works well and is fairly inexpensive. You’ll also need a saw, a drill, a tape measure, glue, screws, and some silicone to get started. Don’t forget your speakers and all connections and wires.

Now, just watch this instructional video, it will take you the rest of the way:

If you have any questions, please post a comment or feel free to come and see me!